Behind the Seams: The TOMS strategy


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.

TOMS gets a ton of inquiries every day about how we run our business.

“Do you really give a pair for every pair you sell?”

“How do you do it without advertising?”

I definitely believe that TOMS has been able to give over 150,000 pairs of shoes over the past three years because of the simplicity of the One for One movement. This company was not built on a complicated formula, or a tediously planned business strategy. Rather, TOMS was built on the simple ideas of giving, change, and striving for a better tomorrow. Once we realize the power of our individual consumerism, we can transfer that power into the ability to make a difference in the world. It’s not a lifestyle change and it’s not turning your entire routine upside down. It’s just little choices we make every day. I don’t think giving back should ever be difficult, and TOMS has provided a simple yet powerful way for all types of people to provide for children in need and to educate others. It’s as easy as wearing their TOMS and sharing the story. When you have a connection with your consumer, and they are passionate about what you have created, the movement becomes viral in nature and it grows.

When we look at our wish list for tomorrow, we should see simple solutions and amazing outcomes, not obstacles and road blocks. Hopefully TOMS is inspiring a diverse crop of new designers and entrepreneurs to embrace giving in their business

Read more about the TOMS story through past StyleCaster articles.