Blake Mycoskie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blake Mycoskie
Mycoskie speaks at SXSW 2011
Born (1976-08-26) August 26, 1976 (age 47)
EducationSouthern Methodist University
SMU Cox School of Business
OrganizationTOMS shoes
Notable workStart Something That Matters
TelevisionThe Amazing Race 2
Molly Holm
(m. 2022)

Blake Mycoskie (born August 26, 1976) is an American entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He is the founder of Toms Shoes[1] and co-founder of Madefor.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mycoskie was born in Arlington, Texas, to Mike Mycoskie, an orthopaedic 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] Mycoskie sold the company to his partner in 1999.


After 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.[6]

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.[7] Mycoskie moved to Los Angeles later that year.[8]

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,[9][better source needed] the network launched in 2003 with a plan of airing original content and re-runs of reality programming.[10] 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.[11] 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.[9] To promote DriversEdDirect, he created Closer Marketing Group, a Santa Monica-based marketing firm specializing in brand development and viral marketing.[12]

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 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."[13]

Inspired, Mycoskie returned to the United States and founded Shoes for Better Tomorrows. Designed as a for-profit business that could give new shoes to disadvantaged children, 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.[14][15] Shoes for a Better Tomorrow, later shortened to Toms,[16] was started in 2006; by 2013, the company had donated more than 10,000,000 pairs of shoes to people in need.[17] The shoes are sold globally in more than 1000 stores.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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?'"[21]

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.[22] For every copy of Start Something That Matters sold, Mycoskie promised to give a children's book to a child in need.[23] Fifty percent of royalties from the book were then used to provide grants to up-and-coming entrepreneurs,[24] and Mycoskie increased this to 100% in late 2012.[25] The book became a New York Times best-selling business book,[26] and a number one New York Times best-seller in the advice category.[27]

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.[28][29]

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.[30][31][32]

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.[2] 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.[33]

The Amazing Race[edit]

in January 2002, Mycoskie competed on the second season of the CBS adventure reality show The Amazing Race with his younger sister Paige. The two reached the final leg of the race and finished in third place.[34]

The Amazing Race 2 finishes[edit]

  • An underlined blue placement with a double-dagger (‡) indicates that Blake and Paige were the last to arrive at a pit stop in a non-elimination leg.
  • A green ƒ indicates that Blake and Paige won the Fast Forward.

Roadblocks performed by Blake are bolded

Episode Leg Destination(s) Detour choice (underlined) Roadblock performance Placement Notes
1 1 United StatesBrazil Mountain/Beach No Roadblock 4th of 11 [a]
2 2 Brazil Freak Out/Seek Out Paige 9th of 10
3 3 BrazilSouth Africa Dance/Deliver Blake 5th of 9 [b]
4 4 South AfricaNamibia Slide/Stride Blake 4th of 8
5 5 NamibiaThailand Confusion now/Confusion later Blake 4th of 7
6 6 Thailand Boat/Beast Blake 3rd of 6
7 7 ThailandHong Kong Wishing tree/Herbal tea Blake 5th of 6
8 8 Hong KongAustralia Dragon/Lion Blake 5th of 5 [c]
9 Australia Cool down/Heat up Paige 2nd of 5
9 10 AustraliaNew Zealand Used fast forward 1st of 4ƒ
10 11 New Zealand Drop/Climb Paige 2nd of 4
11 12 New ZealandUnited States Bike/Walk Blake 1st of 3
13 United States No Detour Blake 3rd of 3
  1. ^ Blake & Paige tied with Hope and Norm for 4th place.
  2. ^ Blake & Paige tied with Shola and Doyin for 5th place.
  3. ^ Blake completed the roadblock incorrectly and had to redo it.

Personal life[edit]

Mycoskie lives in Jackson, Wyoming.[35] He divorced his ex-wife, Heather Lang in 2020.[2] They have one son, Summit, and one daughter, Charlie.[36][37] Mycoskie also provides financial support 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. ^ Hubbard, Kelsey (January 7, 2012). "Sole Man Blake Mycoskie". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Phelps, Nicole (May 15, 2020). "Blake Mycoskie Is Flourishing—And You Will Too If You Try His New Wellness Program, Madefor". Vogue. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  3. ^ Shambora, Jessica (March 16, 2010). "How Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie got started". CNN. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Grigsby Bates, Karen (November 26, 2010). "'Soul Mates': Shoe Entrepreneur Finds Love In Giving". NPR. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  5. ^ Wong, Grace (September 26, 2008). "Blake Mycoskie: Sole ambition". CNN. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Amred, Imam, Vikram Alexi Kansara (July 29, 2013). "Founder Stories | Blake Mycoskie of Toms on Social Entrepreneurship and Finding His 'Business Soulmate'". Business of Fashion. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  7. ^ Sire, Brigitte (April 1, 2009). "Saving Soles". Hemispheres. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Executive Profile: Blake Mycocksie". Bloomberg Businessweek. March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.[dead link]
  9. ^ a b Colao, J.J. (March 3, 2014). "The Trials Of Entrepreneurship: Toms Founder Blake Mycoskie On Starting Up Again ... And Again". Forbes. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  10. ^ Sellers, Andrea (April 28, 2003). "Former 'The Amazing Race' contestant Blake Mycoskie announces all-reality 'Reality Central' television network". Reality TV World. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "Get to the top with Mycoskie's 5 tips". CNN. September 26, 2008. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  12. ^ "Blake Mycoskie, Contributor Profile". HuffPost. 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  13. ^ Mycoskie, Blake (September 21, 2011). "Blake Mycoskie Conceived The Idea For Toms Shoes While Sitting On A Farm, Pondering Life, In Argentina". Business Insider. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  14. ^ Zimmerman, Mike (2013). "The Business of Giving: Toms Shoes". Success. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  15. ^ Burstein, David D. (2008). "Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of Toms Shoes". Fast Company. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  16. ^ Schweitzer, Tamara (2010). "The Way I Work: Blake Mycoskie of Toms Shoes". Inc. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  17. ^ Groden, Claire (June 26, 2013). "Toms Hits 10 Million Mark on Donated Shoes Read more: Toms Hits 10 Million Mark on Donated Shoes". Time. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "40 Under 40". CNN. 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  19. ^ Moore, Booth (June 11, 2011). "Toms founder Blake Mycoskie is known for pairing fashion and causes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  20. ^ Garton, Christina (June 8, 2011). "Toms' Blake Mycoskie announces next one-to-one product for charity". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  21. ^ Clendaniel, Morgan (June 7, 2011). "Toms Glasses: The Newest Buy-One-Give-One Product from Toms Shoes". Fast Company. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  22. ^ Kerima Greene (September 7, 2011). "Interview with Blake Mycoskie the Author of 'Start Something That Matters'". CNBC. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  23. ^ QMI Agency (August 4, 2011). "Q&A with Toms shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie". London Free Press. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Sandi Gordon (January 3, 2013). "Change the World – Start Something That Matters".
  26. ^ "Hardcover Business Books". The New York Times. October 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "Reprint of New York Times best-seller list". September 16, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  28. ^ Strom, Stephanie (March 11, 2014). "Turning Coffee Into Water to Expand Business Model". The New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  29. ^ Graham, Jefferson (March 12, 2014). "SXSW | Toms Expands to Coffee". USA Today.
  30. ^ 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 August 21, 2014.
  31. ^ Healy, Beth (August 20, 2014). "Bain Capital buys 50 percent of company that donates shoes". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  32. ^ Fell, Jason (August 20, 2014). "Toms Lands Major Investment From Bain Capital". Entrepreneur. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  33. ^ Dishman, Lydia (March 4, 2020). "'Modern living is tough': Toms founder launches a wellness kit inspired by his own struggles". Fast Company. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  34. ^ "The Amazing Race 2".
  35. ^ Vincent, Robyn (Winter 2019–2020). "Tomorrow's Courage Today". Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. pp. 89–92. Retrieved October 5, 2020 – via Issuu.
  36. ^ Moore, Booth (December 23, 2012). "Toms Shoes: A Venice shoe-in". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  37. ^ Abkowitz, Alyssa (June 17, 2015). "How CEO Dads Cope with Paternity Leave". Fortune. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  38. ^ Henson, Maria (October 3, 2018). "Walking With the Hope". Wake Forest Magazine. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  39. ^ Moxley, Mitch. "20 Minutes With: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie, Whose New Company Takes Aim at Physical and Mental Health". Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  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 October 5, 2020.
  41. ^ "Blake Mycoskie on How Travel Can Inspire Selflessness". Sunset. December 13, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  42. ^ "Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms, on the power of entrepreneurship". Sporteluxe. February 12, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  43. ^ "How This Game-Changing Golf Performance Facility Landed Blake Mycoskie As an Investor". Destination Luxury. August 1, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  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 October 5, 2020.
  45. ^ "The Sexiest Bachelor in America". Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  46. ^ "The Cannes Lionheart Award 2016 goes to Toms founder, Blake Mycoskie". Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  47. ^ Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (March 31, 2015). "Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation". Voices in Leadership. Retrieved January 3, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (March 4, 2015). "Next Generation Award". Fellowship Celebration. Retrieved January 3, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  49. ^ Kay, Andrea (January 25, 2013). "How to enthrall an audience when you speak". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  50. ^ "Philanthropist Blake Mycoskie will receive ISPA Humanitarian Award". Smart Brief. May 29, 2013. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  51. ^ "40 Under 40 – Blake Mycoskie". Fortune. October 25, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  52. ^ "Person of the Week: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie". ABC News. April 8, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  53. ^ Mycoskie, Blake (December 10, 2009). "Toms Shoes Accepts the Secretary of State's 2009 ACE Award". HuffPost. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  54. ^ "America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs". Bloomberg Businessweek. 2008. Archived from the original on April 6, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  55. ^ Ingrassia, Lisa (September 10, 2007). "He Gave 50,000 Kids Their First Pair of Shoes". People. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  56. ^ "Toms Shoes Win the 2007 People's Design Award (Press release)". Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. October 19, 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.

External links[edit]