Get to know Blake Mycoskie, the man behind the ‘One for One’ model.

  • “The goal isn’t how much money you make but how much you help people.”
  • “We’re in business to create a better tomorrow. If we live for one another, together we can change the world.”
  • “Anyone can make a difference, so you don’t have to have it be some huge global campaign. You can start small and that’s just as important.”
  • “It may sound too good to be true but once you’ve seen the happiest people in your life who have nothing, you really start rethinking what the world and society tell us that we need to be happy about.”
  • “When you incorporate giving into your business in an authentic and transparent way, your customers become your best marketers.”

The above are just some of the statements that social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie has made over the years. What’s even more interesting is the fact that HE DOES WAY MORE THAN HE SAYS!

For the uninitiated, Blake Mycoskie is possibly the most prolific and prominent of Social Entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. In fact, he does seem to have coined or re-invented the word itself with a never-before idea of donating exactly the same quantity (or in the proximity) that he sells!

Yes, his venture (although, no more associated to him) Toms, a for-profit maker of shoes, eyewear, coffee, apparel, and handbags which by its very vocal admission, uses a third of its profits for “grassroots good” which according to its website means “the result of a community mobilizing to address an issue they’re all impacted by, like services that are scarce, or statistics that are too high. These efforts are highly effective because they’re led by members of the community. These leaders have passion, creativity, and insights rooted in a shared experience. What they too often lack is access to financial resources that can breathe even more life into their ideas”.

It all started in the year 2006 when Blake visited Argentina on vacation. In the company of a volunteer organization providing shoes to needy children, he spent days traveling between villages where in his own words to The Business Insider he said “I witnessed the intense pockets of poverty just outside the bustling capital. It dramatically heightened my awareness. Yes, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that poor children around the world often went barefoot, but now, for the first time, I saw the real effects of being shoeless: the blisters, the sores, the infections.”

Back in the US, Mycoskie founded Shoes for Better Tomorrows. A for-profit organization, Toms is the first in the world to implement a “One for One” model where for every pair of shoes sold by Toms in the normal order, another pair is donated to children from disadvantaged homes. The first choice of shoes, be it for sale or donating were the Argentinian Alpargatas. So successful has been the company’s products and the concept that as of 2013, Toms donated in excess of 10,000,000 pairs globally through its +1000 stores worldwide!

The year 2011 saw a new addition to Toms’ inventory. Eyeglasses. And they too were sold on the same ‘one for one’ model though with a difference. For every pair of sunglasses that Toms sold, the company donated towards the medical treatment (including surgery) and prescription glasses of a person in need. Launched as far apart as Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia, it’s giving the poor with eye-sight problems a chance to see the world in a different light.

The year 2011 also saw the publication of Mycoskie’s book. Called ‘Start Something That Matters’ it is said to contain the positives of social enterprise and why businesses ought to use their profits and assets to do charity in the backdrop of his experiences at Toms.

As before, Mycoskie has used the sale of his book as a reason to do charity. For every book that was sold, Mycoskie promised to provide a children’s book to someone in need. In addition, 50% of royalties (it went up to 100%) from the sale of the book would be used to provide assistance to struggling though promising entrepreneurs. As expected, the book became a bestseller in the NYT’s advice category.

The year 2014 brought another franchise in the Toms fold! The TOMS Roasting Co brings coffee directly from where it is grown in places as far apart as Rwanda, Honduras, Peru, Guatemala, and Malawi. For every bag of coffee sold by TOMS Roasting, Mycoskie promises to donate a week’s supply of water in supplier countries. That besides, the biggest news in that year was that TOMS would launch its flagship ‘one for one’ scheme for a new product every year!

Having sold his stakes in Toms progressively from 2014, Mycoskie is today its Chief Shoe Giver advocating the idea of giving more than you receive — if not equal to it!

Where are they today?

As of 2018, Toms has provided over 86 million pairs of shoes to children worldwide!

Mycoskie’s novel philanthropy and business model helped him get the 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence by then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

In November 2018, Mycoskie announced on the Jimmy Fallon Show that Toms would evolve their giving model to give considerable resources to issues of extreme importance starting with donating $5 million to organizations seeking to end gun violence — the largest such corporate handout to end gun violence in the history of the United States.

Where would they be in times to come?

Blake Mycoskie wants Toms to be something like Richard Branson’s Virgin empire.

“That’s the way we’re thinking about our future,” Mycoskie told Business Insider. “I think you would see five different products, all under the TOMS name, but probably with the infrastructure built out from people who are best in class in that field.”

To this end he would like to promote the philosophy of giving folks the opportunity to make their purchases count, incorporating giving into life through purchases in all different industries besides the fashion-lifestyle category. He is in fact already in talks with organizations in other industries about ways to apply the One on One to their individual businesses situation.


Social Entrepreneurs.




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Insights Success

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Insights Success is an archway that caters to Entrepreneurs’ quench of technology and business updates which are currently ruling the business world.

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