Blake Mycoskie is a renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author with a net worth of $300 million. As the founder of Toms, a Los Angeles-based company, Blake has made a significant impact in the business world. In this article, we will explore his early life, education, career, and the remarkable success he has achieved. Additionally, we will delve into his philanthropic endeavors and personal life.
Early Life and Education
Born on August 26, 1976, in Arlington, Texas, Blake Mycoskie is the son of author Pam and orthopedic surgeon Mike Mycoskie. He attended Arlington Martin High School and later graduated from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin in 1995. Continuing his education, Mycoskie pursued a partial tennis scholarship at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he studied business and philosophy. Unfortunately, a debilitating Achilles tendon injury prematurely ended his tennis career. Determined to pursue entrepreneurship, Mycoskie left SMU and founded his first business, EZ Laundry, which provided dry cleaning services to the university. Eventually, he sold the business in 1999.
Career Beginnings and “The Amazing Race”
After selling EZ Laundry, Mycoskie moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he established Mycoskie Media, a successful billboard company focused on marketing country music. The company gained profitability within a short period and was acquired by Clear Channel less than a year later.
In 2001, Blake and his sister Paige initially applied to compete on the reality television show “Survivor.” However, they were informed about another new show called “The Amazing Race.” Intrigued by the opportunity, they joined the second season of “The Amazing Race” in 2002 and finished in third place. Following the show, Mycoskie relocated to Los Angeles to pursue new ventures.
First Los Angeles Companies and Toms
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Mycoskie partnered with E! Entertainment Television founder Larry Namer to co-found Reality Central, a cable network that aired original reality programming. Despite moderate success, the network folded in 2005. Undeterred, Mycoskie collaborated with the founders of TrafficSchool.com to launch DriversEdDirect, an online driver’s education program with a focus on behind-the-wheel training. To market the service, he founded Closer Marketing Group, specializing in viral marketing and brand development.
In 2006, while on a trip to Argentina, Mycoskie encountered a volunteer organization providing shoes to underprivileged children. Deeply moved by their work, he founded Shoes for Better Tomorrows, which later became known as Toms. The company adopted the “one for one” model, where for each pair of shoes sold, another pair is donated to a child in need. Toms expanded its offerings to include eyeglasses in 2011, and every purchase of sunglasses resulted in the donation of prescription glasses or ocular medical treatment to those in need. Over the years, Toms has extended its product line to include coffee, handbags, and apparel.
Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship
Blake Mycoskie’s commitment to philanthropy and social entrepreneurship has been a driving force throughout his career. Through Toms, he pioneered the “one for one” model, creating a sustainable business that gives back to communities in need. In 2014, Mycoskie sold 50% of Toms to Bain Capital and used a portion of the profits to establish a fund supporting social entrepreneurship and other charitable causes.
Beyond Toms, Mycoskie authored the book “Start Something That Matters” in 2011. Drawing from his experiences, the book explores the merits of social entrepreneurship and the “one to one” business model. For each copy sold, Mycoskie donated a children’s book to underprivileged children and allocated the royalties to grants for budding entrepreneurs. “Start Something That Matters” became a New York Times bestseller in the business and advice categories.
In early 2020, Mycoskie collaborated with Pat Dossett to create Madefor, a subscription wellness program that helps individuals cultivate positive lifestyle changes through monthly hands-on kits.
Personal Life and Hobbies
In 2012, Blake Mycoskie married Heather Lang, and they have two children together named Summit and Charlie. He is also a financial benefactor to a young Ethiopian boy named Wubetu Shimelash.
Outside of his professional endeavors, Mycoskie enjoys various outdoor activities, including surfing, golfing, fly fishing, rock climbing, and playing polo. He is an investor at Urban Golf Performance.
Blake Mycoskie’s entrepreneurial spirit, philanthropy, and dedication to social entrepreneurship have made a lasting impact. With a net worth of $300 million, he has demonstrated that businesses can thrive while making a positive difference in the world. Through Toms and other ventures, Mycoskie has transformed lives, one pair of shoes, glasses, or cup of coffee at a time. As he continues to champion social causes and inspire others, Blake Mycoskie’s influence in both the business and philanthropic realms remains remarkable.