How Jimmy Choo got rich and famous with shoes

On this day, November 15 in the year 1961, one of the most influential shoe designers was born in Penang, Malaysia. His name is Jimmy Choo, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, Ltd.

Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo (Credit:

Being the son of a cobbler, Jimmy Choo showed interest in shoe making and design early in his youth. It is said that he crafted his first pair of shoes at the age of 11. He travelled to Great Britain to study shoe designing at Cordwainers Technical College in London. To support his studies, he worked at restaurants and clean apartments.
In 1986, he opened his first shop in an abandoned hospital building. Two years later, he became famous when Vogue magazine dedicated 8 pages featuring his creations. In 1990, his popularity soared even higher when Princess Diana wore his handmade shoes everywhere she went. In 1996, he partnered with Vogue editor, Tamara Mellon to open a ready-to-wear footwear store under the company name Jimmy Choo Ltd. Jimmy’s niece, Sandra Choi, was hired as creative director.

The business was successful. The brand became synonymous with class, elegance, and originality. Positioned as expensive luxurious brand, it has attracted customers among the global jet set such as celebrities, monarchs, and heads of states. Although Jimmy Choo exited the company in 2001, the company continued to use his name. It has since opened branches in New York, Beverly Hills, Paris, Rome, followed by Tokyo and other capital cities. To date, there are over 150 stores worldwide.

Jimmy Choo is married and has one daughter. After he left the company, he went back to his old shop and continued making limited number of shoes to make an image of exclusivity, an issue that caused his departure from the company he co-founded. He also began mentoring would-be shoe makers and designers.



  1. What a lovely story! I just love hearing about how people started. I must confess to owning one pair or the most beautiful Jimmy Choo shoes. Bought by my husband on our engagement to wear at our wedding, they remain my special shoes. I always feel a million dollars in them (weirdly get compliments on them (do women really look at other women’s shoes? Apparently so and bearing in mind how many sparkly evening shoes there are out there, how can they possibly know who made them … this is extraordinary in my book! Nevertheless, I squirm delightedly every time I get a compliment on my ridiculously expensive and glamorous sparkling shoes.). There is one problem however, they are desperately, desperately uncomfortable. I have to put plasters and compeeds all over my unfortunate feet each and every time I wear them. I fear my vanity overrides the pain as I hobble back to the apartment from a night out. It’s pathetic, but I still derive so much pleasure from then wrapping them carefully back in the tissue paper and little bags and back into their beautiful box. Heaven even if I can’t walk very far!

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