Toms’ Blake Mycoskie on the Mistake Too Many Entrepreneurs Make

Convincing a large a retailer to sell your product is a great achievement for many entrepreneurs, but it can also wind up hurting your business in the long run.

As Toms founder Blake Mycoskie explained in a recent interview with Inc., many entrepreneurs don’t realize there are times when they should be picky about choosing the retailers they partner with.

“They’re so eager to get into one of these big retailers that they basically will do anything and agree to any terms, even if it’s not sustainable in the long term,” he says. “You’ve got to have an honest conversation with yourself about what type of margin you need to build a successful business.”

Because Toms gives away a pair of shoes for every pair the company sells, the business has unique margin requirements that not every retailer can agree to.

“If they’re not willing to play at that level, then I’m not going to go in there in the first place, because all I’m doing is kicking a problem down the field,” he says. “We’re willing to not sell in places because we’ve been very strict with terms, and that’s allowed us to have a sustainable business and a brand that’s going to be around for a very long time.”

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