Friday, January 7, 2011

Blake Mycoskie - Philanthropic Capitalism

Blake Mycoskie - Philanthropic Capitalism

When traveling in Argentina to learn how to play polo Blake Mycoskie noticed the villagers did not have shoes. He also saw that they had various health problems because of their bare feet. They had cuts, sores, hook worms and other problems. During the rainy season it could be even worse.
Blake is a caring person. He wanted to do something to help those children with no shoes. All he had to do was provide some shoes for the villagers to protect their feet.
One impulse people have when they see a problem like this is to ask for donations. Please give money! Please give shoes! Please help us take the shoes to people who need them.
The only problem with that is it is not sustainable. It doesn’t last. Shoes wear out. They get lost (kids are kids). Shoes get outgrown.
So Blake needed to find a way to provide shoes for these poor villagers. And it had to be sustainable. It had to support itself. The villagers could not purchase shoes, so even selling them inexpensive shoes would not work.
The villagers needed shoes today, but they would also need shoes tomorrow. They needed tomorrow’s shoes.
And an idea was born. A new business model that would be profitable and would provide shoes for people who could not afford them.
Blake Mycoskie knew nothing about shoes, so he decided to start a shoe company. The model for this company would be that for every pair of shoes it sold at a profit it would give a pair away to someone who could not afford them. That was the essence of his business plan.
And it worked.
People would have shoes today, and tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Shoes became TOMS Shoes. Being profitable and philanthropic is possible and the model Blake Mycoskie started would become a model for other companies as well. He took something typical and ordinary, the manufacturing and retail sale of shoes, and added value to it. The value to to the consumer who purchases the shoes, knowing that purchase will help someone in need. The value it to the company and it’s employees, because it remains profitable, earns them a paycheck AND provides them with a job that is socially beneficial. And the value is to the over one million people who have shoes on their feet.
That’s what I call a win-win-win proposition.
To find out more about TOMS shoes please go to

TOMS Shoes Event November 15, 2010 Anne Arundel Community College 

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