Blake Mycoskie is a serial entrepreneur best known for founding TOMS and the person behind the idea of One for One®, a business model that helps a person in need with every product purchased.
A simple idea has grown into a global movement: TOMS Shoes has provided over 86 million pairs of shoes to children since 2006, TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to over 400,000 since 2011 and TOMS Roasting Company has helped provide over 335,000 weeks of safe water since launching in 2014. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection was founded with the mission to help provide training for skilled birth attendants and distribute birth kits containing items that help a woman safely deliver her baby. As of 2016, TOMS has supported safe birth services for over 25,000 mothers.
TOMS humble beginnings happened unintentionally. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake’s vision soon turned into the simple business idea that provided the powerful foundation for TOMS.
Over the course of its first five years, TOMS was successful enough in providing shoes for children in need. But Blake, having recognized other vital needs during his travels around the world, realized that One for One® could be applied to more than shoes. He developed the idea for TOMS Eyewear in which for every pair of eyewear purchased, TOMS would help give sight to a person in need. One for One®. In the fall of 2011, Blake released his first book, Start Something That Matters, offering his own amazing story of inspiration, and the power of incorporating giving in business. He references other companies and individuals who have been motivated and inspired to integrate philanthropy into their profession as well as their personal lives. The book became a New York Times best-seller. More importantly, it is Blake’s hope that Start Something That Matters inspires others to turn their passion and dreams into a reality.
From shoes to eyewear and now a book, Blake’s unique approach to business has awarded him with numerous accolades. In 2009, Blake and TOMS received the Secretary of State’s 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.” People Magazine featured Blake in its “Heroes Among Us” section, and TOMS Shoes was featured in the Bill Gates Time Magazine article “How to Fix Capitalism.” In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.
If the lifeblood of an entrepreneur is the idea, the oxygen that can sustain them is the belief that their ideas can change the world for the better. As we navigate life searching for purpose and meaning, and chasing conventional notions of success in the process, ideas come and go from our consciousness, but some stick, and if we are lucky enough, or perhaps brave enough, we act on those ideas and they become something transformative. The power of ideas is what drove Blake Mycoskie to start TOMS (and give over ninety million pairs of shoes to kids in the process), to write Start Something that Matters, to take on various social causes through philanthropy, and most recently to start his latest company, Madefor.
You may think you know Blake Mycoskie — serial entrepreneur, participant on the Amazing Race, Founder of TOMS, author of Start Something that Matters, husband, father, philanthropist, adventurer — but those are only parts of his story. Despite checking all the boxes we’re all taught to try to check, he’s continued a lifelong journey of exploration and personal transformation, and in doing so realized there’s way more to life than that. Through his talk, The Power of Ideas, Blake will share his quest to go within and beyond, and relate it to what it may mean for you as you search for meaning, connection, contribution and happiness in your own life.
What are you made for?
You were made for more.
In this visionary talk, Blake Mycoskie shows you how to succeed in a new era of relentless competition and heightened social awareness.
At TOMS — a self-sustaining, for-profit company — the act of giving is the cornerstone of its business model, integral to its financial success. In a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works, Mycoskie shares counter-intuitive ideas (“In tough times, give more”) that you can apply to your own business. His bold, winning strategies are proven and have been talked about by Bill Clinton, the Obama administration, and the hundreds of thousands of customers that have joined the TOMS Movement by buying a pair of shoes.
Inspired, inspiring and most of all practical, Mycoskie presents a new direction for business; offering TOMS as his prime case study. After hearing him speak, you will know why giving just makes sense.