Sunday May 13

The beginning of TOMS shoes (Chapter Two)


Mycoskie grew up in a middle class family in Texas but he was clearly a driven individual.

He was an exceptional tennis player through high school and got a partial scholarship to college until an injury ended his career. Instead of continuing in school, however, he dropped out and started a dry cleaning service for students. The company grew quickly. As soon as he sold his interest, he started another company, an outdoor billboard business which promoted country music, and got sold to Clear Channel nine months after launch.

Looking for some fun, Mycoskie and his sister auditioned for the reality TV show Survivor next. They didn’t make the cut, but they did hear about a new show, the Amazing Race, which sent couples on a race around the world. On the show’s second season, Mycoskie and his sister missed the million dollar prize by just four minutes.

Moving to Los Angeles, Mycoskie started a cable company focused on reality TV. The idea was great but the business got squashed by Fox. Mycoskie started two more companies in quick succession before taking his fateful vacation in 2006.

The decision to visit Argentina came directly out of his experience during the Amazing Race. During that show, racing around the world, Mycoskie and his sister had barely seen the country. This time he would slow down. In one of those chance encounters that can happen when you have more time and less of a schedule, Mycoskie met some people from a volunteer group giving shoes to people in need….