Friday, March 19, 2010

Who is TOMS?

I had some questions about the presenter and the business that is TOMS shoes. Luckily, I have a friend that who has already posted about this topic. Here is part of Austin Hostetter's blog:

Last night, Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS Shoes, came to Ball State and spoke to its students about a new form of business.

Blake began his presentation by explaining how something as monumental as TOMS was started. Blake studied Philosophy for 18 months, but never finished his studies. Instead, he became an entrepreneur, and began meddling in many different business plans, some of which were successful, some of which were not. He took a break from his entrepreneurial days when he was cast as a contestant on The Amazing Race with his sister. Unfortunately, they placed 2nd, and didn't receive any monetary rewards. After this short stroke of T.V. fame, Blake and a few of his friends/co-workers began an online drivers ed instructional course in California. In order to make this new business venture successful, Blake and his friends would have to work around the clock, even on weekends. After months of intense work Blake decided it was time for him to take a break from the strenuous work schedule he was enduring, so he headed to Argentina for a get way.

In Argentina, Blake caught some relaxation time as well as some time to play Polo and drink red wine (which he commented on a few times). Yet something else happened while he was there. During the trip, Blake encountered some volunteer workers who were in Argentina giving shoes to children in need. They explained to Blake the need for shoes in the area (children were unable to afford shoes, which led to difficulty in traveling - children had to walk many miles - as well as preventing children from going to school - children needed the proper attire in order to enter school buildings). Blake decided to go with the group to hand out shoes, and as he was doing this, an idea popped into his head. He thought of an idea that would use a for-profit shoe business to organize the fund to give shoes to children who needed them.

He quickly worked out some details with some acquaintances he made in Argentina and made a few hundred pair of shoes before heading back to the U.S. Once he was back in the states, Blake set up a website to displays his new idea, which caught some attention from his friends and family. He also began to display the shoes for stores around the L.A. area in hopes of selling. Soon, the idea caught on to the mainstream media, and Blake was featured in the L.A. Times as well as Vogue Magazine, and TOMS Shoes became a hit across the country. Everyone wanted a pair of these news shoes and Blake was stuck working out of his apartment with 3 interns - which created some problems with beginning production.

Now, TOMS Shoes is a growing business with over 70 employees. It still stays true to the idea of one for one, in that for every pair of shoes sold, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need. The shoes are made in the areas where the shoes are given away, so that the shoes can be easily given to children and to provide jobs in the areas that need help. TOMS has sold over 400,000 pairs of shoes and plans to sell just as many in the year to come.


As you can see it was quite an inspirational idea. I ordered my shoes yesterday and I hope that you think about ordering some too. I have posted the video below and I think you should take some time and think about if you want to give back to this cause or what cause you would like to give some time too. Stay Classy Nappanee/Muncie!

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Graduation Open House Pictures

Thanks again to everyone who attended!