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Taryn Rose

Taryn Rose

To women who enjoy gorgeous shoes but who crave comfort too, Taryn Rose is a godsend if not a hero. Her footwear has made many a fashionable foot able to enjoy a pain-free day or night (or both) while wearing one of her styles. And we’re not just talking about heels, either. A former orthopedic doctor, Taryn has crafted every shoe from flip-flop to fancy pump with all the elements of comfort that a woman’s foot needs.

A true success story, Taryn has come a long way since escaping Vietnam at the young age of 8 for the United States. Born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 1967 she narrowly escaped with her family three days before the fall of Saigon. Amidst machine guns and artillery fire they boarded a plane to end up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her next move was to Southern California where after getting her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Irvine she chose to attend USC’s Medical School in order to become an orthopedic surgeon. Taryn has said that this decision was made for many reasons, some of which being that she wanted to follow in her Pathologist father’s footsteps of medicine which would avoid family drama from doing otherwise, as well as from a desire to “work with healthy people and get them back to their best”. (Source)

This profession only lasted until 1998, just after she had completed her residency, when Taryn decided to found her eponymous footwear company. What would lead a woman to make such a huge jump, you might ask? Well the sometimes 14-hour shifts that Taryn would work in heels certainly played a big part, but so did all of the female patients that she would see whose feet were being so pained and negatively affected by the shoes they were wearing. She knew there had to be a middle ground between fashion and comfort.

Getting started wasn’t easy. It meant taking time off from her secure job at the hospital, researching everything from accounting to how to manufacture shoes, and obtaining a loan and coming up with a business plan. In total, the process of starting the company took her three years. During this time she also hired Thierry Raboutin (whose name you may recognize from his own line of fashion comfort shoes) to design her new line.

The idea behind the shoes was to create high quality, handmade footwear with great design that incorporated comfort. Taryn had the knowledge that was necessary to build for comfort, and she had Thierry for the design, but for the quality she went to Italy and began using Siegerson Morrison’s manufacturer there, (who she has since dropped due to counterfeiting). She also needed a place to sell the shoes.

The first store to carry the Taryn Rose line was Nordstrom with a $20,000 order. The shoes took off and she opened her first retail boutique in Beverly Hills in 1999. Since then she has opened more in Las Vegas, San Jose, New York City and even Seoul, South Korea. You can now find her shoes at just about any major department store or high-end shoe boutique, which has been her plan all along. Taryn has continued to focus on high-end retailers mainly because of the freedom she has to not have to concern herself so much with price point. This is also the customer that buys no matter the situation of the economy.

Taryn Rose’s popularity has also inspired her to begin her men’s collection in 2003, and in more recent years she has even begun a handbag line. Her Taryn by Taryn Rose collection is more fashion forward but less expensive, and she has also very recently launched Verde by Taryn Rose, her eco-friendly line.

When asked if her shoes are considered ‘Orthopedic’, Taryn has offered a resounding ‘no’ and has said “However, they do fit the needs of many people who have issues with their feet. They are not designed to solve problems, they’re designed to prevent problems and to bring that added value of being comfortable.” (Source)

Unfortunately, growth has also proven to be difficult. In March of 2008, Taryn chose to resign from Taryn Rose the company. She cited a difference in visions between her and her partners in how to best grow the company, and will instead only remain a shareholder. Hopefully this will not be the last we hear or see of Taryn though, considering she is rumored to be considering “a number of different options” in the fashion business. (Source)

You can visit Taryn Rose online here, and make sure to check out all of the positive things her shoes were designed to do for your feet here.

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