Thursday, July 3, 2014

Everything that twinkles like a Jimmy Choo, may not necessarily be a good fit for You

I lost my Choo!
~Carrie Bradshaw

That's the infamous line from a 1998 episode of HBO's, Sex and the City that according to Tamara Mellon, helped the visibility of Jimmy Choo to skyrocket. It is also a statement that I may never have the privilege of blurting out let alone while running for the Staten Island Ferry as writer and fashionista, Carrie Bradshaw did in that particular episode. But after reading Tamara Mellon's memoir, In Her Shoes, where she opens up about the trials and tribulations she endured in her personal life and behind-the-scenes at Jimmy Choo during her tenure as their Creative Director; I'm a little less eager about when I'll finally get to utter the words..."I own a pair of Jimmy Choos."

Tamara Mellon is the co-founder of the luxury shoe and accessories brand, Jimmy Choo and now the author of her very own memoir too. Before I had ever purchased her book, I naively assumed that Jimmy Choo was founded, named after, and designed by a very fashion-forward man who happen to have nice taste in women's footwear. Makes sense right? Well, although my assumption wasn't completely wrong, it still wasn't right (and also a sign that I'm still not quite ready to navigate anything outside the department store shoe racks yet *Kanye shrug*). Jimmy Choo was indeed co-founded by a man named Jimmy Choo who worked as a cobbler making couture shoes for the women of London; but here's the kicker, he never actually designed the shoes that women all over the world have grown to love and adore, despite the fact that his name is on them. Turns out, Jimmy wasn't very interested in making his own choo, at least not with Tamara Mellon. A realization that she had not long after partnering with this Malaysian cobbler:
This is when it dawned on me that Jimmy was a cobbler, and he really had no interest in becoming a designer. I had set up a business with a "creative head" who, in fact, had no creativity.
Besides Mellon's light bulb moment about just how involved her co-founder planned to be in making her dream of creating a luxury shoe line a reality, she also dishes on all of the mess she had to put up with from investors. Unlike Sophia Amoruso, Mellon needed the help of investors to get Jimmy Choo off the sketch pads and onto the feet of women around the globe. Unfortunately, this meant having to cater to their thoughts and opinions about the company as well, which only further complicated her already crazy life.

Mellon's willingness to be so open is the #1 reason why I enjoyed reading her memoir so much. It takes guts to be that honest about all of the things that were going wrong in the background at a fashion powerhouse like Jimmy Choo, despite appearing so glamorous to the outside world. I mean don't get me wrong, it's not like she spends 271 pages bragging about how hard she worked to build Jimmy Choo into the empire it is today; while simultaneously playing victim to the ruthlessness of  big business. No, instead she points out her own faults and the poor decisions she made along the way and how those decisions ultimately affected her position and feelings about the company she co-founded in 1996. And as far as I'm concerned, that alone makes her worth of the title, #GIRLBOSS. 

Should you Open or Close this book? Open it. Tamara Mellon's experiences at Jimmy Choo can help prevent new and veteran entrepreneurs from making the same mistakes that she did while she was with Jimmy Choo.
Would I read another book by this author? Sure though I can't imagine what else she could possibly write about.
What will I read next? My Education by Susan Choi. I know I said this in my last post but I would've never forgiven myself if I hadn't taken the time to write a review about In My Shoes. Trust me, it's worth opening!


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