Ten years ago, a young entrepreneur named Blake Mycoskie launched TOMS Shoes replica.The business model was unorthodox but simple: For every pair of shoes outlet a customer bought, TOMS would donate a pair to a child in need. At the time, the company was one of the first to employ the one-for-one system.
Today, dozens of other companies have followed in TOMS’ footsteps with one-for-one models. TOMS has given away over 60 million pairs of shoes replica, and they’ve expanded into bags, eyewear, and coffee.Business Insider recently caught up with Mycoskie to ask him about the future of TOMS and to get his thoughts on the way social entrepreneurship is evolving.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.Shana Lebowitz: How do you describe TOMS and what exactly do you sell? Is it a shoe company or something else? Blake Mycoskie: It’s something that we’ve thought a lot about. It’s our 10-year anniversary this year. One thing that I think has become really clear is we didn’t start a company with a mission, but we had a mission that turned into a company.
And I think that’s a really important distinction because I started TOMS basically to fund the giving that I wanted to do to the children I met in South America. I didn’t want to start a charity toms outlet uk to be dependent on donations.A lot of people now call it social enterprise, conscious cheap toms capitalism, and there’s a lot of labels for what we are. But I think the phrase that “we are a mission with a company” is probably the best way to describe it as opposed to a company that has a mission.
Lebowitz: Why did you step down from the position of CEO and what’s your current role at the company?
Mycoskie: I was CEO by default, but I never was a CEO. I mean I’m a founder, I love the beginning of things. I love working with the creative team, but running a business, dealing toms sale a lot with HR, dealing a lot with processes, that’s never really been my strength. Once I was in a position where I could bring on and attract world-class CEO talent, like Jim, our CEO, I was super excited to do so.
Success in business is about playing to your strengths as a company and as individuals. And my strengths are definitely in telling our stories, getting people excited about toms outlet uk our mission, working with the marketing and creative teams to create the product and the messages we want to share, and now I can focus all of my time on that because now I don’t have the responsibilities of being a CEO. So it’s a really great partnership with Jim, business has never been stronger, and our employees are a lot happier, too because they have someone day-to-day that they can go to.
Lebowitz: Do you think most customers are aware of and motivated by the giving element when they buy TOMS shoes replica?
We did some research with the Boston Consulting Group last year and we actually found that only 50% are. That was really surprising to us.
But then when you ask those people, when you tell toms sales them about the mission, you say, “Are you more likely to buy more products?” The answer is resoundingly yes. So one of our big challenges as a business is how do we share our story, how do we share our mission in more ways?
We’re really investing a lot in telling that story cheap toms more in store displays. We’ve installed virtual reality headsets in all of our stores so people can go on a virtual giving trip and see the children that they’re helping in countries like Peru, in Colombia. That’s one of our big toms shoes replica areas of focus right now, is telling our story more, not taking it for granted that people already know it.