TOMS Shoes Founder to Speak in Town

Topic Is ‘Conscious Capitalism’

One of the more unusual businesspeople from Southern California is coming to the South Coast to talk about his version of capitalism.

Blake Mycoskie, founder and “chief shoe giver” of TOMS Shoes Inc., is scheduled to speak about Conscious Capitalism and the Future of Business at 4 p.m. on October 1 at the Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.

Tickets are $25 for the general public. In keeping with TOMS’s spirit of “One for One,” UCSB Arts & Lectures, which is sponsoring Mycoskie’s appearance, will match tickets purchased with free tickets for all students with valid student identification while seats are available.

For the past three years, dressed & ready, a Coast Village Road retailer, has hosted its annual Style Your Sole event to help TOMS Shoes donate shoes to needy children. The fourth annual fundraiser at dressed & ready, 1253 Coast Village Road, is tentatively planned for the first week in October.

During his speech, Mycoskie, 34, plans to discuss how to succeed in an era of tough competition and heightened social awareness. He will talk about why his seemingly counterintuitive ideas are proving to be successful strategies.

Since its founding five years ago, Mycoskie’s Santa Monica-based company has given away more than 1 million new shoes to children around the world. TOMS’s slip-on alpargatas, or Argentinian-style canvas shoes, have appealed to many consumers.

TOMS recently introduced its second product — eyewear — to help people with their vision needs.

Mycoskie started four businesses after graduating from college, including a media company and an online driving school. A trip to Argentina in 2006 changed his life forever, where he said he was stunned by the numbers of children whose families were too poor to buy shoes to protect their feet.

“I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie says on his Web site. “And I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.”

Mycoskie won the Award for Corporate Excellence from the U.S. State Department in 2009. He’s been featured in a national ad campaign for AT&T and was cited in a 2008 TIME magazine article by Bill Gates on how to fix capitalism.

Mycoskie’s talk launches UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Word of Mouth series. Tickets are $60 for the complete three-part series, which features former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, on Making Human Rights the Compass for All Ethical Globalization October 21 at Campbell Hall, and U.S. News & World Report editor-at-large and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen on The 2012 Elections — Issues and Answers November 30 at the same location.

For tickets and information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or visit For Mycoskie’s speech, tickets can be purchased through the Arlington box office: (805) 963-4408 or Ticketmaster.

For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoes Story, a short documentary about TOMS Shoes Inc., will be screened continuously starting at 6 p.m. on September 1 at Santa Barbara Outfitters, 1200 State Street, as part of 1st Thursday downtown arts and culture events.

The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of the latest business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at and

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