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Conscious Capitalism

by melo Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:21:42 PM EST

"I don't see Tom's as a company, I see it as a movement." Blake Mycoskie

  So spake the entrepreneur, as I started this diary, inspired by the story on the teevee,  as it shows a documentary on this visionary businessman. TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More recently, Mycoskie was featured along with the owner of Frontera Foods, Rick Bayless in a CNBC segment titled "The Entrepreneurs".

(more downunder)

So here's some background:

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Founder Blake Mycoskie, a small-business entrepreneur and dropout of Southern Methodist University, (whom TV viewers might recognize from The Amazing Race) developed the concept for a shoe company while vacationing in Argentina in January 2006.[2][6][7] Mycoskie took to wearing the local alpargata shoes. Alpagarta shoes have been worn by Argentina famers for 100 years.[8] These canvas or cotton fabric shoes are now manufactured in hundreds of styles and fabrics. The sole is constructed of rope or of rubber, depending on the type of shoe. Many styles of TOMS are vegan as well. [9]After Mycoskie noticed the numerous children without shoes in the poorer villages, he returned to the United States and sold his online driver education company to self-finance the shoe company.[10] The company name is derived from the word "tomorrow",[4] and evolved from the original concept, "Shoes for Tomorrow Project".[10]


  Tom has understood something so fundamental, namely that word of moth advertising is the best and cheapest, actually it's priceless, because it's a gift freely given.

  In its most benign form, this form of capitalism can take root as model for many other businesses.

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


After his visit to Argentina in 2006, Mycoskie decided to get involved in shoe giving. Considering sustainability, he concluded that starting a business rather than a charity would help his impact last longer. In his speech at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative[11], Mycoskie recalled that children without shoes were not only susceptible to health risks, but were not allowed to go to school. When asked "why shoes?" Mycoskie's main reason is a disease called Podoconiosis. Also known as "Mossy Foot", Podoconiosis is a fungus that gets into the pores on the bottom of the feet and eventually destroys the lymphatic system. It is a soil-transmitted disease caused by walking in silica-rich soil. [12]This causes one's feet to swell along with many other health implications. In many third world countries, walking is the primary mode of transportation whether it be to get water or to go to school. Shoes are the most basic solution to these health risks. According to the TOMS Shoes website, [1], there are over 1 Billion people at risk around the world, and shoes can prevent it. Mycoskie emphasizes that his company's goal is to not only give shoes, but to also educate others on the importance of shoes. [13]


  How to get the excitement going for his enterprise? Wed it to caring and social awareness. We want more than a mere object when we spend money or trade for some new accessory in our lives, we want to deepen the character of our existence, de-banalise, and our identity evolves with our taste and appreciation...we want connection to a larger narrative we feel in our guts to be genuinely worthy.

  So here's how he did it...

  Here's how he employed the multiplier 'loaves and fishes' principle and tapped into peoples' hearts' desire to make a better world, and elevate our interaction with our world when we 'buy' something beyond the insultingly reductive term 'consumer'.

(A word that has come to best encapsulate the pathologically predatory notion that the more we turn the money wheel and enrich the debt-spinners, that this will result in golden threads for all. Epic fail... people want be producers much more than consumers anyway, they just don't know it yet, lol!)

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In October 2007, TOMS Shoes received the People's Design Award, as determined by an online popularity contest by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and has been noted as a successful model of social entrepreneurship.[20][21] Also in 2007, Blake was invited to speak along with President Bill Clinton at the Opening Plenary of the Second Annual CGI U Meeting.[22] This meeting in Austin, Texas hosted over 1.300 students and activists from around the world. In February of 2009 Mycoskie also spoke at the TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a meeting of peers including people such as Bill Gates and JJ Abrams.[23] Blake has also visited the White House. On March 6, 2009 he attended a meeting with President Obama's Senior Administration with other business leaders to present viable solutions and ideas regarding U.S. economic policy. [24]Specifically, he presented information regarding potential in the economic plan to support small businesses in the U.S. More recently, Mycoskie was featured along with the owner of Frontera Foods, Rick Bayless in a CNBC segment titled "The Entrepreneurs". Hosted by Donny Deutsch, the show highlighted the innovators' profiles and the stories behind their companies.[25] On April 8, 2009, an AT&T commercial aired during the Master's Golf Tournment featuring TOMS Shoes. Directed by award-winning Bennet Miller, the piece is slated to run at least twelve weeks. It is the first time the AT&T mobile unit has displayed a real company.[26]

  His shoes cost $9 to make, and sell from $40 -$60+ in the USA. This margin enables him to give away a pair free.

  A musical group called the 'Hansen Brothers band' got way into helping, and would ask their fans to join them walking a mile barefoot before the concerts, to better appreciate what a difference shoes can make in someone's life.

  When an idea is good enough, people will want to help out for free, because of the warm fuzzy we get.

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shoe Drops

To deliver the shoes Friends of TOMS hosts "Shoe Drop Tours" around the world. The most recent being filmed as part of an AT&T commercial was based in Uruguay in early 2009. [14] With help from 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGO's), TOMS schedules shoe drops year-round. Volunteer opportunities are open to the public. Volunteers on shoe drops are able to hand-deliver shoes to children. TOMS currently conducts Shoe Drops in Argentina once a month and gives away shoes 5 days a week in Ethiopia.

[edit] One Day Without Shoes

In efforts to raise awareness of how important shoes are, the TOMS company came up with the cause, One Day Without Shoes. For the whole day of April 16, 2009, TOMS encouraged individuals across the world to go barefoot. The company wanted to make people aware of how much of an impact shoes have on their daily lives. On the TOMS Facebook page, there is a group under the events tab that describes the annual event. On the One Day Without Shoes Facebook page, TOMS describes how walking is the main mode of transportation in developing countries, and children usually have to walk many miles to get food, water, or medical help. It then goes on to inform Facebook users how without shoes, these children are subject to infections, cuts and soil-transmitted diseases. This cause had around 1,400 confirmed guests/Facebook users and about 1,300 who possibly attended. Many Facebook users responded after the event by describing how much of an impact One Day Without Shoes had in their own lives.

[edit] Vagabond Tour

  Intuitive, intelligent use of the latest mass media software:

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TOMS and Facebook

TOMS Shoes has a Facebook group that is categorized as a non-profit organization. This group is an open group that any member of Facebook can join. As of May, 2009, the TOMS Shoes group has grown to about 5,500 members. On their group page, TOMS provides a brief description of their company and philosophy. Facebook is one of the primary sources of advertisement for the TOMS Shoes company. Because TOMS Shoes hardly invests in advertising, Facebook plays a large role in informing others about their company.


  And great plans for the future!

TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Future Projects

Currently, TOMS is working to expand their business. They are working on expanding and building their shoe factory in Ethiopia. Here they are developing a specialized rubber boot that will help to further prevent disease in the surrounding areas. [27] The company is also expanding its merchandise list to include clothing and different types of shoes. TOMS aims to give at least 100,000 pairs of shoes to children in Haiti through the coming year with the help of the Clinton Global Initiative.

  I just don't see a downside to this kind of capitalism. Am I missing something?

  Hopefully Blake's star continues rising, inspiring many others to play the game of life more richly by exemplifying good business sense, and most importantly, a brilliant imagination as to how to make something important happen, using the tools at hand, (no need for bailouts!).

        Now these look just the business for chilly evenings...

Cold-blooded Predator Capitalism as we know it may be doomed, but doing business like this will surely live for ever...

  Other than some bands who give away their music and earn more anyway, do you have any stories of entrepreneurs who put the value of right livelihood solidly above the desire to maximise quick profits, and whose stories are this kind of heartwarming?            
                   Please share!

what kind of intelligence comes up with innovative solutions?
. pure self-interested cunning 0%
. dog-eat-rat style competition 0%
. cut-throat ethics 0%
. bottom-feeder ambitions 0%
. shock doctrinaires 0%
. heart-centred human kindness 100%

Votes: 6
Results | Other Polls
I don't see "all of the above" in the survey, so I'll click on the 'heart' one.

Thanks for the write-up. Nicely done and a nice topic that I had never heard of.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:33:21 PM EST
polls are really for a giggle..

thanks state o' siege, i appreciate it.

we don't really need new (fancy schmancy) tools as much as learn to use the ones we have, properly.

Blake knocks it out the park with this!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:50:21 PM EST
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