Thursday, September 30, 2010
I first heard about TOMS at a leadership conference that I attended. Blake Mycoskie was one of the speakers and told the story of how he began TOMS.
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.
As of September 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need through giving partners around the world.
I thought, well, what if you had a situation where you could create a business instead of a charity? Where for every pair of shoes you sold you gave one away. That way, you had something you could continue and sustain. I was really into this idea of sustainability ... that way when the kids' feet grew or the shoe wore out, it would become our way to continue to give them new ones, as well as allow our customers to continue to participate in the movement. So instead of a charity, I started a business encompassing a one-for- one model where you buy a pair and we give a pair. Very simple. Totally transparent.
His whole story was incredible. For me the main thing was that he was so young. He is in his mid 30's and has already started several businesses. But his heart as always been in doing for others. I LOVE THAT!! I kept listening to him and thinking that I wanted that for my kids. I want them to believe that they have the capability to do whatever they want with their lives....I don't ever want them to limit themselves.
One of the other things that I thought was amazing was his humility. He doesn't do this so that he can lift himself up - he does it for the kids. His company doesn't even advertise. It is all done by word of mouth. How cool is that? One of the funniest stories that he shared was one day he was in an airport at a kiosk checking in for his flight. When he looked down at the girl next to him he saw that she was wearing a pair of TOMS. He said it was so weird because this was the first time he had seen anyone besides his family and friends wearing them.... So casually he commented to the lady that he liked her shoes. He said she grabbed him by the shoulders and said...."you don't understand about these shoes...." and then he said she began to tell me my whole life story better than my mom could have done...LOL!!!
This whole thing is contagious...I believe the core of this phenomenon is that people are created to give. Our world has morphed into such a selfish place that when an opportunity comes along to do something for others it is like being able to take a deep breath. So you combine the average person's desire for "fashion" and put it with a chance to do something for others it only makes sense. So when you wear TOMS you have a sort of banner that says "I CARE ABOUT PEOPLE!" It is a good feeling that hopefully spurs you on to look for other ways to do good in the world.
So today I plan on wearing my TOMS and smiling alot! Not just because they are cute but that they were a gift from a Very Very dear friend. I LOVE that she knows me so well that she would know that a gift like this would mean so much to me. It is not only about me enjoying my new pair of shoes but that a child somewhere else will be getting one as well. What a beautiful feeling!!!....sigh....
Today I dream for you a chance to find your inner Blake Mycoskie.....WOW - that is a big dream huh?? I always tell people that when I write the ...today I dream for you part... it is always for me as well as you guys....So sometimes I overwhelm myself...LOL!! So today let's try to think about how we can make a difference in our world. As a parent the best way to start is to raise your children to be aware of others...Raise them to be outwardly focused. The more your family serves others with pure and giving hearts the more joyful all of you will be and the world will be blessed because of it.