“We’re in Business to Help Change Lives”

April 3, 2013


In: Doing Good

“We’re in Business to Help Change Lives.” That’s the first thing you see when you click on “Our Movement” page on TOMS website. Underneath this bold statement, it gets even better:

“It’s a big job, and we don’t do it alone. With our customers and Giving Partners, we’re transforming everyday purchases into a force for good around the world. One for One.®

And when you don’t think it could get any better, you can click more to “Learn How Change Happens” in two categories: Shoes and Sight. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company gives one pair of shoes (or a pair of boots) to someone who needs shoes or boots in more than 50 countries.  For every pair of TOMS glasses purchased, the company gives a pair of prescription glasses, sight saving surgery or medical treatment to people in need through their “Sight Giving Partner” that works in the US and 12 countries around the world. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.


The entire premise of this company’s being is to give back and change the world.  Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, “Chief Shoe Giver” and the impetus behind the One for One® movement, has achieved rock-star status, and rightly so.  Since he founded the company in 2006, he has given more than 2 million shoes to people who need shoes.  His story is phenomenal.  Mind-blowing.  And listening to him will change you forever.  A good friend of mine heard Blake speak a few years ago at an event in the Washington, D.C. area.  She came back not only with an autographed copy of his book, Start Something That Matters, but a completely transformed view of what it means to be a good corporate citizen and a burning desire to launch her own business.

I decided to write about TOMS for my first Doing Good blog post because frankly, I don’t think there’s another company out there that can top what Blake Mycoskie has accomplished.  I’ve read about copy-cats who are trying to out-do what he’s done, but as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Like many others, I am completely in awe of a guy who, after a trip to Argentina and seeing a bunch of kids walking around without any shoes on their feet, decided to start not just a company, but a movement that has raised the bar to a totally new level of social responsibility and corporate citizenship.

It kind of makes you stop and think: if a guy can start a company from a ‘humble idea’ and give away shoes and glasses to needy children and people, and still make a profit, what else can be done using the same business model?

The TOMS brand has broken all the rules and is blazing the trail for a completely new brand of corporate social responsibility called ‘social entrepreneurship.’  Blake Mycoskie’s One for One® movement has “changed the game in how companies view their corporate social responsibilities and the empowerment of consumers to use their purchasing power for conscious and impactful choices.”

Just think, if it can be done with shoes and eyeglasses, how many more lives could be changed or improved if other business leaders thought the same way as Blake Mycoskie?


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