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Eco-hero | TOMS’ new sustainable business model

By Dian Hasan | September 29, 2010

I don’t have enough good things to say about Blake Mycoskie, TOMS shoes founder. He’s brought to life a whole new way of looking at business, one that seeks a balance between Profit, People, and Planet. This is the way I view his business model, attaining profit to empower people’s economy and give back to the communities, while lessening the burden on the planet.

TOMS shoes’ model of One-for-One, donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased is not only commendable, but as he has demonstrated – is a profitable sustainable business model! And that makes it one heck of a COOL COMPANY! Blake’s title on his business card says it all: “Chief Shoe Giver”!

Here’s another story on Blake Mycoskie from The Huffington Post:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, says that this Mahatma Ghandi quote is his favorite-and he even sells shoes that display those words. I met Mycoskie last evening at Arianna Huffington’s house in Los Angeles, and he so impressed me that I visited him this afternoon at TOMS headquarters in Santa Monica. Fascinating business: For every pair of shoes TOMS sells, it gives a pair to a needy child. TOMS are simple $48 canvas shoes that you can find in 400 U.S. outlets, including Nordstrom (JWN), Urban Outfitters (URBN), and Whole Foods (WFMI)-TOMS’ biggest customer. So we’re talking lots of shoes for the needy.

Mycoskie, 32, launched TOMS in May 2006 after visiting Argentina and seeing kids without shoes-and wanting to do something to help them. In just two and a half years, TOMS has given away more than 70,000 shoes in Argentina, South Africa and Ethiopia. Measured by revenues, the company is small-$8 million projected this year. But Mycoskie says it will be profitable this year. He seems to have found a sustainable model. Rather than spend on marketing-which he says eats up 20% of a typical shoe company’s gross margin-he spends on “shoe drops.” These shoe drops earn him good will and positive word of mouth.

Inspiration: The Huffington Post


2 responses

  1. I have a pair of Toms too: I feel better about my shoe addiction now! Social entrepreneurship is a great thing, and Ashoka is a network of social entrepreneurs, helping the world. Follow @StaplesTweets – they’re donating $1 per new follower, with #Follow4aCause. Click here to find out more!

    September 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    • Hi Jin, so sorry for the terrible delay in responding. Thanks so much for finding us and for your linked info. Very useful. Wasn’t aware of all the great organizations doing great things via web/social media. Ashoka’s clearly one of them.
      Let’s stay connected.

      November 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

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