This story from Church of the Customer moved me deeply. Its about a small time upcoming shoe making company called TOMS Shoes. It was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006, a former contestant of "The Amazing Race" who got inspired by low-cost Alpargatas (espadrille-type shoes) during a trip to Argentina. His vision was to bring those shoes to US and give it a fashion makeover.
But something else also happend simultaneously. He decided to give a pair of shoes to those shoeless children in third-world countries for every pair sold in US. By far, he has sold about 2,00,000 shoes and donated equal number too. He also went ahead and struck a deal with Fashion Label Icon Ralph Lauren & retailers like Whole Foods too.
(Church of the Customer quotes) TOMS Shoes has buzz for a variety of reasons, which include:
- An uncommon product amidst of sea of commonality.
- A simple, yet inspiring story that's easy to tell and therefore spread.
- An accessible and well-spoken leader who'll tell the story to anyone who'll listen.
- A strong culture of participation among employees and customers that's ingrained into the DNA of the company.
Apart from all these there another dimension on which I started writing this post. Thinking about what sells in the marketplace; is it Blake Mycoskie's Entrepreneurial spirits or something which is deeper than that? I always believed that conviction of the entreprenuer is very important but not more than the CAUSE for which you are competing in the marketplace, which is much higher than your vision. Your cause shows you care; not only about profitability but the core entity of any business model i.e. Customers.
N.B. What do you think? Without Cause can a business model survive the test of time or it is just a by-product of Vision?