Significantly, Toms has demonstrated that it’s possible to have a social purpose and operate as a successful business. But by giving, we build a community and people recommend through word of mouth and on social media,” says Mycoskie.Last year, private equity giant Bain Capital bought a 50pc stake in the Los Angeles-based company, which valued the firm at 5m (£410.2m). They spend lots of money on advertising - whether it’s paying celebrities to endorse your product or taking out significant billboards. 'One for one’ has inspired many other companies to consider their social footprint, and Toms has expanded the campaign beyond shoes and into other forms of welfare.
“We always try to identify the biggest areas of needs in a country before we start giving,” says Mycoskie.
“Since we started nine years ago, it’s great to see that many of the communities we’ve helped have really developed.” Starting Toms was something of a career turnaround for 38-year-old Mycoskie, famous at one point a decade ago for narrowly missing out on winning $1m in US reality TV series The Amazing Race.
After dropping out of Southern Methodist University, Texas-born Mycoskie built a number of successful businesses including a laundry service and a billboard company, before he was inspired to start Toms after a trip to Argentina made him realise there were still many children whose families were too poor to afford shoes.
With the help of a local shoemaker, he designed a simple canvas espadrille and brought back 250 pairs to the US, with the original aim of selling the shoes to raise money to send back to the country.
Blake Mycoskie is known as chief shoe giver within the social company he founded, Toms.
Mycoskie, a university dropout, came up with the idea for Toms while travelling in Argentina and being overwhelmed at the number of children without shoes .Through its ubiquitous 'one for one’ campaign – Toms donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased – the company has given away more than 35 million pairs of shoes since 2006.Its message has been a hit with youngsters, a crucial and difficult-to-reach market for any retailer, and the company has even trademarked its famous tagline.He used funds from the sale of a software company he owned to fund the business growth, and moved manufacturing to China to save money.Within six months his shoes had been featured in Vogue, gaining the praise of legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld.Other high profile fans have since included Keira Knightley, model Miranda Kerr and members of One Direction.