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Jimmy Choo shoes: Higher than high-end

A display at the Jimmy Choo store at a new shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Image of In My Shoes: A Memoir
Author: Tamara Mellon, William Patrick
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 288 pages

Calling it "high-end" doesn't quite do the Jimmy Choo brand justice. You can spend $1,000 for a pair of shoes or $2,000 for a handbag.

Tamara Mellon co-founded Jimmy Choo with those kinds of prices firmly in mind almost 20 years ago. Her new book on the experience is called “In My Shoes.”

Jimmy Choo is a real person. He was a cobbler in London. The two went into business together after Choo worked for Mellon while she was a fashion editor at Vogue Magazine. He would set up photo shoots for her.

“I would go down to his studio and I would tell him what to make. I’d photograph and give him a credit in Vogue," said Mellon. "So I thought, ‘what a great platform to start a business.'"

Mellon said she knew the brand was special after their first big sale from Saks Fifth Avenue. 

“When we saw the sell-throughs at Saks, we were having 95 percent sell through,” said Mellon.

That means that 95 percent of the 3,000 shoes ordered sold at full price, which Mellon said is unusual for the fashion industry. She said usually shoes see a sell-through of around 65 percent.

Mellon said the company’s biggest moment was its mention on "Sex and the City."

“I didn’t even know it was coming.  I got a call from a friend that said ‘Hey did you see 'Sex in the City'?’ I was like ‘no,’" said Mellon. “She goes, ‘there was an amazing scene where Carrie Bradshaw says 'I lost my Choo.’”

When asked why she put Choo’s name instead of hers on the brand, Mellon said Choo was originally supposed to design the shoe.

 “When I realized that Jimmy wasn’t going to be designing the collection and  that I was the one that was going to have to step up to the plate. We’d started, we’d opened a store, his name was above the door and I thought ‘let's just carry on with it.’"

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Image of In My Shoes: A Memoir
Author: Tamara Mellon, William Patrick
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 288 pages

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