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Jimmy Choo: Takes two to tango

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There’s a reason successful start-ups often require teams of two. You need talent and a network.

Case en pointe: The Malaysian shoemaker Jimmy Choo made a name for himself creating custom, handmade shoes, one pair at a time, for an elite clientele including Diana, Princess of Wales.

But his brand never would have shot into the stratosphere without the partnership of Tamara Mellon, who co-founded the business with him. She parlayed it into a phenomenon by enlisting a Los Angeles PR master, setting up a hotel suite and inviting celebrities in to dye and bead their Jimmy Choos to match their gowns for the Oscars.

When the shoe obsession of “Sex and the City” turned to Jimmy Choos—now ready-to-wear but still high-end—the TV show’s fans went wild. The rest, as they say, is in reruns.

Despite the fact that Mellon’s over-the-top personality eventually drove Choo out of the business with a check for $12.6 million, it’s also a fact that he probably would never have made it without her.

It’s still who you know as well as what you know.

— Adapted from “Cobbler to the Stars,” Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, The Wall Street Journal.

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