Robert Bensoussan, who on Sept. 13 stepped down from his role as interim CEO at L.K. Bennett, has been a major force in the shoe industry for many years — including during his stint at Jimmy Choo from 2001 to 2007. In recognition of the Jimmy Choo’s 20th anniversary, Bensoussan reflects on his time with the brand.
Overall reflections: “There were a lot of proud moments. We bought the majority of Jimmy Choo when it was a small business turning over about 10 million pounds. I managed that business for seven years, and one of the proudest moments is when I realized we had hit a few milestones in terms of objectives. We grew to 300 employees from 15 when we bought the business. We had 50 stores, including flagships in Paris, London and New York, with sales over 100 million pounds.”
Tipping point: “When we opened the flagship on Madison Avenue and realized that we had been able to transform a small iconic brand with fashionista followers into a luxury accessory brand with a recognizable identity and a worldwide presence.”
Powerful formula: “We built a business model that most shoe brands have copied or tried to copy — based on merchandising the collection with a mix of edgy designs and classics, creating and developing a successful bag business, controlling our distribution by opening concession and owned shops, limiting our wholesale distribution and developing e-commerce, keeping an edgy image of luxury and building an infrastructure of excellence in production and deliveries.”