Recognizing his ongoing commitment, Richard Branson recently asked Blake to join The B Team, a group of worldwide leaders which seeks to catalyze a movement of corporate executives who embrace a better way of doing business, both for the wellbeing of people and the planet. The youngest member of the B Team, Blake joins a group that currently includes Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus, among others.
TOMS' humble beginnings happened unintentionally. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution was simple yet revolutionary – create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake's vision soon evolved into the One for One business model, providing the powerful foundation for TOMS.
Over the course of its first five years, TOMS provided millions of new shoes to children through humanitarian organizations, donating different kinds of shoes appropriate for each community. But Blake recognized other vital needs and saw that One for One could be applied to more than shoes. In 2011 he launched TOMS Eyewear to help restore sight to those in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames. In 2014 Blake launched TOMS Roasting Co., a direct trade, premium coffee line which helps provide clean water to developing countries and communities in need. In early 2015 came the TOMS Bag Collection, focused on safe births for mothers and babies through skilled birth attendant training and birth kits.
To date, TOMS has given over 45 million pairs of new shoes to children in need. TOMS Eyewear has helped restore sight to over 325,000 people in need, and TOMS Roasting Co. has helped provide over 175,000 weeks of safe water to communities in need. As important as these gratis products and services, TOMS is committed to creating jobs through shoe production in developing countries around the world. It recently exceeded its goal of producing at least one-third of its giving shoes in the regions in which it gives, which currently span Asia/India, Africa, South America and Haiti.
In 2013, Blake recognized that the One for One movement had become bigger than TOMS and launched The Marketplace. Bringing dozens of socially conscious brands together on TOMS.com, The Marketplace offers both a platform for these companies to succeed as well as a destination for consumers to shop and give their purchases a broader purpose.
Blake's 2011 book, Start Something That Matters, quickly became a New York Times best-seller. Detailing his personal story, the book serves as a call to action for others to incorporate giving into business and turn their own passion and dreams into reality.
Blake's trailblazing approach to business earned him and TOMS the Secretary of State's Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). He was also named on Fortune's "40 under 40" list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.