Cool Idea: TOMS Shoes

September 17th, 2011, byJeremy Freed

It’s far too seldom that fashion and altruism cross paths, but one of the best examples I’ve ever encountered is the story of Blake Mycoskie and TOMS Shoes. Mycoskie was a recent guest on the show, and if you missed it you can check out Tavis’ interview with him here.

Briefly, in 2006, Mycoskie was traveling in Argentina, when he befriended some local children. Discovering that these kids didn’t own shoes, and the problems they faced as a result of this lack, he created a shoe company, TOMS, whose central policy was to donate a pair of shoes to a needy kid for every pair they sold. His company was so successful so quickly that he was able to return the next year with 10,000 pairs of shoes.

The secret behind Blake Mycoskie’s success is the perfect synergy of a good product and a good cause. His shoes look great (which goes a long way to explaining why so many people are wearing them these days), and you can’t argue with his company’s stated mission.

But Mycoskie isn’t stopping there — he’s written a book about TOMS, with the aim of encouraging others to start similar businesses — and is now selling eyewear. For every pair of TOMS glasses he sells, the company will give the gift of sight to one person in need, whether through prescription glasses, medical treatment or even sight-restoring surgery. It just goes to show the power of a cool idea.

Last modified: September 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm