Tamara Mellon is the President and co-founder of a line of designer shoes, Jimmy Choo.
Mellon was born in London, on 7 July 1967, the daughter of Tom Yeardye, a successful entrepreneur and Ann (Davis) Yeardye, a former Chanel model. She was educated in Berkshire at Heathfield St Mary's School, in Beverly Hills and in Switzerland.
Mellon began her career at Phyllis Walters Public Relations, Mirabella, and followed as accessories editor for British Vogue in 1990.
Recognizing the potential for development of high-end designer accessories, Mellon approached bespoke shoe-maker Mr Jimmy Choo with the idea of launching a ready-to-wear shoe company. As co-founder of the Jimmy Choo Company, Tamara secured funding from her father, for the creation of her business, and sourced factories in Italy. In addition, she set up an office in Italy to handle production, quality control and shipping. By 2001, Jimmy Choo had over 100 wholesale clients including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, and the collections accounted for over 50% of the production of several of these factories.
Relationship between Tamara and Mr Choo later soured. Tamara tapped Sandra Choi, the creative director and Mr Choo's wife's niece to be on her side which later led to Mr Choo selling his 50% stake in the company for a low L10 million in 2001. Sandra Choi's switch in loyalty had often been interpreted as a betrayal of her uncle's trust.
The design collaboration between Tamara and creative director, Sandra Choi led to an immediate demand from other top stores. The Motcombe Street store was followed by stores in New York, Las Vegas and Beverly Hills. In April 2001, the expansion of Jimmy Choo took a step forward with the announcement of a new partnership with Equinox Luxury Holdings Ltd. Acquiring Mr Choo’s share of the ready to wear business; Equinox’s Chief Executive Robert Bensoussan became CEO of Jimmy Choo. This transaction enabled Jimmy Choo to achieve outstanding results, with the introduction of handbag and small leather goods collections. In November 2004, with the company valued at L101 million, Hicks Muse announced the majority acquisition of Jimmy Choo — yet another significant move for the future development of the company.
Jimmy Choo shoes have been sung about by starlets such as Beyoncé Knowles and the shoes are well-known as the shoes of choice for Hollywood red carpet events.
From the first boutique opened in London’s Knightsbridge in 1996, Jimmy Choo now has a total of 39 stores including London (Sloane Street & New Bond Street), New York, Beverly Hills, Washington D.C., Boston, Dallas, Moscow, Milan and Hong Kong and is distributed by select stores worldwide. The brand continues to have strong ambitions and plans to open a total of 50 stores worldwide by 2008. In 2007, Mellon made another appearance on the Sunday Times Rich List where she is ranked as the 751st richest person in the U.K with an estimated wealth of L99 million. She is also ranked as the 64th richest woman in Britain.
In May 2000 she married Matthew Taylor Mellon, IV, an heir to the Mellon family fortune, with whom she had one daughter, Araminta. The couple divorced in 2005.
Mellon is a member of the New Enterprise Council, a group of entrepreneurs who advise the Conservative Party (UK) on policies related to the needs of business.