Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

TOMS goes to the "Thrift Shop" in company video

June 4, 2013: 11:07 AM ET

Do your employees have this much fun?

"Storytelling is the new marketing," Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS told Fortune a few years ago.

Mycoskie's story is that on a trip to Argentina in 2006, he saw lots of kids without shoes and decided to start a new kind of sustainable company: For every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, it donates a pair to a child in need.

That clever marketing earned Mycoskie, now 36, a spot on Fortune's 40 Under 40 list and a unique brand image. But the inner workings of TOMS' collaborative culture is less understood.

Here's a glimpse--taking you inside the TOMS annual "family trip" at California's Mammoth Mountain. Each year, employees split up by department, forge teams and compete in a creative costume contest. This year's assigned theme was music. So one team dressed up to create a human piano. Three teams performed versions of the Harlem Shake. Team BMLP--Blake Mycoskie and Laurent Potdevin, TOMS' president, partnering with folks in finance and facilities--poured their competitive juice into making a spoof of the "Thrift Shop" video that has amassed 330 million views on YouTube.

Blake and his crew won. Their video shows what the 440 employees of TOMS are really about: fun. By the way, Mycoskie is the bearded guy with the top hat.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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