Tamara Mellon shares the strategy which has helped her find new opportunities throughout her career.
Editor’s Note: Entrepreneur’s "20 Questions" series features both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs and asks them numerous questions in what makes them tick, their everyday success strategies and advice for aspiring founders.
The co-founder of Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon, believes that you could find inspiration and opportunity anywhere. All it requires is determination to continue and an enthusiastic eye for observation.
Mellon began her career in the first 1990s working as an accessories editor for British Vogue . Always on the search for up-and-coming designers, she found Jimmy Choo, a cobbler employed in London’s East End.
She’d commission him to create shoes for fashion shoots. These were so well received by readers that the pair realized they could expand beyond one-of-kind pieces for the pages of the magazine.
The pair raised the funds, found factories to create Choo’s creations on a more substantial scale and co-founded Jimmy Choo. From 1996 to 2011, as Jimmy Choo’s chief creative officer, Mellon centered on the growth of the brand, taking it from on shop in London to over 100 storefronts across the world. After 15 years, the business was sold for $800 million.
In 2016, Mellon, who was simply awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to the style industry this year 2010 and has sat on Revlon’s board of directors for ten years, launched a fresh direct-to-consumer luxury shoe brand called, aptly, Tamara Mellon.
We swept up with Mellon to ask her 20 Questions and discover why is her tick.
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1. How will you start your entire day? I start my day with coffee and the Financial Times . It’s extremely motivating to learn how many other founders and companies are doing. I also read Women’s Wear Daily every morning because of this. It’s vital that you know absolutely everything that’s going on in my own industry.
2. How will you end your entire day? I end my day with dinner with my daughter Minty and my partner Michael, accompanied by a hot bath and Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy tea. It can help me to wind down by turning the focus inward by the end of an extended day.
3. What’s a book that changed your brain and just why? Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution by Steven R. Gundry . I learned so much about the gut-brain connection and how important gut health is. I really believe being healthy includes mental acuity. Gut health insurance and brain health are really connected, so it’s vital that you understand probiotics to market the human brain function. I’ve changed by diet to include these learnings into my day-to-day eating.
4. What’s a book you always recommend and just why? The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. He shares how he handled difficult moments and decisions when things went wrong in his businesses. It resonated with me. Every entrepreneur struggles with turbulent times. It’s unusual to see a straight upward trajectory. What interests me is Ben’s honesty in how he handled these moments.
5. What’s a technique to keep focused? Daily meditation. It works! Meditation is actually just relaxation. It de-stresses me, which clears my head and refocuses my energy on what’s important. The ultimate way to work has been calm focus.
6. When you were a youngster what did you intend to be when you was raised? I always wished to be in the style business, or a psychologist. While it’s obvious which I finished up in, I still love as an armchair therapist with my girlfriends.
7. What did you study from the worst boss you ever endured? Never manage by fear.
8. Who has influenced you most with regards to how you approach your projects? My dad, who built Vidal Sassoon alongside Vidal. He spoke if you ask me frankly about business from an extremely young age, the same exact way he spoke to his sons about any of it. It stuck.
9. What’s a vacation that changed you? I caused the Elton John AIDS Foundation to improve money to build rape shelters for assault victims in South Africa. We’d an opportunity to go to the centers after they were ready to go. It had been extremely moving to see what a direct effect they manufactured in their communities.
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10. What inspires you? Everything — art, architecture, culture, music, film, other folks.
11. That which was your first business idea and what did you do with it? I sold concert t-shirts at [London’s] Portobello Market as an adolescent.
12. That which was an early on job that taught you something important or useful? Focusing on the shop floor at Browns. I learned to hear my customer, that allows me to raised offer her what she needs.
13. What’s the very best advice you ever took? Don’t ever go wrong. Regardless of what you’re doing, working creates opportunities that cause you to where you intend to go. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or what you would like to do, a very important factor always leads to some other through the people you meet.
14. What’s the worst little bit of advice you ever got? Don’t start Jimmy Choo, it’ll never achieve success. Thankfully, I didn’t listen.
15. What’s a productivity tip you swear by? A very important factor at the same time.
16. Will there be an app or tool you utilize in a surprising way to get things done or stick to track? The Calm app for meditation since it guides me through my meditation. It had been actually the very best app in the App Store in 2017.
17. What does work-life balance mean for you? There’s no such thing. However when I’m home, I really do my better to be focused and present with my children. That said, I’ve my moments when I get stressed, like rushing to create my daughter breakfast when I’m running late for a gathering.
18. How will you prevent burnout? Having relaxing rituals that I could do every day, such as a workout, even if it’s only a quarter-hour.
19. When you’re confronted with a creativity block, what’s your technique to get innovating? Get out and see things. I head to museums, vintage shops, flip through photography coffee table books and pay attention to music recommendations from my daughter. You never know where inspiration will originate.
20. What exactly are you learning now? How come that important? I’m learning a complete new business language on how best to cr