Fun fact: Between business ventures, Mycoskie competed in the CBS primetime show, "The Amazing Race" with his sister, and came within four minutes of winning the $1M grand prize.
It was during his globe trekking adventures, in Argentina, that he first stumbled across the idea for his next venture, a farmers shoe called the alpargata. He figured the American fashion market would clamor for this sturdy, yet simple shoe.
While developing the brand and securing his manufacturing partners he had the revelation of a business concept he calls "One for One" - for every pair of shoes purchased, a new pair would be donated to a child in need around the world.
And so with less than $5,000 startup money, and a small Venice, California apartment turned office, he sourced and sold 10,000 pair of shoes, and gave away an equal amount, over the course of just one summer.
Fast forward to the present, TOMS has over 185 fulltime employees and sells shoes in more than 20 countries worldwide, through retail channels including Nordstrom's , Neiman Marcus, Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters . To date, he's given away two million pairs of shoes, and sold countless millions more. TOMS recently expanded into eyewear, sold under the same One For One principle, and Mycoskie tells CNBC he plans to branch out into other products as well.
His new book "Start Something That Matters" (Spiegel & Grau, September 6, 2011) says "Conscious Capitalism" is not just good for society, its good for business, good for customers.
"Giving builds loyal customers and turns those customers into supporters...You can find passion and profit and meaning all at once, right now. " Most people yearn to contribute, make the world a better place and have success....all at the same time...Make sure to give your business a background, a mission and a story. That might be the most important step part of any venture. And remember, giving may be the best investment you ever make."