One for One Hope

Blake Mycoskie was born in 1976 in Texas to a well-to-do family. His father was a doctor and his mother an author. He majored in philosophy and business at Southern Methodist University (SMU). That’s where he became interested in an entrepreneurial career.

Blake launched EZ Laundry as a campus-based dry-cleaning service at SMU and eventually two other universities. When he sold the business, it had revenues of over $1,000,000/year.

After SMU, Blake relocated to Nashville and started a media company which he sold to Clear Channel within a year. In the next few years, Blake started a couple of other businesses. It was a trip to Argentina that brought him to the next level of entrepreneurship.

While in Argentina, Blake became aware of extreme poverty and the impact that lacking foot protection had on children. When he returned to the U.S., he formed another business called Shoes for Better Tomorrows (shortened to Toms) For every pair of shoes sold, Toms gives a new pair of to those in need. Toms reached a milestone of over 10,000,000 shoes given away in less than 5 years.

The shoe model was then expanded when Toms expanded into sunglasses. For every pair of sunglasses sold, Toms would provide funding for sight care of someone in need. When the Toms Roasting Co. was started, Blake sourced coffee beans through developing countries through direct trade arrangements. For every bag of coffee sold, one week of water would be provided to people in countries where coffee beans were purchased.

Toms donates one-third of its profits each year to what it refers to as Grassroots Good. Its three focus areas are boosting mental health, increasing areas of opportunities, and ending gun violence. The Grassroots Good program works through organizations in marginalized communities.

What Blake has done is to create one for one hope as a business model and philanthropic endeavor which others can follow. He wrote the book Start Something That Matters (Start Something That Matters – Amazon) to encourage others to follow his one for one hope giving model. While many successful entrepreneurs give back after they reached a level of success, the one for one model is ongoing and engages customers in hope giving as well.

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“What you leave behind is not what in engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” – Pericles (Philosopher)

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