This month marks TOMS’ 10-year anniversary and a decade of giving back. It all started in Argentina in 2006, when entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie witnessed on his travels that many children didn’t have shoes and the hardships they faced because of this. Wanting to help, he created TOMS – a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I improve lives through business with my One for One company, TOMS.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
I have always been an entrepreneur, and I had actually started three different businesses before TOMS. In 2006 when I was travelling in Argentina, I saw a great number of children who did not have shoes. Because of this, they were unable to attend school without a proper uniform, or they were getting sick from lack of proper foot protection. This inspired me to start TOMS, a for-profit business that matches every purchase by giving back to a person in need, One for One.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
This year marks TOMS’ 10-year anniversary, which is incredible. We have given over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need across 70 countries. I feel very humbled and grateful that our TOMS supporters continue to engage with and love this company.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I am looking forward to how much more good we can accomplish with our work at TOMS. Every day we’re seeing new like-minded businesses enter the market, or we’re even seeing existing businesses take on a give-back model. Whether it’s inspiring business or giving back even more at TOMS, I’m excited to see where we’ll be at our next milestone.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
A few years back I wrote a book called Start Something That Matters. My biggest piece of advice is to look for something you’re passionate about. It could be starting your own company or finding a business that you’re proud to call home. Whatever you pursue, do it with conviction and purpose.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
At TOMS we work with a network of Giving Partners to help us carry out our Giving. We rely on them as the experts to help deliver the products and services to people in need in their communities. Our Giving department is dedicated to serving all of our Giving Partners in the best way possible. This could be making sure shoes arrive on time, or ensuring that any delivery services required (up a hill with no roads or across a river) make it that extra mile.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
In 2006 I started a footwear business and had no experience in fashion, supply chain… the list goes on. We’ve made a few mistakes and certainly stumbled along the way, but through our give-back model success we’ve been able to attract a world-class leadership team to serve as experts in each department as we grow. You can’t do it all on your own, but you can find the best people to help you accomplish it.
What does the word notable mean to you?
To carry distinction.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
One of my favourite places is Gjelina in Venice, CA (near the TOMS flagship). It has fantastic food and just oozes that Venice vibe.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
I probably have one of the most eclectic tastes in music; one day my most played song could be country, the next it could be classic rock, or even jazz.
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Central and South America have some of my favourite destinations. You’re going to make me pick just one? Right now, the next country on my flight plan is China.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
I’ve definitely got a case of wanderlust, so it’s when I see a close friend or colleague on an epic adventure.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I’m a huge fan of just being outdoors. Definitely a golf junky, and I love spending time on my sailboat.
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Something I think almost everyone learns eventually is that “having stuff” isn’t going to bring you much happiness. Especially now that I have a young son, I’m investing time with my family, having experiences that will create lasting memories for all of us.
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success is being happy and healthy with my family and loved ones.
For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, TOMS provides a new pair of shoes to a child in need. TOMS has donated over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need, across 70 countries, since its launch in 2006!
With every pair of TOMS eyewear purchased, TOMS gives sight to a person in need, and has helped to restore sight to over 400,000 people in 13 countries to date.
And with every TOMS bag purchased, TOMS helps provide a safe birth for over 25,000 mothers in need across 4 countries.