What is Jimmy Choo’s Net Worth?
Jimmy Choo is a Malaysian-Chinese fashion designer who has a net worth of $75 million. Jimmy Choo earned his fortune as the co-founder of the eponymous British luxury fashion house. The company specializes in shoes, handbags, accessories, and fragrances, and has stores in locations around the world. Choo’s brand is also known for being a favorite of celebrities, including Diana, Princess of Wales.
Early Life and Education
Datuk Jimmy Choo was born as Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat on November 15, 1948 in George Town, British Malaysia into a Chinese family of shoemakers. His family name is Chow, but the name was misspelled as “Choo” on his birth certificate. Growing up, he learned the art of shoemaking from his father, and when he was 11, made his first footwear, a pair of slippers. As a young adult, Choo attended Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney, London from 1982 to 1984.
After college, Choo decided he wanted to stay in London. He ended up working for two design companies, spending a total of nine years in that line of work. In 1986, Choo expanded the business by opening his own shop in a rented old hospital building. He soon began being noticed by major events and organizations, including London Fashion Week and Vogue magazine. The latter featured his shoes in an eight-page spread, substantially boosting his profile. Choo’s image was further lifted due to the patronage of Diana, Princess of Wales in the early 1990s.
J. Choo Limited
Through Vogue magazine, Choo worked with fashion assistant Tamara Mellon in the early 90s. Mellon eventually left the magazine, after which she suggested to Choo the idea of developing a luxury, ready-to-wear line of shoes. In 1996, Choo did just that, and co-founded the company J. Choo Limited with Mellon, whose parents provided funding for a 50% stake in the company. The first Jimmy Choo store was soon opened on Motcomb Street in London. A couple years later, Choo ascended to a new level of fame when he was mentioned in the fifth episode of the HBO television series “Sex and the City.” This inaugurated a new celebrity-oriented go-to-market model, which in turn prompted Choo to open his first stores in the United States, in New York City and Los Angeles. The brand garnered more attention in early 1999 when Mellon’s Get Good Ink PR agency dyed the Jimmy Choos they loaned to actresses at the Academy Awards in colors that matched their dresses.
In 2001, businessman Robert Bensoussan set up the investment group Equity Luxury Holdings with David Burns of Phoenix Equity Partners. After that, a new holding company, Yearnoxe, took over the European and US operations of J. Choo Limited. With Equinox controlling 51% of Yearnoxe and Mellon and her father splitting the remaining 49%, Choo sold his stake for £8.8 million and left the company. J. Choo Limited traded hands many times over the subsequent years, being acquired by Lion Capital, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Gala Capital, and Labelux. In late 2014, the company went public on the London Stock Exchange, where it remained until it was purchased by Michael Kors Holdings in late 2017.
Jimmy Choo Couture Limited
As a separate venture from the Jimmy Choo ready-to-wear brand, Choo launched Jimmy Choo Couture Limited in 2006 to continue his work on his exclusive shoe line. Sold under license by J. Choo Limited, the shoes are available only by appointment at Connaught Street in London.
Honors and Accolades
Choo has been the recipient of many honors for his contributions to fashion. In 2002, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services in the UK. Closing out the decade, Choo was given an honorary fellowship by University of the Arts London. He has also been amply honored in his native Malaysia, having been appointed a Commander of the Order of the Meritorious Service in 2013.
With his wife Rebecca Choi, who hails from Hong Kong, Choo has two children named Emily and Danny. The latter is a pop culture blogger and television personality who created the Smart Doll, a line of vinyl fashion dolls with interchangeable pieces. Danny’s first doll, Mirai Suenaga, became his virtual mascot. Choi and Choo reside in London.