Yesterday I was found at Benaki museum were there was a speech by Blake Mycoskie Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes Inc. He had a story to tell and we were lucky enough to hear it and be inspired!
It all began at his month off when he went to Argentina. After making all the tourist things like dancing tango, playing polo, drinking wine etc he met some volunteers who took him with them to share some used shoes taken from wealthy families to kids in need! He then saw so much happiness in their eyes that he asked why to find out that kids where not aloud to go to school without shoes!
This giving experience mad him mentally and spiritually feel so good that he was thinking about it all night and in the morning after a discussion with his polo teacher ,who asked him ok what happens when those kids grow out their shoes, he decided to do something about it!
After some searching he managed to been made 250 pairs of shoes which would sell back in California. After a crash test with his girlfriends he began to search for stores that would sell the shoes.Next step was a headline in LA Times next to the success of the Da Vinci Code movie about TOMS shoes!
Fun thing is that he was not prepared for such a feedback and he had put an alert from the site to blackberry to inform him about new orders. Blackberry went out of battery that day after some hours of vibration without understanding why.
Next step was the Vogue article that made him and his shoes a newcomer in the fashion industry and he sold 10000 pairs of shoes over his apartment as headquarters.
Did this changed your life? His answer is the thing that changed his life is when he went back to Argentina with family and friends to give away the corresponding to the sales shoes that he had promised, where he saw his mother totally moved wearing the shoes to the kids after cleaning their feet! This made him cry and blew him away! He had to make this bigger!
Most important thing that Blake told is that the giving business not only feels good but it's also a good business. And it's ok! Where the ethical factor in business is getting involved customers become the best marketers and employees feel good for the work they are doing.
-600.000 pairs of shoes by far
-They make shoes in ethical factories in Argentina, China and Ethiopia
-TOMS stands for tomorrow's shoes
-Random customers become members of the shoe dropping to see for themselves that this is actually true.
-They now give shoes in 20 countries around the globe.
-The shoes given are the best suitable for the country's climate
Such an inspiring experience! Hope you feel the same!