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Blake Mycoskie Visits Eastern

DSC_4014.jpgOn April 12, more than 400 students heard Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, close out Eastern Connecticut State University's 2010-11 Arts and Lecture Series in the Betty R. Tipton Room.

Marlana Carroll, a senior psychology major from Middlebury, introduced Mycoskie, whose presentation began with a short video highlighting the mission of TOMS Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to children in need for each pair the company sells. Mycoskie told his audience that he first thought of the idea for his company while vacationing in Argentina and meeting volunteers who had collected slightly used shoes to give to children in a village outside of Buenos Aires. He experienced a great sense of joy when he was on his hands and knees putting shoes on children's feet. However, when he told a friend about his experience, his friend asked, "Did you think about these children's next pair of shoes?"

"My joy was challenged because I did not know the answer to that question," said Mycoskie. "However, when I woke up the next morning, I had come up with a solution. I kept thinking about traditional charity models, but I realized that they had the same problem. They didn't answer who was going to give these kids their next pair of shoes. So, I came up with the One-for-One model for a for-profit company, so that each time the company sells a pair of shoes, it donates a pair to a child in need."

DSC_3980.jpgMycoskie explained the quick success of TOMS, a company that started in a garage in Argentina and Mycoskie's studio apartment in California and then grew to a company featured in "Vogue" whose products now grace the shelves at Nordstroms. Some key aspects of his company that he learned include the fact that "giving feels good, but it's also good for business. There's nothing wrong with that because I truly believe that responsible business could help solve many of the world's problems today." On behalf of Eastern, Carroll presented Mycoskie with an Eastern sweatshirt as a gift.

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