A true entrepreneur, Blake Mycoskie started five successful businesses by the age of 30. As part of a promise to revisit every country he traveled to while on The Amazing Race, Blake returned to Argentina. While the sights and sounds of Argentina were inspiring, the poverty in which many lived truly moved him. In May 2006, Blake founded TOMS Shoes on a simple premise — With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. In less than 3 years, TOMS has given approximately 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia and the U.S., and is now sold in over twenty-one countries worldwide.
From realizing the idea of a One for One business model, to weighing in on new textile patterns, I enjoy every creative aspect of this business. When I first started TOMS three years ago, a good buddy of mine, LA-based artist Tyler Ramsey, started to hand paint white canvas TOMS. People loved them, and soon enough a lot of artist friends were showing up at events, picking up white TOMS, and creating their own incredible shoes. The idea of custom TOMS exploded in to the concept of Style Your Sole- anyone can be an artist, using TOMS as their canvas. Even my mom designed and decorated shoes for customers during Mother’s Day.
One of the coolest things we’ve done with Style Your Sole is incorporated it into our US Shoe Drops. TOMS brings white canvas shoes to the kids along with boxes and boxes of markers. When I attended the New Orleans Shoe Drop this past April, I had such a good time helping these kids customize their shoes. They wanted circles, Spiderman, trees, and wrestlers… and I was excited to help them color. Seeing this concept really connect with our consumer, and then giving the same experience to children in need right here in the US was just amazing for the volunteers and me.