I just finished the weekend BIL conference and it was both educational and inspirational. There was a wide range of talks.
I am only going to highlight one talk/story today due to my time limitations on the net today.
TOMS shoes was founded by Blake Mycoskie. Blake on a trip in South America, who was not down there for humanitarian reasons, noticed all the children without shoes. He then hit upon the idea of providing shoes for these kids - just a pure idea of trying to help an obvious need. He founded a company (for profit but with a social conscious - not sure the term he used) with the simple idea of for every one shoe that is bought he will give one away to a child in need. ONE for ONE is their motto and “Changing a life begins with one step”.
He has sold 130,00 pair of shoes and given away 130,000 to children that wouldn’t have shoes if it wasn’t for this project. He projects he will sell and give away 300,000 shoes in 2009.
He told a good story about how the editor of Vogue bought 600 shoes and gave them away to all the high fashion people he knew as a Christmas present. So now the entire fashion world knows about his project. Now the famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren is involved in the project.
Blake decided to go the for profit business route so that his giving could be sustainable - rather than just running out of supporters and interest. He figures if the business is sustainable he can do more good than going the standard donation/giving route. Blake also says that incredible people have left high end jobs at big shoe companies to come work on this project because they too are inspired to give back to society.
He says that he doesn’t have to advertise much because his buying customers are the best form of advertising you could imagine: passionate, supportive, and spreading the word.
A super simple idea that all started from just observing a need on one of his trips. Go check out the TOMS shoes website for more information. The video below probably gives a better explanation than I did - check it out.
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