Patrick Byrne and Blake Mycoskie are two men who both started for profit companies, yet acknowledging their duty of giving back to their community. Both ideas came to their founders while travelling abroad, after seeing some of this globe's poorest people. Each had an inner voice driving them to make social responsible decisions to help. It is refreshing to see that there are still individuals out there who believe they can run successful profitable businesses and still feel it is their duty to help their fellow man.
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, founded by Patrick Byrne in 1999, is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Currently, it is one of the largest on-line retailers. It has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. In 1999, revenue was at $1.8 million. For 2008, the company saw revenue over $800 million.
While OVERSTOCK.COM has grown tremendously, it has recognized its duty to be a good social responsible corporate citizen. Byrne a frequent traveler of Southeast Asia appreciated the first class work of local indigent artisans. These products were of very high quality and beauty and being produced in some of the world's poorest regions. He knew their was a large market waiting in the United States for these items. But, he realized the craftsman were very limited in means of getting their product out to be seen and sold. In 2001, Byrne created , a division of OVERSTOCK.COM, to allow these local artisans a means to sells their wares.
WORLDSTOCK seeks items worldwide created by local craftsman; focusing on items that are environmentally sound and do not burn up natural or human resources. It offers these goods for sale through their Internet site. The goal of WORLDSTOCK is not to make a profit, but to create thousands of jobs in these poor regions. It allows these people a chance to become economically sustainability. Another major priority of WORLDSTOCK, is to sustain the cultural environment, by keeping the artisans in their traditional settings and practices while creating their product.
Currently on WORLDSTOCK, there are thousands of handmade items, from jewelry to household goods, ranging from countries such as Afghanistan, Columbia and Vietnam. In April 2008, it was confirmed that over $30 million has been returned to the local impoverished artisans since 2001.
, headquartered out of Santa Monica, California founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, under the business model commitment of "One for One". For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS Shoes will donate a pair to a needy child.
In 2006, Mycoskie while visiting Argentina noticed the feet of the barefooted children. He discovered that many of the children's feet were becoming damaged and diseased because they never owned a pair of shoes. He realized what a tragedy this was. Walking in under developed countries is the primary and sometimes only mode of transportation. Being barefooted, limited these individuals even more.
He came back to the United States and with $500 began TOMS Shoes. With his uniquely designed loafer type shoe, he sold 10,000 the first year. In October 2006, he went back to Argentina and gave away - as he promised to do - 10,000 pair of shoes to needy children. These giveaways became to be known as TOMS Shoes Drop Tours. The numerous Shoe Drops, over fifteen for 2009, consists of volunteers going to the site and personally fitting the child with their individual pair of shoes. The volunteers pay their own expenses - ranging from $350 to $3300 - for the rewarding emotional fulfillment of seeing these kids put on their first pair of shoes.
As of April 2009, TOMS Shoes has given over 150,000 pair of shoes to children in Argentina, Ethiopia, South Africa and the United States. They are planning to donate over 300,000 pair by the end of 2009.
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