I once coveted the luxury shoe brand, Jimmy Choo. Not anymore. Rather, I am completely enamoured by its rightful founder, Tamara Mellon and her story. In two words, her autobiography ‘In My Shoes’ is a ‘compelling read’.
A fair assessment of Mellon’s life up until now is that it has been equally tumultuous, as it has sensational. Mellon is an inspiring creative, but with an astute business acumen learned from her mentor and father, Tom Yeardye. Her young daughter, Araminta (or ‘Minty’ as Mellon affectionately calls her) is, in part, her raison d'être, whilst Mellon’s mother has proven her most formidable adversary.
Fighting a number of deeply personal and professional battles – including with large and influential private equity firms – Mellon kept a firm grip on the creative helm of Jimmy Choo for a not insignificant 15 years. Through it all, she managed to retain, even if only just, her sanity. The candidness with which she embraces and reflects on her actions in her life saga is admirable.
Melon was the essence of the Jimmy Choo brand. She gave it soul. Subsequent to her departure, it has become just another corporate vessel led by men and ruled by money.
After reading Mellon’s story my desire to own and wear Jimmy Choo has considerably waned. To me, the company is like the tinman before the Wizard intervened – it is missing its heart.
Mellon’s captivating narrative speaks of wounds that run deep, but so does her resilience and determination to flourish (she became the Prime Minister for Britain’s Trade Envoy, was awarded with an Order of the British Empire, sits on the board of directors for cosmetic brand Revlon and has gone on to found her own luxury fashion brand).
I admit that prior to reading her book, I knew little about Mellon or her life. Since devouring it, I consider her a role model.
‘In My Shoes’ is a must read for any woman with a passion for creativity, a strong sense of justice and a craving for the taste of entrepreneurialism (dare I say, a woman like me?).
Her book ends with this quote:
“If I have a bit of equanimity now, and if I’m better at standing my ground, it’s only because I fought my way through the rites of passage until the monsters that tormented me were slain. It may have seemed that now and then I needed a rescuer, but over time, I learned to rescue myself.”
Indeed, a wise lesson for us all.
‘In My Shoes’ is available to purchase at The Book Depository. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
- Michelle, NSS Editor xx