Blake was on the TV show called The Amazing Race. Blake’s shoes TOMS, stands for “Tomorrow’s Shoes”. His friend Alejo was originally his polo instructor, who then became his partner in the creation of TOMS. Blake said that the best “consultant” is the consumer and that just might just be your friend or acquaintance. Also, Blake went to American Rag to sell his product because his friend suggested it and because he found out that emails wasn’t getting him anywhere, so it was best to go talk in person. After TOMS was featured in the LA Times, Blake then went to Craigslist to post an ad for jobs or interns. One celebrity that was spotted wearing TOMS was Scarlett Johansson. During Blake’s first shoe drop off, he became very emotional due to the fact that his idea was now a reality and he was helping millions of children in need of shoes. Blake then created a new definition of success: contributing something to the world and living and working on one’s terms (Mycoskie 16). Towards the end, Blake mention “six key traits” of stating a successful business: “having a story may be the most important part of your new venture; that fear can be useful; having a vast resource is not as critical as you might think; simplicity is a core goal in successful enterprises; that trust is the most important quality you bring to your company; finally, that giving maybe the best investment you’ll ever make” (Mycoskie 18).
I enjoyed reading the story behind the creation of TOMS. I like the idea of why Mycoskie wanted to create TOMS. What surprised me is that Mycoskie kept his promise of what he was going to with the money that he made from TOMS and the fact that it wasn’t a onetime thing. In his story, Mycoskie said, “Luckily, my friends loved the story, loved the concept of TOMS, and the shoes” (7). I like that quote because sometimes your friends’ opinion matter, and for the fact that if his friends would not have liked the shoe, Mycoskie probably would not have wanted to pursuit to sell the shoe because he would have felt discouraged. Reading the story of TOMS made me want to buy a pair and the fact that Mycoskie did not let the money get to his head and he expanded his product more. Mycoskie did not just say that he wanted to change the world but actually found ways to improve it.
I expanded my knowledge more about TOMS and found out that TOMS is more than a shoe company. They also sell glasses, bags, and backpacks. In one of the sections on the TOMS website it says that they give away shoes from toddlers to teenagers (“Giving Shoes” par. 1). Something that I found that was also very interesting about TOMS is that they sell glasses to help those who actually need surgery because they have bad vision. On the website, it also states that their glasses restore sight to individuals through sight-saving surgery, prescription, or medical treatment (“The Gift of Sight” par. 2). The TOMS website also gave insight on the amazing ways on how they contribute to the world through the products that they sell. TOMS products help the TOMS Roasting Co. create a clean well system for those who need water (“The Gift of Water” par. 3). A purchase of TOMS bags provide training for skilled birth attendants and the materials needed to help women deliver safely (“Gift of Birth” par. 4). Lastly, by purchasing a TOMS backpack it provides training for school staff to know what to do when someone is being bullied, which I believe to be a very universal problem (“Gift of Kindness” par. 5). TOMS do more than many people like me would assume. It is not about the money all the time, sometimes it is best to give back to the world that gives us so much. Who would have thought that just by purchasing a TOMS backpack or glasses that you are helping those who cannot see really well or helping a school staff prevent bullying.
Additionally, there was a man who created a business that is similar to TOMS. Paul Newman, the creator of Newman’s Salad Dressing. Paul Newman did not originally want to be in the food business, it just sort of happened. He started off his business just by making salad dressing for neighbors as Christmas presents. Just by making salad dressing for his friends and neighbors it then became something more. Even though Paul Newman was starting his own food product, he still kept his original job, being an actor. All of the profit that he made from his product, he gave it away to charity. He created a camp for children who had life threatening disease. Until this class, I have not heard about Paul Newman or the salad dressing that he created. Additionally, I have not tried his product either, which I believe is because I am more of a ranch fan.
Paul Newman was creative with his food product. I like how it started off simple, for example, he really got started just by creating the salad dressing as a Christmas present. I admire the fact that he did not get into the food business for money but because creating salad dressings is something that he enjoyed. The Newman website stated how he actually gave his money to charity. I wonder why Newman did not expand his business. Why did he stick to creating salad dressings and not something else. I also read that Newman died some years back, however is business is still opened. Does the money that the company makes still go to charity, and if so, how often? The difference between Newman’s and Mycoskie’s stories is how they came about their companies and why they created their companies. Newman basically got into the food business on accident; whereas, Mycoskie wanted to get into the shoe business, even though, he got into the business for a good reason. They both did something fantastic with the profit that they made from their business, which is amazing. The difference between the two business is what they did with the profit that they made from their business. With every pair of shoes that Mycoskie sells, he donates another pair to a child who needs it; on the other hand, Paul Newman just donated the money to charity, which does not really tell us much. I would have to say that Mycoskie’s idea was more socially minded. He received a lot of media attention for his idea.
I read more information about TOMS and something that I found that was interesting was that TOMS have a wedding toolkit. The wedding toolkit is basically a different selection for those who are tying the knot. The wedding toolkit matches the wedding dress to a TOMS product and the same for the groom’s suit. They have a selection for everyone who is participating in the wedding, a kid’s selection, bridesmaid, and groomsmen. I like the TOMS wedding toolkit because I do not know too many companies who have this selection other than bridal stores. It is actually a creative and bold move to make. Who knows how successful this selection would be and how people would respond to it. However, I would not use the TOMS wedding toolkit for my own wedding. I would not want not want to wear TOMS because I see TOMS as a playful shoe not a wedding shoe. I see TOMS as a carefree shoe as well, for example, a shoe just to throw on not a show that I want to walk down the aisle in. However, I would not mind have the children dressed in TOMS for the simple fact that TOMS is more a kid shoe and a shoe that kids can feel comfortable in.
It is a hard decision to choose between TOMS and Newman business model because they both created a successful business. Unfortunately, I have to choose the TOMS business Model because I absolutely love the story behind TOMS. I have never owned a pair of TOMS, but reading the story behind TOMS actually made me want to go purchase a pair because I know exactly where my money is going. Paul Newman made a good choice of donating his money to charity; however, that’s not specific enough for me. I would love to work for TOM’S company as well because I will be able to see the difference that I am making to the world. That does not mean that I have to be the person who makes the shoe, I can be the person who helps an angry customer because her shoes haven’t delivered yet. Little things like that can make a real difference. TOMS practice ethics the most because they kept their promise, which is kind of like their morals that they set for themselves. I personally do not believe that TOMS is a derivative of Newman’s. They have two completely different business and their business are handle in two completely different ways. There are a lot of people who are struggling or want to create their own business. There is also a thing called good and bad advice. At the end of the TOMS reading, Mycoskie gave some good advice. I would say to those who are trying to create their own business should take Mycoskie’s advise but do not model their business after TOMS or Newman’s. I would not recommend to do that because people love creative and hearing about creative ideas, so to model a company after TOMS or Newman would not be so creative or impressive. I think that the key way to create a successful business is to have a story. The story sells the product.
“Giving Shoes.” “The Gift of Sight.” “Gift of Water.” “Gift of Safe Birth.” “The Gift of Kindness” TOMS Shoes. TOMS.com. 2006-2016. Web. 7 Jul. 2016.http://www.toms.com/what-we-give
Mycoskie, Blake. Start Something that Matters. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2011. Print
“Our Story.” Newman’s Own Inc. Newmansown.com. 2016.Web. 7 Jul. 2016