Choo: Vogue article was my ticket … sec=nation

KUALA LUMPUR: Plenty of networking including having a close relationship with the media that is the advice of number one shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo to Malaysian entrepreneurs who want to market their brands globally.

The London-based Choo paid tribute to glamour magazine Vogue for giving him his big break, saying it was an eight-page spread by the magazine that shot him to international fame.

Choo: After that article in Vogue, all the magazines and broadcast media wanted interviews with me
I was over the moon. After that article in Vogue, all the magazines and broadcast media wanted interviews with me, he said, adding that it was important for businessmen to make their products known through the media.

Choo said it was crucial for businessmen to expand their circle of associates and friends in all areas as they needed support to boost their image, especially in the highly competitive Western market.

Speaking to a group of businessmen and budding entrepreneurs at the first Brand Builder Series workshop organised by the Branding Association of Malaysia on Monday, Choo said endorsement by celebrities and prominent figures had helped him.

Having the late Princess Diana as one of his clients, he added, helped him tremendously as she was always photographed by the international media, especially for her dressing and shoes.

Today, Choos clients include Madonna, Cherie Blair, Kylie Minogue, Naomi Campbell, Beyonce and Elizabeth Hurley.

Choo gave three requirements to be successful having good kung fu or skills, good publicity, and good financing.

With 20 years of haute couture experience under his belt, the Penang-born Choo also shared with his listeners his difficult days in London after graduating from Cordwainers College in 1983.

He started out working with a manufacturer to gain industrial experience and build up his contacts.

After that, I worked with two lady designers for one year, selling my shoes to them at 8 (RM54 at today’s rates) a pair, and I could make about six pairs a day, he said, adding that it was good money then.

Their brand kept appearing in magazines but I made the shoes, he said.

It was then that he realised he wanted to start out on his own with his brand, Jimmy Choo.

As luck would have it, another two women wanted his designs this time, for the glamorous London Fashion Week. He put his name on his shoes and Vogue noticed his creations.

Also present at Mondays talk was shoe manufacturer Lewre Lew, who said one should be determined and passionate when pursuing what one wanted to do.

Lew said he had lost track of the number of humiliating moments he had to go through overseas because many Western businessmen were not familiar with Malaysia.

Lew, who is the founder and chief executive officer of Lewre International Sdn Bhd, is also the president of the Branding Association of Malaysia.