“A leader can create a company, but a community creates a movement.”
Blake Mycoskie – Toms Shoes
One of the gifts that I received for Christmas this year was the book Start Something That Matters. The book is an autobiography of Blake Mycoskie, the entrepreneur that started Toms shoes. It is essentially his story about starting Toms shoes, the inspiration, the community need and the new way he has decided to do business.
If you don’t know about Toms it’s a shoe company that’s building its reputation through its One to One program. Every time you buy a pair of Toms shoes they give away a pair to a child in need. The book is an uplifting story but more importantly Blake guides you through examples he’s experienced and from some select other businesses. All of the examples discuss doing good, harnessing your passion and commitment to community yet still turning a profit. Blake is pushing the bounds on a new style of capitalism where the bottom line is about what you can do for those around you not just yourself. It’s through his passion, commitment to community and amazing story that he has created one of the fastest growing shoe companies and gave back to the place that launched his business.
For me it’s an amazing example of how to rethink what is important. When we started brewing beer we decided that sharing it and creating a community was just as important to us as the beer. Yet it wasn’t until our last tap party that we started to think about how this new community that we are fostering could also be used to promote good. At the last party we invited everyone to contribute to a fund for our local food pantry and raised $200 in one evening. As I read the book I kept kicking new ideas to Eryn about how our hypothetical business would follow Blake’s advice and we even developed our own One to One concept.
If you are thinking about starting a business, like a brewery, take the time to read this book. It will make you even more passionate to take that next step but also to think about how through your new business you might be able to affect positive change. And if you are as lucky as Blake that positive change will bring customers flocking. I can’t wait for the day that Eryn and I will get to institute our One to One idea.