So you want to be a shoe designer. Take some cues from this babe. From building Jimmy Choo into an extraordinary luxury shoe celebrity brand success story, to bankruptcy in 2015, to resurfacing in January 2017 with $12 million and a newly revamped shoe biz model poised for victory, Tamara Mellon is a WINNER.
“Tamara’s expertise in luxury shoes, vision for the brand combined with NEA’s (venture capital investors) long track record of partnering with entrepreneurs building market-leading businesses is exciting,” says her new co-founder-CEO, Jill Layfield.
For now her shoes are only available on TamaraMellon.com, and she plans to open her own store soon. By cutting out traditional retailers, she also subtracts department store mark-ups so prices for her Rebel pumps are $350, and Choo’s $595.
The goal is to meet consumers’ desire for newness and immediacy with monthly style changes so customers shopping online, get their shoes fast so they can be worn the same week. Compared to watching fashion shows online in February, and waiting until August to buy in stores, this formula is a no brainer.
So back up.
Entrepreneurship: How To Make Tons of Money
From 1990-95, Tamara cut her teeth as Tamara Yeardye, British Vogues’ socialite fashion accessories editor, covering mostly Manolo Blahnik. When ready with the right talented partners: bespoke cobbler Jimmy Choo, and designer niece, Sandra Choi; Tamara’s father Tom (co-founder of Vidal Sassoon), loaned Tamara the money in 1996 and she, with partners, launched Jimmy Choo.
Choo left the company by 2001, but the girls got expansion funding from private equity investors — Tamara later felt exploited by them. In a recent Forbes Magazine interview she advises young entrepreneurs: “Be very careful who your partners are. Make sure you have a team that understands your vision and believes in it. You need resilience and perseverance and you need not to give up.”
After 15 years as chief creative officer at JC, she started her own revolutionary venture in 2013. It bombed. Now she is back. And did we forget to say she also lives with mogul founder of entertainment and sports agency CAA, Mike Ovitz? Go Tamara Go!
Available at amazon.com. Click on titles for more information,
In My Shoes: A Memoir
The Jimmy Choo Story: Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe
by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen
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