When Blake Mycoskie was on a visit to Argentina in 2006, a bright idea struck him. He was wearing alpargatas—resilient, lightweight, canvas slip-ons—shoes typically worn by Argentinian farmworkers, during his visit to poor villages where many of the residents had no shoes at all. He formulated the plan to start a shoe company and give away a pair of shoes to some needy child or person for every shoe the company sold. This became the basic mission of his company. Initially, Blake had to self-finance his company. He decided to name his company “Toms: Shoes for Tomorrow.” Blake is from Texas, and he liked to read books about such business success stories as those of Ted Turner, Richard Branson, and Sam Walton. He appends the following message to his e-mails: “Disclaimer: you will not win the rat race wearing Toms.” In the summer of 2006, he unveiled his first collection of Toms shoes. By fall, the company had sold 10,000 pairs and he was off to the Argentinian countryside, along with several volunteers, to give away 10,000 pairs of shoes. In an article in Time, Blake was quoted as saying, “I always thought I’d spend the first half of my life making money and the second half giving it away. I never thought I could do both at the same time.” By February 2007, Blake’s company had orders from 300 stores for 41,000 of his spring and summer collection of shoes, and he had big plans to go international by entering markets in Japan, Australia, Canada, France, and Spain in the summer of 2008. In 2012, the company also launched its Toms Eyewear line and adopted a program called “One for One,” in which “with every pair you purchase, Toms will give sight to a person in need. One for One.” By 2015, Toms had given away 50 million shoes. Also, Blake in 2015 announced a new fund to help support social good startup companies. 1. How would you assess Toms’ CSR using the four part CSR definition? Is the company based on the typical business case for CSR or more of an ethical or philanthropic model?
- Is Blake Mycoskie a social entrepreneur, intraprenuer, or mainstream adopter? Is his company a social enterprise? Explain.