Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hey there, Toots, put on your re-venge boots

Oh, who doesn’t have the revenge fantasy in which they put it to their former companies/colleagues/bosses.

A few people act on it, and these days their rants tend to go viral, as in the recent case of the had-enough NYC video editor who video’d her own personal FU and put it up on YouTube.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that revenge is best served either cold, or well after the meal is complete and you really don’t want anything more to eat. Or, better yet, served up only in your imagination, or in the unvideoed, unrecorded presence of a few close and trusted allies. Which is, of course, not really revenge at all, since the revengee is not even aware that the revenger is getting revenge.

Anyway, it’s probably best not to burn any bridges, especially in these digital days when nothing is private for long. Potential employers tend not to be all that enamored of bridge burners. No one standing in the middle of the bridge wants to have to frisk those walking across the bridge for kindling and Zippo lighters.

But, as is so often the case, there are rules for us, and there are rules for them.

And if you were the creative force behind Jimmy Choo, and your last name (even if it is only through marriage) is Mellon, then you get to author as nasty a story as you want about your former associates. And still go on to have your own clothing line, etc.

Thus, as Business Week had it, “Jimmy Choo Co-Founder Tamara Mellon Puts On Her Revenge Boots.”

For fifteen years, Tamara Mellon was the muse, face, and legs of Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe company she co-founded in London with her parents’ money in 1996.

The perks of being muse included a clothing allowance, an on-call make-up artist and hair stylist, A-list invites, and paparazzi trailing her (which is a perk if you’re a publicity hound, as Mellon apparently is). It is apparently a testament to my humble existence and pedestrian taste for comfy, clunky shoes that I was not aware of Tamara Mellon’s existence until I saw the article on her book, a no holds bar accounting of her time at Jimmy Choo.

Despite all the perks:

It turns out, though, that for much of this time, Mellon felt aggrieved. She says she was unappreciated by executives at the company and exploited by the private equity investors who funded its expansion. She was betrayed by those close to her. She had night sweats and panic attacks and was always exhausted.

By 2011, Mellon decided that her Choos were made for walking, and she pumped out of Jimmy Choo  “with a reported $135 million and enough resentment to fill a book.”

That book, In My Shoes, was published recently.

Not surprisingly, it’s timed to roughly coincide with the launch of her new clothing and shoe line. Equally non-surprisingly, Mellon does not see herself as a revengeful beeyotch looking to lever that vengeful beeyotch-hood into some free publicity for her new product line. (The line includes a pair of thigh-high, $2K boots called Sweet Revenge. I’m not the only one thinking kitten with a whip here.)  No, she sees herself as a truth-teller.

It’s called In My Shoes and went on sale Tuesday. “To me the truth is always the best way,” she says…

That her memoir often comes off as the rant someone might write to an ex-boyfriend or boss—and then never send—would seem to complicate the prospects for her new project.That’s not the case, she says.

And at least one analyst agrees, pointing out that being an object of scorn hasn’t hurt Donald Trump any. (Of course, we don’t actually know how successful he is, either. For all we know, the House of Trump is a house of cards.)

“I have the luxury now to choose who I have in my business. I’ve chosen people with good ethics and values. It’s very different.”

Ah, yes, those awful people at the company I used to work at were totally devoid of good ethics and values. Those bums!

Along with trashing her former business associates, she goes after her mommy not so dearest. Her brother doesn’t quite see their mother in the same way:

“I don’t recall my mother being a raging lunatic,” he says. “It’s hard for me to understand where Tamara is coming from. I think a lot of it is sensationalism to sell the book.”

While mom was a raging narcissist, sociopath, and alcoholic, Jimmy Choo was “a ‘creative head’ who, in fact, had no creativity.”

His only input was complaining that the heels were too high. (Sam, you made the pants too long.)

And mom wasn’t the only sociopath Mellon had to contend with at Choo’s.

The company got involved with a series of private equity firms:

“Private equity will use you, suck every ounce of blood, and then kick you to the curb when they exit,” she says. “They are the sociopaths of investment banking.”

Well, Mellon’s certainly not the only person who’s thought that. Let’s just hope that her new company never has to tap PE.

As for her chief executive, he’s characterized as:

…insecure, small-minded, and stingy. Also: “an obstructive, pain-in-the-ass employee who could be replaced.”

Earth to Tamara Mellon: even if employees aren’t obstructive pains-in-the-ass, in real life pretty much all of them can be replaced. And that likely includes Tamara Mellon. As indicated by what happened when she decided to leave Jimmy Choo:

No one tried to stop her from leaving. 

Guess they figured out she’s not the only gal capable of designing:

…a pony skin leopard-print trench coat [that goes for] $4,500.

My touch? I’d stick to pony skin qua pony skin and let the wearer look like a pinto or a palomino. Which tells me that even I could replace Tamara Mellon.

And I wouldn’t even write a nasty book after my brilliant design career came to a thudding halt.

At least not a nasty book in which I named names.

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