Blake Mycoskie

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Blake Mycoskie
Blake Mycoskie at SXSW 2011.jpg
Mycoskie speaks at SXSW 2011
Born (1976-08-26) August 26, 1976 (age 44)
EducationSouthern Methodist University
SMU Cox School of Business
OccupationFounder and Chief Shoe Giver, Toms Shoes and Co-founder, Madefor
OrganizationClinton Global Initiative, B Team[1]
Notable work
Start Something That Matters"
TelevisionThe Amazing Race 2
Spouse(s)Heather Lang Mycoskie (m. 2012-2020)
Children1 son, 1 daughter
AwardsSecretary of State’s 2009 Award for Corporate Excellence

Blake Mycoskie (born August 26, 1976) is an American entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He is the founder of Toms Shoes[2] and co-founder of Madefor.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Mycoskie was born in Arlington, Texas to Mike Mycoskie, an orthopedic surgeon, and Pam Mycoskie, an author. After first attending Arlington Martin High School, he graduated from St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin in 1995. Mycoskie, who began playing tennis when he was 10, attended Southern Methodist University on a partial tennis scholarship in 1995, and elected a dual major in philosophy and business.[4] After an Achilles tendon injury he sustained as a sophomore, which effectively ended his tennis career, Mycoskie left SMU and launched his first business, EZ Laundry.[5] Originally focused on SMU, which had no on-campus dry cleaning service, EZ Laundry expanded, ultimately employing more than 40 people, servicing three universities, and generating approximately $1 million in sales.[6] Mycoskie sold the company to his partner in 1999.


Following college, Mycoskie moved to Nashville and founded Mycoskie Media, an outdoor billboard company that focused mainly on marketing country music. The company was quickly profitable, and was bought by Clear Channel nine months after its launch.[7]

In 2001, Mycoskie and his sister, Paige Mycoskie, applied for the cast of Survivor. A member of the Survivor production team told them about The Amazing Race, which had yet to debut, and they instead pursued a team position on that show. They competed in the second season of The Amazing Race and finished in third place, missing a million dollar prize by four minutes.[8] Mycoskie moved to Los Angeles later that year.[9]

In Los Angeles, Mycoskie co-founded the cable network Reality Central with Larry Namer, a founder of E! Entertainment Television. Raising $25 million from venture capitalists, along with other members of reality show casts,[10][better source needed] the network launched in 2003 with a plan of airing original content and re-runs of reality programming.[11] Although the network had moderate success, it folded in 2005 after Rupert Murdoch launched the Fox Reality Channel and outbid Reality Central for advertisers and programming.[12] Determined to pursue an entrepreneurial path, Mycoskie then partnered with the founders of to create DriversEd Direct, an online driver's education service which additionally offered behind-the-wheel training in hybrid and sport utility vehicles.[10] To promote DriversEdDirect, he created Closer Marketing Group, a Santa Monica-based marketing firm specializing in brand development and viral marketing.[13]

Mycoskie visited Argentina on vacation in 2006. While there, he met an American woman who was part of a volunteer organization that 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."[14]

Inspired, Mycoskie returned to the United States and founded Shoes for Better Tomorrows. Designed as a for-profit business that could continually give new shoes to disadvantaged children, he created the "One for One" business model: the company would donate a new pair of shoes for every pair of shoes sold. An early example of social entrepreneurship, the shoes, similar to the Argentinian Alpargata, were created to appeal to a worldwide audience, which would both sustain the company's mission and generate profit.[15][16] Shoes For A Better Tomorrow, later shortened to TOMS,[17] was started in 2006; by 2013, the company had donated more than 10,000,000 pairs of shoes to people in need.[18] The shoes are sold globally in more than 1000 stores.[19]

In 2011, Toms expanded to include eyeglasses in its "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.[20] While Mycoskie conceived the idea, a "Sight Giving Partner," the Seva Foundation, was contracted to administer the actual program, which launched in Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia.[21] 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?'"[22]

Mycoskie published the book Start Something That Matters in 2011. In it, he wrote about 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 experience with Toms to demonstrate both the intangible and real returns.[23] For every copy of Start Something That Matters sold, Mycoskie promised to give a children's book to a child in need.[24] Fifty percent of royalties from the book were then used to provide grants to up-and-coming entrepreneurs,[25] and Mycoskie increased this to 100% in late 2012.[26] The book became a New York Times best-selling business book,[27] and a number one New York Times best-seller in the advice category.[28]

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.[29][30]

In August 2014, Mycoskie sold 50% of Toms to Bain Capital, retaining his role as Chief Shoe Giver. In a company press release, he said: "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 will donate 50% of the profits from the sale to establish a fund that identifies and supports social entrepreneurship and other causes. Bain committed to matching Mycoskie's donation to the fund, and will continue the One For One business model.[31][32][33]

Mycoskie, with Pat Dossett, launched a wellness program called Madefor in March 2020. It is a subscription-based program that helps users adopt sustainable habits of body and mind; and develops lifestyle changes through practice-oriented monthly kit service.[3] The kits are based on different scientific topics, and contain the literature along with a physical tool to monitor progress of the users' shift in behavior and mindset.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Mycoskie lives in Jackson, Wyoming.[35] He divorced his ex-wife, Heather Lang in 2020.[3] They have one son, Summit, and one daughter, Charlie.[36][37] Mycoskie also acts as a parent to Wubetu Shimelash, a young boy from Ethiopia. He has been Shimelash’s financial benefactor, supporting his education.[38]

Mycoskie is an avid golfer, fly fisher, surfer[39] and adventure athlete,[40] who enjoys rock climbing[41] and polo.[42] He is an investor at Urban Golf Performance,[43] and Athletic Brewing Company;[44] and was a participant of the Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant.[45]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie, joins the B Team". 21 January 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  2. ^ Hubbard, Kelsey. "Sole Man Blake Mycoskie". January 7, 2012. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Phelps, Nicole. "Blake Mycoskie Is Flourishing—And You Will Too If You Try His New Wellness Program, Madefor". Vogue. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  4. ^ Shambora, Jessica (March 16, 2010). "How TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie got started". CNN. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  5. ^ Grigsby Bates, Karen. "'Soul Mates': Shoe Entrepreneur Finds Love In Giving". November 26, 2010. NPR. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  6. ^ Wong, Grace. "Blake Mycoskie: Sole ambition". September 26, 2008. CNN. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  7. ^ Amred, Imam, Vikram Alexi Kansara. "Founder Stories | Blake Mycoskie of Toms on Social Entrepreneurship and Finding His 'Business Soulmate'". July 29, 2013. Business of Fashion. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  8. ^ Sire, Brigitte. "Saving Soles". April 1, 2009. Hemispheres. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Executive Profile: Blake Mycocksie". March 7, 2014. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b Colao, J.J. "The Trials Of Entrepreneurship: TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie On Starting Up Again...And Again". March 3, 2014. Forbes. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  11. ^ Sellers, Andrea. "Former 'The Amazing Race' contestant Blake Mycoskie announces all-reality "Reality Central" television network". April 28, 2003. Reality TV World. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Get to the top with Mycoskie's 5 tips". September 26, 2008. CNN World Business. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  13. ^ "Blake Mycoskie, Contributor Profile". 2014. Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  14. ^ Mycoskie, Blake. "Blake Mycoskie Conceived The Idea For TOMS Shoes While Sitting On A Farm, Pondering Life, In Argentina". September 21, 2011. Business Insider. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  15. ^ Zimmerman, Mike. "The Business of Giving: TOMS Shoes". 2013. Success Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  16. ^ Burstein, David D. "BLAKE MYCOSKIE, FOUNDER AND CHIEF SHOE GIVER OF TOMS SHOES". 2008. Fast Company. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  17. ^ Schweitzer, Tamara. "The Way I Work: Blake Mycoskie of Toms Shoes". 2010. Inc. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  18. ^ Groden, Claire. "TOMS Hits 10 Million Mark on Donated Shoes Read more: TOMS Hits 10 Million Mark on Donated Shoes". June 26, 2013. Time Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  19. ^ "40 Under 40". 2011. CNN. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  20. ^ Moore, Booth. "Toms founder Blake Mycoskie is known for pairing fashion and causes". June 11, 2011. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  21. ^ Garton, Christina. "TOMS' Blake Mycoskie announces next one-to-one product for charity". June 8, 2011. USA Today. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  22. ^ Clendaniel, Morgan. "TOMS GLASSES: THE NEWEST BUY-ONE-GIVE-ONE PRODUCT FROM TOMS SHOES". June 7, 2011. Fast Company. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  23. ^ Kerima Greene (September 7, 2011). "Interview with Blake Mycoskie the Author of 'Start Something That Matters'". CNBC. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  24. ^ QMI Agency (August 4, 2011). "Q&A with TOMS shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie". London Free Press. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  25. ^ Ariel Schwartz (September 5, 2011). "Toms Shoes CEO Blake Mycoskie On Social Entrepreneurship, Telling Stories, And His New Book". Fast Company. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  26. ^ Sandi Gordon (January 3, 2013). "Change the World - Start Something That Matters". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  27. ^ "Hardcover Business Books". The New York Times. October 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  28. ^ "Reprint of New York Times best-seller list". September 16, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  29. ^ Strom, Stephanie (March 11, 2014). "Turning Coffee Into Water to Expand Business Model". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  30. ^ Graham, Jefferson. "SXSW | Toms Expands to Coffee". March 12, 2014. USA Today.
  31. ^ De La Merced, Michael J. (August 20, 2014). "After Sale to Bain, Toms's Chief Wants to Expand Global Reach". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  32. ^ Healy, Beth (August 20, 2014). "Bain Capital buys 50 percent of company that donates shoes". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  33. ^ Fell, Jason (August 20, 2014). "TOMS Lands Major Investment From Bain Capital". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  34. ^ Dishman, Lydia (2020-03-04). "'Modern living is tough': Toms founder launches a wellness kit inspired by his own struggles". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  35. ^ "Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine - Issue Fifteen - Winter 2019/2020". issuu. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  36. ^ Moore, Booth. "Toms Shoes: A Venice shoe-in". December 23, 2012. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  37. ^ Abkowitz, Alyssa (June 17, 2015). "How CEO Dads Cope with Paternity Leave". Fortune. Fortune. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  38. ^ Henson, Maria (2018-10-03). "Walking With the Hope". Wake Forest Magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  39. ^ Moxley, Mitch. "20 Minutes With: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie, Whose New Company Takes Aim at Physical and Mental Health". Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  40. ^ "Blake Mycoskie, Toms Shoes founder, on playing in the AT&T Pro-Am, downing beers before a tee time, and his ambitious anti-gun violence campaign". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  41. ^ "Blake Mycoskie on How Travel Can Inpsire Selflessness". Sunset Magazine. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  42. ^ "Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, on the power of entrepreneurship". Sporteluxe. 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  44. ^ Furnari, Chris. "Leading Non-Alcoholic Beer Maker Athletic Brewing Closes $17.5 Million Series B Round Backed By Darren Rovell And Blake Mycoskie". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  45. ^ "The Sexiest Bachelor in America". Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  46. ^ "The Cannes Lionheart Award 2016 goes to TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie". Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  47. ^ Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (31 March 2015). "Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation". Voices in Leadership. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  48. ^ Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (4 March 2015). "Next Generation Award". Fellowship Celebration. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  49. ^ Kay, Andrea. "How to enthrall an audience when you speak". January 25, 2013. USA Today. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  50. ^ "Philanthropist Blake Mycoskie will receive ISPA Humanitarian Award". May 29, 2013. Smart Brief. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  51. ^ "40 Under 40 - Blake Mycoskie". October 25, 2011. Fortune. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  52. ^ "Person of the Week: TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie". April 8, 2011. ABC News. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  53. ^ Mycoskie, Blake. "TOMS Shoes Accepts the Secretary of State's 2009 ACE Award". December 10, 2009. Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  54. ^ "America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs". 2008. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  55. ^ Ingrassia, Lisa. "He Gave 50,000 Kids Their First Pair of Shoes". September 10, 2007. People. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  56. ^ "TOMS Shoes Win the 2007 People's Design Award". October 19, 2007. Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt (Press release). Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 7 March 2014.

External links[edit]