A startup is only as good as its people. And a company can thrive only when employees are motivated to make it as successful as possible.

It's something Tamara Mellon, co-founder and creative director of the Tamara Mellon brand, learned during her time as a co-founder at Jimmy Choo. While she was there, she witnessed the iconic shoe company lowering the quality of its product to increase profits and, infuriatingly, saw her male employees earn more than she did. So, when she left in 2013 to start her own company, she knew she wanted to create a culture based on feminist ideals--in other words, one that was fair to everyone.

Mellon's done exactly that: all her employees have equity in the business. The goal, she said, is to make every worker feel like they have ownership of the brand. 

"Everybody also has a voice, so everyone is allowed to speak up," Mellon says in a new Inc.com video. "Everyone has a place at the table."

Mellon also makes it a point to be on the same playing field as her employees--literally. Instead of tucking herself away in a corner office with assistants standing guard, she sits on the floor with everyone else. It's both strategic and efficient. Mellon can have her finger on the pulse of the company at all times, and because the pace is faster than at Jimmy Choo, employees can access her more quickly.

As a company, Tamara Mellon also engages with various women's issues. Last year, it focused on women's health by sending out RVs for free mobile mammograms. It also advocates for closing the gender pay gap.

The brand's authenticity has boosted its success, Mellon says. In the past, customers would gravitate toward businesses because of their status. Now, she says, "If they believe in a company's values, they're much more likely to purchase from that company." 

Published on: Jul 17, 2019