A decade ago, Blake Mycoskie turned two important observations from his travels in Argentina into what would become a multimillion-dollar shoe business.
The first was that impoverished children without toms shoes sales were not only exposed to illnesses, but unable to attend school in that country, as shoes replica are a requirement for attendance. The second was that nearly everyone with shoes, outlet from farmers to cafe goers, was wearing a traditional canvas slip-on called the a lpargata.
Believing there’d be a market for the shoe in the U.S., Mycoskie, a 2011 alumnus of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list, soon put two and two together and launched TOMS, short for “Tomorrow’s toms Shoes trade.” His plan was to donate a pair of shoes replica to a needy child for every one he sold, considered by many a groun db reaking model for social entrepreneurship at the time.
He started out with just one business partner named Alejo Nitti, who helped him produce his initial run of cheap toms shoes, using small shoe makers in Argentina. By the end of his first summer, using his Venice Beach apartment as his headquarters, Mycoskie had sold 10,000 pairs online and through stores in Los Angeles, including American Rag.
Fast forward to today, and TOMS, which has annual sales of around $500 million and more than 500 employees, has donated 70 million pairs of shoes trade to needy children. In recent years, the company has also branched out, using its “one for one” template to sell other products, including eyewear, coffee, and bags.
Yet the past two years have also been a time of significant change for TOMS. In 2014, private equity firm Bain Capital purchased a 50% stake in the company, reportedly toms outlet uk valuing it at $625 million. With half of his payout of $200 million, Mycoskie launched a social entrepreneurship fund to support the next generation of companies like TOMS. So far, it’s made 15 investments in companies with social goals.
Following is an edited transcript of Fortune’s conversation shoes sales with My c oskie about what he’s working on now.
How has TOMS changed in the past 10 years?
I didn’t even think of TOMS shoes replica as a business when I launched it in 2006. I was thinking of it as just a fun project. In just 10 years, we have awareness that’s at the same level of shoes outlet brands around the world like Nike and Converse. The elasticity of the brand shows toms shoes that what people love the most is our “ one for one ” idea—they buy something and that can help someone at the same time. We have launched eyewear, and helped 500,000 people get their eyesight back. We have launched a coffee company shoes outlet that has allowed tens of thousands of people get clean water. And we launched a bag company last year that offers safe birth kits for women who give birth at home, through the sale of canvas tote bags and backpacks. We have the opportunity toms sale to build something far bigger than just the shoe business, but the shoe business can be three to five times bigger than it is today. We are at the tip of the iceberg toms outlet for opportunity.