As AOL prepares to participate in the One Day Without Shoes barefoot challenge on April 10th, we had the pleasure of having Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, pay a special visit to our New York City office. Blake spoke about the origins of TOMS, the impact his revolutionary One for One model has had on the world and explained why the Tom's One Day Without Shoes campaign is so much more than just going without shoes for a day.
Introduced by Blair Cobb, Senior Director of AOL Cause Marketing, and greeted by packed conference rooms across the country watching the live stream, Blake started off by explaining how his life experiences and time spent in Argentina led to his unique vision. When he witnessed the hardships facing children growing up barefoot in Argentina, he knew he had to help in some way, and the One for One movement was born.
Through a bit of trial and error, and the help of amazing editorial pickup from outlets like the LA Times and Vogue, Blake was able to sell 10,000 pairs of shoes his first summer, which translated into 10,000 pairs of shoes donated to children in need. After his first trip to Argentina to drop off shoes, his life was forever changed.
From the beginning, Blake knew that in order to make a big impact and make his idea truly work, he had to do more than just create a charity – he knew that he had to create a business model that incorporated an active giving component into the overarching strategy. Through the success of his model, he strongly believes and teaches that the more "good" that companies can incorporate into their business strategies, the bigger an impact they will have on society, and in doing that, the more brand ambassadors they would have without even trying!
To generate awareness around his One for One model and the importance a pair of shoes can have on a child's life, Blake created TOMS One Day Without Shoes. Through this event, individuals go without shoes for a day, and begin to understand how vital they are to your overall health. Though this sounds like a movement aimed solely around this specific cause, it's a really a day aimed at generating awareness for and initiating conversations around all of the causes that we are passionate about. The idea is that curiosity leads to conversation, which leads to action, which ultimately leads to change.
What was primarily a One for One business around shoes has already grown to include a One for One business for Eyeglasses, but only time will tell what other important issues can be remedied through this business model.
Last year, more than 1,000 AOLers went barefoot in honor of TOMS One Day Without Shoes- this year, we're looking to increase our impact 100 times over!
This is where YOU come in! Help AOL reach its goal of reaching 100,000 people with the One Day Without Shoes message. You can do this by taking on one (or more) of the following actions between NOW and April 10th, 2012:
- Tweet your support: Click here to tweet now!
- Visit OneDayWithoutShoes.com to take the pledge and go barefoot on April 10th - Click to take the pledge (and put AOL as your company!)
To thank those who have taken one of the above action, we will be awarding one hundred $50 TOMS gift cards to random winners!
For more information and official rules, please visit: http://impact.aol.com/cause/toms-one-day-without-shoes/