Monday, November 9, 2009

Team Nica Members Meet World Changing Entrepreneur

Last week, Amira and myself (Bryan) got the chance to meet with and hear from Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes is based on a revoluntionary business / charity model that is "one for one." Whenever a person buys a pair of their shoes, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need. They focus on children who need shoes to be able to go to school and those who need shoes to prevent major health problems. ex: podoconiosis.

While he was at our campus, Blake also gave a talk on the story of TOMS Shoes (which stands for "TOMorrow's Shoes." Buy a pair today and they'll give a pair tomorrow. Yup, there's no Tom - just Blake.) His story of success and service is truly inspiring. While on vacation in Argentina, Blake participated in a project that collected used shoes from wealthy Argentinians and gave them to poor children in villages surrounding Buenos Aires. The next day, Blake dreamed up an idea that was a mix of business and charity and was a way to continue giving shoes to children in need. Over the next few weeks, he made 250 pairs of shoes and returned to the States. Within just two weeks, he had gotten frontpage press for his idea, had 2,000 + orders and needed to head back to Argentina to make ALOT more shoes. Over the next few months, TOMS gained alot of attention, was soon being worn by celebrities and was spreading like wild-fire simply by word of mouth. To this day, they have never spent one dime on adversitising. (And that AT&T commercial? Luckily, Blake used AT&T and they had the idea to use him for their commerical. That has resulted in 100,000 + pairs of shoes given away.)

There's alot more great information on their site and many ways to get involved. Not to mention, some ethical shopping that can be done. Check it out.

Here's a short video introduction to TOMS Shoes:

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