Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ben, you're a good man.

I travel so much, constantly going from airport to airport and new city to new city, that I sometimes feel that I live in a bubble. This has its disadvantages, sure, like when a friend references something from popular culture and I just kinda nod along, having little idea what they're actually talking about, but there's also one huge advantage: I'm constantly surrounded by positivity. Doing TOMS 24/7 means that I'm always fueled by passionate and inspiring people. This includes everyone from the children who light up with joy when we put shoes on their feet, to the incredible TOMS team that makes all of our giving possible, to the crowds of students and business leaders that I have the pleasure of sharing the TOMS story with.

I mention all of this because there's someone that I want to introduce you all to. Ben Goldhirsh is a great friend of mine, and also a mentor that has guided me since the very early days of TOMS. Ben is the founder of GOOD Magazine. Just like the name implies, GOOD is all about the positive and inspiring things that are happening in the world. Go ahead,
check it out now. GOOD spotlights news stories that other media outlets don't pay attention to. Hot button issues like global warming and education reform are presented in an unbiased and easily understood way, and they tell you about companies that you can be proud to support.

For almost six months now, TOMS and GOOD have been collaborating on an insert called the Giving Report which just hit the newsstands. This is something that I'm immensely proud of, and for which I would like to give a huge shout-out to Ben for helping to make this happen. The Giving Report goes into detail about why TOMS gives shoes, the types of shoes we give, and how we work with our giving partners. Whether you are a TOMS veteran, or totally new to our movement, I promise that you'll get something valuable from this report.

To celebrate finishing this project, I sent Ben a pair of highland brown botas... to which, he responded back by emailing over the following pictures and captions. I hope that these photos make your day, as they did mine :)


did I say I was going to be dunking on dudes once these new TOMS arrived?


for one.

and ps. I did jam this.
phi slamma jamma.
benjamin shmuel goldhirsh

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reflecting on the Millionth Pair


By now, you've probably heard that TOMS gave our 1,000,000th pair of shoes on a historic trip back to Argentina. Several weeks have passed since this Shoe Drop, and yet, I still find myself not only in a state of absolute joy and gratefulness, but also in disbelief. When I had the idea for TOMS 4 1/2 years ago, my goal was simply to help the 250 kids that I met while traveling on vacation. That simple One for One model that I founded TOMS on was nothing more than an idea, a project, a what if? I didn't know anything about shoes, or fashion or philanthropic giving. All I had was a feeling that this is something I must do.

But that simple idea attracted some curious customers, great retail partners, and some very very talented people who all together have helped me transform my idea into not only a company, but a movement, and because of that, one million pairs of shoes have been given and a new way of thinking about business has emerged. And through it all, I have been blessed with a new family, my TOMS family, that I now get to share so much love and joy with.

The trip has inspired me in new and unexpected ways. Every night we sat around the campfire and shared not only our thoughts from the day, but also from the past four years. Hearing how this journey has affected everyone from my first intern and employee, Jonathan, to our AT&T and Gowalla contest winners made me realize that TOMS is about much more than placing shoes on kids' feet. TOMS is about a mindset, a gateway into a new type of thinking, and as my friends from AT&T say, it's the opportunity to "rethink possible" - which is what I hope my words and observations will inspire you to do. So, starting today, I am going to re-commit myself to sharing this amazing journey we're on through this blog. I hope that you will join me.... and share your comments, questions and love.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these pics just about say it all...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Waiting for "Superman"

I had the pleasure of meeting Davis a couple years ago, and we've been good friends ever since. Not only is he a smart and progressive individual, we share a lot of the same ideas about doing good in this world. Davis is really talented at communicating information and inspiring action through film making, and his most recent documentary is no different. Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary about the flawed education system in the United States. The truths in the film are eye-opening, and the emotions are really powerful. I saw it once... saw it again... and then sent all of TOMS HQ to go watch it together a couple weeks ago.

Congrats to Davis and his team for releasing a documentary that will educate so many people.