Tamara Mellon’s eponymous shoe brand is growing — fast. Today, the Jimmy Choo co-founder announced a $50 million Series C round of financing, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $87 million.
This comes a year after its $24 million Series B round of financing last June, which brought the total amount to $37 million. Funds were said to go to expanding product assortment and hiring new employees, while helping create a platform for women’s rights remained at the forefront. Since then, Tamara Mellon launched handbags, sneakers and its first brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles at Palisades Village. The designer has also focused on gender equality, from promoting initiatives for Equal Pay Day to matching donations to Planned Parenthood.
Now, the brand is looking to continue investments by using it towards manufacturing innovation and retail expansion, which includes the opening of five new stores over the next year. The company also plans to grow the team from 40 to 60 employees by the end of 2019.
London-based investment firm Centricus led the latest round of funding, with continued participation from existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates and Quadrille Capital. And Mellon is celebrating the milestone as it’s no small feat.
Companies launched by women brought in only 2.3% of U.S. venture capital dollars last year, according to Pitchbook, but that number doesn’t paint the full picture. The same report touts that the deal count for female-founded businesses has more than quadrupled in the past decade. It also indicates that more capital was invested in these companies during the fourth quarter of 2018 than in any other period in the past decade.
In 2013, Mellon launched her buy-now, wear-now venture, but filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2015 and began to pursue a new path. She relaunched as a direct-to-consumer label in 2016, with CEO Jill Layfield as its chief executive and co-founder. Despite initial hurdles, the brand has seen much success. In 2018, Tamara Mellon had its first $1 million sales day in October, and it increased sales by 136% year over year, with 36% coming from repeat customers.