Despite being one of the most successful women in the fashion industry, Tamara Mellon still faces sexist behaviour in the boardroom. She said that some businessmen fail to treat her with respect because of her gender. Which is the height of condescendation considering she sold Jimmy Choo for $850 in 2011.
“Even after selling Jimmy Choo for $850 million, I was still being spoken to as, ‘Well, dear, to run a business you have to do this,’ ” she said, of a meeting that took place recently enough.
Mellon gave the interview to Avenue Magazine, whose tagline ‘Affluence Meets Influence’ is probably the best we’ve come across in recent memory. It’s a pretty fascinating portrait of a woman who has defined the meaning of career chameleon. Mellon started her career in PR, going on to spend time at Vogue as accessories editor where she met Choo, before checking into rehab and starting her own business with the designer thanks to a loan from her father. Since selling her stake in Choo she has established her own label, which is worn by Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift on occasion.
When she describes the break-up of her time with Jimmy Choo you can sense the exhaustion she went through with the private equity partners, who had no interest in craftsmanship. “(T)hey were solely focused on profits where they were squeezing everything, squeezing the blood out of the stone,: she told Avenue. “They burn your team out, they underpay you, they ask you to lower the quality of the leather you’re purchasing to increase the margins.” Mellon said that the entire process taught her one lesson at least: “Just to be able to speak up. And move swifter on decisions… as a young woman, you don’t know to use your voice. What a woman does is work herself to death and hope someone notices. Rather than speak up. Today I’m much more vocal.”
Tamara Mellon is in the news a lot of late in relation to her business. In recent days it emerged that she’s at war with Jimmy Choo’s company, alleging her former firm is sabotaging her access to artisan shoemakers in Florence.
Read more in Avenue magazine.