Taryn Rose Fled Vietnam, Launched an Oprah-Obsessed Shoe Brand, and Now She’s Paying It Forward

Having been on the receiving end of charity as a child, Vietnam-born entrepreneur Taryn Rose — whose namesake brand won the covetable blessing of Oprah Winfrey in the ‘90s — has been on a mission to pay it forward.

For her efforts — which include a pledge this year to donate 5,000 of her classic Rochelle black pumps to nonprofit Delivering Good — the doctor-turned-shoe designer was honored today in New York by the organization.

Taryn Rose Rochelle pump
Taryn Rose Rochelle classic black pump.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Delivering Good, a charity that collects and distributes new product donations that help women in distressed situations re-enter the workforce, recognized Rose along with Pam Kaufman, Nickelodeon’s president of consumer products and chief marketing officer, and Carole Hochman, CEO and chief creative officer of Naked.

When Rose took the stage to accept her award, she reflected on her own need for charity as a child fleeing war-torn Vietnam with her family in the 1970s.

“My family were refugees; we fled Vietnam three days before the end [of the war] with only the clothes on our backs and a suitcase full of photographs — because that’s what was most precious to us,” she told a packed house at New York’s Pierre Hotel. “Thankfully, we finally got dropped at Fort Smith, Ark. Where as you can imagine, we were not prepared for the cold winters. Thank goodness for the Salvation Army, who gave us our secondhand clothes.”

On a large screen behind rose was her a photograph of her parents — her mom donning an elegant frock.

“Here is a picture of my mom looking so chic, so dignified and full of hope,” Rose said. “This is what makes America great — it’s the hope. What makes America great is … the generosity of the American people.”

An orthopedic surgeon by trade, Rose founded the eponymous label in 1998 and is largely credited with introducing the groundbreaking of luxury comfort.

Since 1985, over $1.6 billion of donated product has been distributed through Delivering Good’s network of partners.

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