Blake Mycoskie, the name behind TOMS Shoes, explains in an interview for CNN Profiles what made him create the company, and some interesting facts behind it.
The one I found most interesting has nothing to do with this business in particular, but to something that seems to play a part in every successful start-up: the revelation. While staying at Argentina, in vacation, Blake noticed the number of children who were too poor to afford shoes, and this was what made him start TOMS, with the idea of giving away a pair to those in need for every pair sold.
This turned out to be a brilliant idea, because it generated a huge amount of free publicity for the company – everyone was talking about them. Lots of companies try to use charity to promote their brand, but this was a radically new approach – giving was the whole idea (at least in the official story) that motivated the creation of the company. And this sold very well with the public.
There are other interesting bits, like the challenges of running a company consisting of basically one person, or the mental state regarding risks and fear needed to succeed, or even the feeling of unimportance (when you think that your project will not really make a difference in the grand scale of things). But for me what stands out is the idea that, after having one idea that you believe in, you really have to push that forward, never giving up, until you turn that idea into something real.