Tamara Mellon, the Italian-made direct-to-consumer shoe brand, just snagged a $24 million Series B, bringing its total amount of capital raised to $37 million. Investors appear to have been attracted to the brand’s explosive growth. It’s sales in the first half of 2018 are three times its sales during the same period in 2017. This funding round was led by NEA, with participation from Quadrille Capital.
Tamara Mellon cofounded Jimmy Choo with, well, Jimmy himself back in 1996. But in 2016, she decided to launch her own eponymous luxury shoe brand. It wasn’t easy, though: When she tried to go to high-end factories in Italy, she discovered that many refused to work with her, citing non-compete clauses with the Jimmy Choo brand.
But through persistence, she prevailed, and found factories that made shoes for other luxury brands. Unlike other luxury brands, Tamara Mellon has taken a digital-first approach. Shoes are available entirely through the brand’s website, and the company says that the majority of sales happen through mobile. Once a customer has made a purchase, they have access to a complimentary on-demand cobbler who can make any necessary repairs from everyday wear and tear.
Mellon has become an advocate of women’s rights, and has been particularly outspoken about the gender pay gap. Back when she was at Jimmy Choo, she discovered that she was earning less then men that she had hired; her salary as chief creative officer and cofounder was less than comparable C-level positions held by men.
“We are building a brand for women who want more from a luxury brand,” Mellon says, in a statement. “…she wants to align herself with a brand that stands up for women. The intersection of culture and commerce is reshaping the way brands are built, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this shift.”