On Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., students were given the opportunity to view a digital broadcast of “The New Social Entrepreneurism,” a speech given by TOMS owner Blake Mycoskie. The event was organized by the Student Activities Department, and was part of The National Society of Leadership and Success’s efforts to provide students the opportunity access to worthwhile lectures.
Mycoskie has been widely praised for his revolutionary one-for-one business model that has made TOMS a successful initiative on a global scale. For every pair of TOMS shoes that are sold, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
TOMS, the shortened name of Mycoskie’s original idea for “Tomorrow Shoes,” has donated over 10 million shoes to children in need since the company’s founding in 2006. The innovative, for-profit business strategy of TOMS has brought on the concept of responsible capitalism, as it is driven by a steadfast desire to serve others.
In his speech, Mycoskie outlined the succession of the company’s growth, from its inception to its unexpectedly rapid rise to fame — with help from immediate praise from the Los Angeles Times and Vogue.
While vacationing in Argentina in 2006, Mycoskie volunteered at a shoe drive — which sparked his for-profit business idea.
“TOMS was successful because I had an idea. I did not have a plan, but I knew I wanted to get kids the shoes they needed to go to school, consistently and continually,” remarked Mycoskie in the video.
In the first summer, he sold 10,000 pairs of shoes out of his apartment, assisted only by a few interns he hired from Craigslist.
Throughout the speech, Mycoskie stressed the importance of how business and philanthropy can go hand-in-hand. Perhaps no one better could speak on the subject, as someone featured in the Bill Gates’ Time Magazine article “How to Fix Capitalism.” He has also been referred to by former President Bill Clinton as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.”
Birthed from the purest of philanthropic intentions, TOMS has succeeded due to Mycoskie’s decision to make a positive impact on the world back in 2006. The entrepreneur challenged those listening to “change one thing in your life over the next two weeks that will benefit the world.”
Today, TOMS partners with 100 non-profits in 56 countries to ensure the successful aiding of others. The company has expanded its one-for-one model to eyewear, in hopes of getting proper eyewear and examinations to children around the world. In response to critics who have questioned the model’s ability to create jobs, the company has begun manufacturing in Haiti. TOMS hopes that bringing industry to Haiti will encourage other businesses to do so, helping Haiti recover as a country.
For entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike, Mycoskie urged that conviction is the key to success. As TOMS continues to grow, it represents a form of capitalism that can be praised more than most. In an economy fueled by greed, Mycoskie and his company have built their success on avoiding just that. More information on the successful businessman, philanthropist and best-selling author can be found at TOMS.com.
To learn more about The National Society of Leadership and Success, visit the Office of Student Activities in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, or contact the office at (413) 748-3142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.