A candid business narrative and memoir from the founder of Jimmy Choo.
Tamara Mellon made a fortune building Jimmy Choo into a billion-dollar fashion brand. She became the prime minister's trade envoy and was honored by the Queen with the Order of the British Empire - yet it's her personal glamour that keeps her an object of global media fascination. Vogue photographed her wedding; Vanity Fair covered her divorce and the criminal trial that followed. Harper's Bazaar toured her London town house and her New York mansion, right down to the closets. And the Wall Street Journal hinted at the real red meat: the three private equity deals, the relentless battle between "the suits" and "the creatives", and Mellon's triumph against a brutally hostile takeover attempt.
In this candid memoir she shares the whole larger-than-life story, with genuinely shocking insider detail that has never been presented anywhere. From her troubled childhood to her time as a young editor at Vogue to her partnership with cobbler Jimmy Choo to her very public relationships, Mellon offers a gripping account of the episodes that have made her who she is today.
The result is a must listen for entrepreneurs, fashionistas, and anyone who loves a juicy true story about sex, drugs, money, power, high heels, and overcoming adversity.
©2013 Tamara Mellon and William Patrick (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I felt good at the end, but I wanted pictures.
This is the story of Tamara’s rise to fame (in the fashion world) and wealth. In much of the book I’m thinking “no, don’t do that” as she makes decisions that cause problems later. But the purpose of the book is to show her decisions, mistakes, consequences, her struggles through them, surviving, and succeeding. At the end of the book she is starting a new business and I am excited for her knowing she will not be making the same mistakes again. I am also excited because she is a creative fashion genius. She knows what is beautiful and what women will love - kind of like Steve Jobs in the tech field.
If you’re looking for something about celebrities and a fancy lifestyle, you may not want this. This is more appropriate for young entrepreneurs and/or women.
My feelings during the book varied. Many times I was suffering and frustrated at what she was going through. Private equity investors controlled 51% of the company and forced decisions against her wishes. She was forced to put up with a CEO who was verbally abusive and made decisions based on ego rather than the good of the company.
Tamara’s mother was a monster - a narcissist and sociopath. From childhood on Tamara suffered terrible abuse from her mother.
At times I felt like I was Tamara’s therapist, listening to her troubles and complaints. But she’s telling me her story. These are her words, her thoughts, her feelings. And that’s ok. This is a memoir, not a biography. A biographer would bring in a more balanced story with others’ opinions. So some readers might not be in the mood to listen that way, but I was fine with it.
Several times Tamara mentioned names of famous people and investment groups that I had never heard of before. It would have been helpful if she clarified parenthetically who she was talking about. But it wasn’t a big problem, I skipped through those.
Some things I found interesting:
In the beginning, Tamara wanted to be involved with quality fashionable shoes. So she approached Jimmy Choo a local shoe maker proposing they work together. She thought he would design and she would do the administration, production, and marketing. But to her surprise, he was not a good designer. She threw out what he did and did the designs herself. As it turned out she was the amazing creative artistic genius, and others were hired to do what she thought she would be doing. So she didn’t need Jimmy Choo. He did nothing. Yet he owned 50% of the business and would not agree to things like expansion. I think many of us have assumed we are not good at something, yet we’ve never tried it enough to know. I liked her comment “every mistake I made was from not trusting myself.”
Tamara did not know until around age 40 that she had ADD (attention deficit disorder). She also learned she had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from growing up under the abusive stress from her mother. It caused permanent hormonal imbalances, which medications later helped with. Tamara also suffered verbal abuse from the private equity investors and the company CEO. Regarding this she said “The relief I feel at avoiding failure or abuse is always more pronounced than any real pleasure in achievement or recognition.”
I was intrigued with Tamara’s inspiration trips which were her muse for her artistic creations. She started with flea markets and later traveled to locations throughout the world.
I wish the book included pictures. This is about Tamara’s artistic creations. I wanted to see her first shoe designs and some of the more famous designs. The audiobook should have a pdf file for buyers to download.
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