Early Childhood & Education
Mycoskie was born on August 26 , 1976 in Arlington ,Texas . His father name is Mike Mycoskie , an orthopedic surgeon while his mother, Pam Mycoskie is an Author.
He initially went to Arlington Martin High School, before then graduated from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin in 1995.
Mycoskie, was an avid tennis player at an early age of 10, He proceeded to Southern Methodist University on a partial tennis scholarship in 1995, and study philosophy and business as a major . He once competed against Andy Roddick , former World number one while still in the College .
He sustained an achilles tendon injury as a sophomore, which unfortunately ended his tennis career,
Mycoskie drop out of SMU and established his first business, EZ Laundry which of course was an instant success.
EZ Laundary was initially focused on SMU students due to unavailability of non-campus Dry Cleaning service, the business then expanded, thereby engaging more than 40 people, servicing three universities, and generating approximately $1 million in turnover . Mycoskie sold the company to his partner in 1999.
Blake Mycoskie relocated to Nashville after completing his college education.He started Mycoskie Media , an outdoor billboard company with sole aim of marketing mainly country music.
The company was an instant success ,and was acquired by Clear Channel just nine months after its launch.
In 2001, Mycoskie moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded the cable network Reality Central with Larry Namer , a founder of E! Entertainment Television.
The due raised $25 million dollars from Venture capitalist, with collaboration from previous winners and contestants of reality shows.
The new company, had moderate success,it however went bankrupt in 2005 after Rupert Murdock launched its own Fox Reality Channel and outbid them for both contents and advertising.
With determination to pursue an entrepreneurial path, In 2006 , Mycoskie then partnered with the founders of TrafficSchool.com to create DriversEd Direct, an online driver’s education service which additionally offered behind-the-wheel training in hybrid and sport utility vehicles.
To promote DriversEdDirect, he created Closer Marketing Group, a Santa Monica-based marketing firm specializing in brand development and viral marketing.
Mycoskie was in Argentina on vacation in 2006. While there, he met an American woman who was part of a volunteer organization which provided shoes for children in need.
Mycoskie spent several days traveling from village to village with the group, as well as on his own.
“I witnessed the intense pockets of poverty just outside the bustling capital,” he wrote in a 2011 article for The Business Insider.
“It dramatically heightened my awareness. Yes, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that poor children around the world often went barefoot, but now, for the first time, I saw the real effects of being shoeless: the blisters, the sores, the infections.”
Mycoskie came back to the United States fired up after his vacation in Argentina and established a shoe company to be called Shoes for Better Tomorrows.
A company with sole aim of making profit as a business but will could continually give new shoes to disadvantaged children for every pair sold , he was the initiator of the “One for One” business model: the company would donate a new pair of shoes for every pair of shoes sold.
The very idea of One-for-One business model witnessed hundreds of others companies replicating the concept including more successful brands like Pampers and Crocs to Subway and the Gap .
He started out with just one business partner named Alejo Nitti, who helped him made his initial run of shoes, using small shoe makers in Argentina.
He was using his Venice Beach apartment as his operation base and by the end of his first Summer in business , Mycoskie had sold more than 10,000 pairs online and through stores in Los Angeles, including American Rag. Shoes For A Better Tomorrow, later shortened to TOMS, was started in 2006;
TOMS witnessed a boom in business when the company was feature in LA Times and got 2,200 online order same day of the publication.He was later called by Vogue Magazine for an exclusive Interview to share the TOMS story same year, this also add impetus to the success of the TOMS brand.
By 2013 the company had given more than 10,000,000 pairs of shoes to people in need across countries.The shoes are sold globally in more than 1000 stores.
In 2011, Toms expanded to include eyeglasses using same model of “One for One” offering—for every pair of sunglasses purchased, sight-saving medical treatment, prescription glasses, or surgery is donated to a person in need.
Even though Mycoskie was the brain behind the idea of , a “Sight Giving Partner,” the Seva Foundation, was contracted to administer the actual program, which launched in Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia.
In a 2012 interview with Fast Company, Mycoskie said it was helpful for him to work with Seva.
“I’ve been there when (people have had) surgery… and I’ve handed out the glasses. But as Toms grows, it has to be less about ‘What’s Blake’s most intimate, joyful experience?’ and more about ‘What’s the great need?'”
Mycoskie published his first book Start Something That Matters in 2011.
In it, he wrote about and explained in details the virtues of social entrepreneurship and the concept of businesses using their profits and company assets to make charitable donations or engage in other charitable efforts, using his insights with Toms to show both the intangible and real returns.
For every copy of Start Something That Matters sold, Mycoskie promised to give a children’s book to a child in need.
Fifty percent of royalties from the book were then used to provide grants to up-and-coming entrepreneurs , this was later increased to to 100% by the end of 2012.
The book became a New York Times best-selling business book,and a number one New York Times best-seller in the advice category.
At SXSW in 2014, Mycoskie announced the launch of TOMS Roasting Co., a company which offers coffee sourced through direct trade efforts in Rwanda, Honduras, Peru, Guatemala, and Malawi.
TOMS Roasting Co. will donate a week of water to people in need in supplier countries for every bag of coffee sold. In 2014, Mycoskie announced that TOMS would launch an additional “One for One” product every year.
Bain Capital acquired 50% stake in TOMS by August ,2014 while Mycoskie retain his role as the Chief Shoe Giver .
In eight short years, we’ve had incredible success, and now we need a strategic partner who shares our bold vision for the future and can help us realize it.” He said.
He donated 50% of the profits from the sale of TOMS to set up a fund that identifies and supports social entrepreneurship and other causes across the globe.
Bain Capital also committed to matching Mycoskie’s donation to the fund, and will continue the One For One business mode
As at 2016 , TOMS has given away about 60 million pairs of shoes.
The company has helped restore sight to about 400,000 people though its cataract and other surgical procedures , also providing more than 335,000 weeks of safe drinking water and supporting safe delivery services to about 25,000 mothers across the globe.
TOMS is estimated to worth $625 million at the time Bain Capital acquired 50% stake.
In 2009, He was a recipient of Secretary of State’s Award of Corporate Excellence while winning Bloomberg Business week “America Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” a year before.
He was on Fortune”40 Under 40″ in 2011 and also received ABC News Person of the Week same year.
He was the recipient of Next Generation Award in April,2015 by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health . He was also among the “Five Best Communicators In The World” in 2013 by USA TODAY and also won ISPA Humanitarian Award same year.
In 2015, Some analyst criticized TOMS about the One -for-One business model and concluded that the company TOMS might not necessary be helping children in need and the shoes were not making any significant change in the lives of the kids.
“The bad news is that there is no evidence that the shoes exhibit any kind of life-changing impact, except for potentially making them feel somewhat more reliant on external aid,” Professor Bruce Wydick wrote in a blog post in 2015, after studying the TOMS shoe donation program in El Salvador.
The team also found “a small negative impact on local markets” caused by the TOMS giveaways, in which local shoe vendors sold just a few less shoes because of the donations.
They suggested that TOMS efforts aren’t getting to the root of the poverty issue, and people would be better off donating cash as a more effective way to help.
In addressing the issue raised by the Analysts ,TOMS showed that they truly cares about what they were doing , seeks evidence-based results on its program .
In response to children saying that the canvas loafer isn’t their priority, they started giving away sports shoes.
In response to the appropriateness of their shoes in different contexts, in Mongolia they redesigned normal TOMS as cute little kids’ snow boots.
In response to the dependency issue, they started giving out shoes to kids as rewards for attendance and performance in schools.
In 2015 , Blakes Mycoskie used half of his payout ,about $200 million, to 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.
His life story shows that all his success he achieved was due to his willingness to help other who are in need and the concept of One-for-One model.
We hope you have enjoyed exploring Blake Mycoskie biography and his success story have inspired you to new discoveries.