TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Blake Mycoskie's understated candor could be dismissed as boyish, but it's anything but.

The 34-year-old founder of TOMS Shoes has combined creating a quality product with a brand identity, then enfusing the entire process with social good. It's serious, good business. And the shoes themselves, simple canvas slip-ons that feel hip and yet at the same time global in culture, are a favorite from Thayer Street to Nordstrom, from middle schoolers to moms.

But the TOMS story goes way beyond a smart product that sells. Cited by CNN recently as one of 10 Ideas to Change the World, the TOMS formula of donating one pair of shoes for every one it sells resonates deeply. The company just gave away its 1 millionth pair of shoes in Argentina at the beginning of October.

In its short history, the company, and its founder, have garnered national attention and praise. In 2007 TOMS received a People's Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and two years later, Mycoskie and TOMS were honored by the Secretary of State's 20089 Award for Corporate Excellence, presented by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. The award celebrates companies' commitment to corporate social responsibility, innovation, exemplary practices, and democratic values worldwide.

Mycoskie came to Providence yesterday to speak at Johnson & Wales University about social entrepreneurship, and spoke with GoLocalProv's Sam Valarose about how TOMS came about, what it means, and how college kids can take on the world.

For more on TOMS products, programs, and opportunities to engage in its mission, go here.


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