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Business idea: TOMS Shoes

TOMS Shoes was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. The original TOMS shoe has a unique slip-on design comprised of lightweight fabrics in various colors and prints. The idea of TOMS was inspired by Blake’s trip to Argentina where he saw the traditional Argentine alpargata. Struck by the poverty and health issues of the country, he set out to reinvent the alpargata for the U.S. market. To realize this concept, Blake made a commitment to match every pair of TOMS purchased with a pair to a child in need. When you buy a pair of TOMS, the company will give a pair on your behalf. During the first year in business, TOMS sold 10,000 pairs of shoes. Blake returned to Argentina to lead his first Shoe Drop during which he gave to the children who had inspired him. In November 2007, TOMS had its second Shoe Drop, placing 50,000 pairs of shoes on children in South Africa. In the fall of 2008, TOMS had its first Shoe Drop in the United States, giving shoes in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida. TOMS Shoes are now available in multiple colors and fabric combinations for men and women and include a line of shoes for toddlers called Tiny TOMS. The collection is available at specialty stores and retailers across the United States including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Whole Foods Market and Urban_Outfitters. In 2007, TOMS Shoes was honored with the prestigious People’s Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Time line

January 2006: TOMS is founded
March 2006: First intern is hired, office opens out of Blake’s loft in Venice, CA
June 2006: TOMS ships 2,000 shoes to the first customers
October 2006: Blake returns to Argentina with friends and family to give 10,000 pairs of shoes
October 2006: TOMS featured in Vogue Magazine
May 2007: TOMS moves to new HQ warehouse office space in Santa Monica, CA
October 2007: TOMS receives the Cooper Hewitt People’s Choice Design Award, Smithsonian Institution
November 2007: 40+ employees, friends, and family take 50,000 pairs of shoes to children in South Africa
May 2008: The TOMS documentary film, For Tomorrow, premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival
August 2008: TOMS launches the Wrap Boot
September 2008: TOMS Pop Up Store opens in Venice on Abbot Kinney, less than one mile from where TOMS Shoes was founded

More video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM5EbLimwDo&feature=related

CNN interview: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2009/03/30/small.biz.knobstoppers.cnn

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February 23, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , ,

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