Why Tamara Mellon Decided To Take Her High-End Shoe Show On The Road

Tamara MellonPhoto Credit: Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon, the women’s luxury footwear brand from the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, has determinedly pivoted during the pandemic, setting out to reinvigorate retail by bringing her high-end footwear to her fan base in a very unique and fun way— with her new Mobile Shoe Closet. The TM Mobile Store is pulling up and making stops across the US — which have included The Hamptons, Aspen, Malibu, and now, Montecito, Calif.

The Tamara Mellon Mobile Closet is a 26ft. open air truck that displays each shoe style from floor to ceiling in sizes 35-42 allowing customers to effortlessly discover and shop their size. Customers who visit the Tamara Mellon Mobile Store are encouraged to book an appointment slot, as social distancing will be enforced and PPE will be provided. Here, we chatted with the footwear guru about her innovation, the TM Mobile Store experience and her hopes for a footloose and fancy-free future.

Tamara MellonPhoto Credit: Tamara Mellon

Tell us why you decided to launch the Mobile Shoe Closet.

We are always looking for new ways to reach our customer, so why not drive directly to her and meet her where she is living. We launched our first Mobile Shoe Closet tour in 2019 and visited 14 cities in 15 weeks, starting in Boston and ending in San Jose. It was so successful we decided to put two more Mobile Shoe Closets on the road this year with a third launching in 2021.

How did you come up with the idea?

The Tamara Mellon Mobile Shoe Closet is inspired by our innovative retail concept, which is designed to look and feel as if you are in your own personal shoe closet. As customers step into the Mobile Shoe Closet, they are greeted with floor to ceiling shelving that displays each style in sizes spanning from 35-42. This allows visitors to effortlessly discover and try on our best selling shoes at their leisure.

How are you keeping shoppers safe?

We are operating on an appointment basis and only allowing 1-2 customers in at a time as social distancing will be strictly enforced. For anyone who visits, we are providing all necessary PPE such as masks, gloves, try on socks and hand sanitizer. Additionally, we amended the closets and removed 4 out of the 8 windows on the side to allow fresh air to flow into the closet.

Why did you decide on Malibu as one of your destinations?

We realized that part of our customer base has second homes in destination areas, like Malibu. As we saw people fleeing the city, we decided to follow them to these locations and have visited Malibu, Aspen and The Hamptons.

Tamara MellonPhoto Credit: Tamara Mellon

Why is stylish footwear important right now? Is it to give women something aspirational, a sense of normalcy?

Our customer is focused on two parts of the collection and they are buying for either comfort/function or fantasy to bring them joy. People are buying things that make them happy and buying our shoes is similar to buying a beautiful piece of sculpture for your closet.

Where else are you stopping after Malibu? How were the locations chosen?

Our two Mobile Shoe Closets launched in August and will be on the road through the end of the year. After Malibu, our west coast closet will visit Montecito, Orange County, San Diego and Scottsdale. Our second closet is in Miami and heading to Chicago, Dallas and Houston. These are all top performing markets where we have a strong customer base.

What kind of aesthetic is important in a shoe during the pandemic?

Something that is either comfortable (like our Shearling Roam) or one that brings you joy (like our Studio 54).

What are you yourself gravitating towards?

I get excited when shoes like Studio 54 or Legacy arrive. I open them immediately and look forward to displaying out on my shelves. Seeing them in my closet brings me joy whenever I see them. In my day-to-day, I’m wearing flats for function like Stow, OMW and Clash.

Tamara MellonPhoto Credit: Paola Kudacki


How has the Tamara Mellon brand pivoted in other respects throughout this timeframe?

Because we are direct-to-consumer, my team is able to move quickly and launch new initiatives rather quickly. For example, we were able to get two Mobile Shoe Closets on the road in 6 weeks. We also launched a new program online called Try At Home, which gives customers the opportunity to try on shoes at home, risk free and completely on us.

Can you speak to other new initiatives, like your collaboration with Karla Welch? Will we see future collaborations like this, and with whom?

Definitely. We’re working on more collaborations for 2021 and beyond.

What are your hopes for the future, brand-wise and personally?

This is the second company I have founded after starting Jimmy Choo when I was 27, so it’s very rewarding to be able to do it again. My hopes for the future are to build the first real luxury shoe brand that is digitally born and continue to talk about issues that we are passionate about, like equal pay.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Time, there is never enough.