'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Saturday, November 7, 2009

good for the sole...

...TOMS shoes!

This is a company I have become pretty passionate about as of late. With a core focus on philanthropic entrepreneurialism, owner Blake Mycoskie started the Shoes for Tomorrow project back in 2006 after a visit to Argentina, where he was befriended many children who didn't have shoes to protect their feet. A good number of these children were contracting diseases from different bacterias in the soil through the wounds in their feet. Blake's vision for the company consisted of a one-to-one giving model...for every pair of shoes purchased, one was given to a child in need around the world. Simple, but brilliant. I see this as a creative effort in tackling a big problem and I think that philanthropic entrepreneurialism is the hardest and most inspiring kind of entrepreneurialism.

I've always both appreciated and made an effort to practice social responsibility in my professional life, looking up to former CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson (supporting ECPAT and various sustainable tourism initiatives) as a businesswoman with more than just the bottom line on her mind. When I ventured to Prague to tackle this new and exciting opportunity with hybrid hostel/hotels Sir Toby's (sirtobys.com), Miss Sophie's (miss-sophies.com), Czech Inn (czech-inn.com) and Mosaic House (mosaichouse.com - opening in 2010), I packed up this appreciation and carried it with me.

Now I get the chance to put this appreciation into practice, with a social responsbility initiative my team is introducing to all of our properties. Not only will we be supporting a human trafficking prevention organization in the Czech Republic, La Strada (human trafficking for both sex and labour reasons is a very real and sad problem across central and eastern europe), but we're also becoming an official TOMS shoes retailer at all of our properties. Made by a traveler, these shoes are perfect for travelers...and we're hoping they can also take pride in literally walking in the shoes of impoverished children around the world, making a difference, embracing the TOMS vision, and sharing it with fellow travelers.

You see, Blake's vision fits our vision perfectly, because in the end it is all about sharing and experiencing. Our vision is to give travelers a unique place to play, stay and share...a space that would enhance their travel experience.

I recently came across this quote by Spanish poet Antonio Machado, "Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking". We're all wanderers in life. I wander the alleys in Prague and cities all across Europe. As I've wandered, my TOMS have helped me create a path...a literal (walking) path as well as a path for sharing.

Follow me and my TOMS as we travel around Europe!
TOMS in Trafalger Square, London, England

TOMS in Cesky Krumlov(e), Czech Republic

TOMS at Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

...stay tuned for next week when we travel to Zurich, Switzerland and Laax for glacier boarding!

We hope our guests and friends will take a bit of the TOMS story and share it with wanderers from around the world. As I often say, sharing is caring.

Take a peak at the video below, for more information.

and another...

If you leave this blog post with at least a bit more of a perspective on social responsbility in the corporate realm, I'd be smiley as ever. As they say in the video, "...anybody who is starting a small company...everybody who has an idea...incorporate giving in what you do."

Happy sharing and (even happier) caring,



  1. Megs - this is great. I didn't get a chance to read this whole post thoroughly so I shall return for a better read, but I love TOMS ... dream job and dram man ;) Bridget just got me a pair as a gift but mine will have to stick with Midwestern adventures for now! I promise I'll have something better to say when I have more time to read :) Take Care!

  2. Thanks, Sha! We're super-excited to be working with TOMS, and we're hoping to (potentially) get Blake over here next year for the opening party...we'll see :). If we did, you'd have to come!

    Merry (early) Christmas!




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