Fashionpreneur Series (1): The Story of The Luxury Brand Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo (Photo: FashionTelegraph)

For those who do not know what or who Jimmy Choo is; Jimmy Choo is a Malaysian fashion designer that simply sells ‘the felling of wearing a shoe’. He is the founder of Jimmy Choo Company makers of high-end bespoke women’s shoes.

I love the way Bernadette Jiwa describes the brand: “When a woman holds or covets a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, she isn’t imagining how the shoes will feel on her feet, she’s fantasizing about how she will feel in those shoes. Jimmy Choo packages that feeling and the story she tells herself, then sells it back to her.”

Jimmy Choo is a luxury brand that epitomizes glamour and style. But before all these was a humble beginning, Jimmy Choo worked part-time at restaurants and as a cleaner at a shoe factory to help fund his college education. In 1986, Jimmy Choo opened his first workshop in Hackney, London, he actually rented an old hospital building. Then his first big break came when his quality shoes were featured in a 1988 issue of Vogue. And he got the biggest patronage from the biggest style icon in the UK at that time, none other than Princess Diana.

Then in 1996, Jimmy Choo company was founded, when Tamara Mellon, then an accessories editor at British Vogue, discovered Mr Choo and recognizing a niche in the luxury shoe market, desired to partner Jimmy Choo with a £150,000 loan from her late father Tommy Yeardye (I believe in collaboration, and the success of the Jimmy Choo brand was also down to this).

The fashionable design, and exceptional Italian craftsmanship shoes became appealing to sophisticated buyers, and the first collection enjoyed immediate success. Sales took off after they targeted high-profile events such as the Oscars to get the brand on Hollywood’s radar, offering to fit out celebrities for the awards ceremony. Then the brand’s arrival was confirmed when Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in the TV show Sex and the City, revealed it was her favourite shoe store. The Jimmy Choo product is known to be of excellent quality and style.

With the success the Jimmy Choo brand was attaining, outside investors were attracted to the business and in April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million. but Tamara Mellon stayed on till 2011 when the business was sold for £500m pocketing way more than Choo.

He obviously isn’t the first to make shoes, nor is he the first to make bespoke shoes, but he has made a success of himself regardless. Humble beginnings, partnership and his abilities has turn into a global success. I don’t think he would have dreamt of reaching this height if he was asked years ago as a young boy, if he did, then wishes do come true.

Be Inspired, you don’t need to be the first in your field just be very good at your abilities and follow through with it.

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