When Taryn Rose, an orthopedic surgeon-turned-shoe entrepreneur launched her footwear collection in 1998, she introduced a groundbreaking concept to the market — luxury comfort.
Using her medical expertise, she incorporated features such as arch supports and cushioned footbeds into sophisticated on-trend silhouettes targeting career women.
Today, footwear powerhouse Global Brands is producing the collection, with Rose continuing to serve as the face and inspiration behind the brand. Rose, along with Global Brands, has committed to donating 5,000 pairs of the brand’s classic Rochelle black pump to Delivering Good, a nationwide nonprofit for new product donations that aids women in distressed situations re-enter the workforce. Rose will be meeting and coaching recipients on career issues.
Marking International Women’s Day, Rose talks about the challenges she faced in her medical career, opportunities in the shoe industry, and the importance of women supporting women.
What were the biggest challenges in your medical career?
“When I went into the field of orthopedics, it was only 10 percent women. It wasn’t easy. I had three [male residents] write a letter to our chairman saying he should not accept me. They felt uncomfortable, [citing that] I wore my skirts too short. I was a distraction by the way I dressed. I only knew of this because I was friendly with the secretaries in the chairman’s office. To his credit, one of the authors of the letter came to me three years later and said he wanted to apologize. He said, ‘I have never worked with anyone who has worked so hard.'”
Did you have any mentors in the shoe business along the way?
“I was on my own. I did what I felt was right, and in some ways that was the good thing. You need to be an outsider to disrupt things a bit, otherwise you’re always doing the same things other people have done. Or [people] tell you this is how you should do it.”
Why do you think it is important for women to support women?
“I think it has always been [important]. Not because of the #MeToo movement. If you look at my career, all I have ever wanted to do was improve women’s lives. That was the DNA of Taryn Rose the brand. What is great now is, being with Global Brands, a wonderful organization, we have the resources to be able to give away 5,000 pairs of shoes. As a smaller company it wasn’t possible. I’m happy to have their support and together we can give back to women. We can get them back on their feet by taking care of their feet.”
As your daughter starts college this year, do you have any career advice for her?
“I tell everyone — men or women — focus on excellence rather than success. When you do, success will come. If you only focus on success, you’re under stress while you are trying to achieve [your goal]. Oftentimes, when you arrive there, it’s not as meaningful.”
What do you have planned for the business going forward?
“I see it as a lifestyle brand, particularly in ways we can combine technology into products. Women can use these technologies to improve the product performance.”
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