This holiday season has some folks rethinking their habits. Instead of giving gifts, people are donating to charities in the name of friends and family. Others are giving gifts that are environmentally conscious. (Think experiences rather than things.) All of these practices dial back to one notion—that we’re increasingly considering how our purchases affect people and the planet. And that brings us to the story of TOMS.
Founder Blake Mycoskie has created a blueprint for business where people and the planet are prioritized alongside profit. For every pair of TOMS Shoes purchased, the Jackson resident gives a pair away. His “one-for-one” model has changed what it means to run a business in an age of extraordinary wealth and poverty. And we should note his business, which he started with one buddy on a farm, is now valued at $400 million dollars.
Mycoskie is always evolving. TOMS is now also teaching folks “how to fish.” The company is carving sustainable paths for people in poverty, creating jobs in developing countries. Mycoskie also doesn’t shy away from difficult issues in his own backyard. That means standing up for contentious causes and pouring time and massive amounts of money into those efforts.
Mycoskie told KHOL what it means to be a conscious capitalist and why he is willing to take a stand and risk alienating his customers for causes he believes in.
A version of this story appears in the 2019/20 print edition of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine.