The two worked with a local manufacturer to produce the espadrille-style shoes, which Mycoskie called Toms, because “Tomorrow’s Shoes” wouldn’t fit on a label. He took a few pairs back to his California home to ask women what they thought, knowing little about fashion, before designer store American Rag agreed to sell them. On its first “shoe drop,” the company gave 10,000 pairs away to children in Argentina.
Now, more than 60 million pairs of shoes have been donated to children, and the company has also applied its one-for-one model to eyewear and water. In 2014, Mycoskie sold a 50 percent stake in the business to Bain Capital, valuing the company at an estimated $625 million, and likely making him more than $300 million. But his original aim was more about doing good.
“We literally had created karma, if you will, by, you know, really setting out to do something to help people versus just trying to make money,” Mycoskie said.
He has since launched a social entrepreneurship fund, investing in purpose-driven, for-profit companies.