Friday, September 9, 2011

Business of Giving

Along with the back-to-school craziness, there comes, of course, awesome events. This past week, Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, visited Fordham and revealed how he molded TOMS shoes into a success. Like so many other "success" stories, TOMS came out of the blue. Mycoskie was working for an online driving school company when he had the idea in Argentina and, on impulse, he had an Argentine man named Jose produce a couple hundred shoes that he could sell back in America. By chance, the press got involved and, in Mycoskie's words, "made it seem like TOMS was a real company." The phenomenon basically took off from there.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS
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Now TOMS has sold over a million shoes and has given over a million away to shoe-less people in Argentina and Africa alike. And, while Mycoskie is proud of his accomplishments, he has his sights set on greater success. He's started an eyewear company and written a book, the proceeds from which will go to start other philanthropy-based grassroots campaigns. According to Mycoskie, his success lies in TOMS' foundation of giving. If more companies put giving at the core of their mission rather than writing large, tax-exempt checks at the end of the year, he claims they would attract invested customers who become advertising agents through word of mouth. As TOMS has exemplified, Mycoskie's logic works.

image c/o
I should mention, too, that Mycoskie began TOMS in L.A. with the help of three interns who were willing to stick around and work out of his boat-apartment. Sometimes, unpaid, grassroots work really is worth it.

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