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Blake Mycoskie: Giving Feels Good—And Is Good For Business
Social Change | November 21, 2012

Blake Mycoskie: Giving Feels Good—And Is Good For Business

When Blake Mycoskie scheduled a one-month vacation from his online driver’s ed company, the 30-year-old didn't know his trip to Argentina would extend into nearly two-months and become the catalyst for a new social business. In a recent keynote address at the Distinguished Speaker Series at the University at Buffalo, Mycoskie shared the story of how TOMS, his one-for-one business, came to fruition. (Steven Pinker will also be giving a talk in the same series later this month.) He told the audience how he overheard some local citizens talking about going on a service trip to deliver shoes to a group of kids who had never had them before. “Before I know it, I’m in a van with a bunch of strangers going to give shoes to kids who’ve never had them,” Mycoskie recalls. When he realized that, "every single woman in [his] life spent a lot of money on shoes,” he knew that he could turn this shoe-giving adventure into a sustainable long-term business. The principle behind his patented one-for-one initiative is that each pair of shoes (and now each pair of eyewear as well) purchased translates directly into a pair of shoes or eye care for someone in need.

"Giving feels good and it is good for business," he explained in the talk. "If we all incorporate more giving, the world will be a better place." His vision has started to catch on and he explained to the audience that more large businesses are looking to get involved with socially driven people who have a passion to make profit and a difference in the world at the same time. Nothing is more attractive than selflessness, he also advised, and that quality is one of the most important that you can add to a resume. From its inception until today, TOMS has sold and donated over a million pairs of shoes and given away over 100,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses (as of August 2012.) In his speeches he explains how he rose to the level of success he has now and inspires other young, motivated entrepreneurs to step up and enact positive change through business. He also provides advice on how to incorporate social aspects to pre-existing companies, and argues that the act of giving not only helps your pocketbook—but the world at large.
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