Tamara Mellon today revealed that Jill Layfield has joined the company as cofounder and chief executive officer. Layfield’s appointment comes after a recent $12 million Series A fund-raising round led by New Enterprise Associates, which has invested in Jet.com, Moda Operandi and Quidsi — acquired by Amazon — as Tamara Mellon prepares to relaunch as a direct-to-consumer luxury shoe brand this fall.
With experience in retail and online commerce, Layfield most recently served as ceo of Backcountry.com, where she led annual revenue growth from $30 million to over $500 million. Prior to her role there, she held marketing and business development roles at Shutterfly, Cisco and 8×8. She will be based in Tamara Mellon’s new headquarters in Los Angeles.
“I am elated to join Tamara in creating a brand for women, by women, direct-to-women,” said Layfield. “Tamara’s expertise in luxury shoes and vision for the brand combined with NEA’s long track record of partnering with entrepreneurs to build market-leading businesses is an exciting combination.”
Layfield’s hire and the Series A fund-raising are the latest in a string developments for Mellon in the past year. Last December, Mellon, who acquired Jimmy Choo and built it into a global luxury accessories brand, filed for pre-packaged Chapter 11 protection, emerging in January with a new partner in NEA, and moving her company from New York to California. Mellon originally launched her namesake collection of buy-now-wear-now ready-to-wear and accessories in 2013, and is using the $12 million in NEA capital to reposition the brand to focus on direct-to-consumer luxury shoes, still with a buy-now-wear-now strategy.
“Three years ago, people really didn’t understand what I was talking about when I said buy-now-wear-now, and I also didn’t have a team of people or investors who understood what I was talking about,” Mellon told WWD in January. “And also my mistake [was] I tried to put a new business model into an old distribution system, so I tried to shorten the gap between when you show and when you deliver. Instead of showing six months ahead, I tried to show three months ahead and then do monthly deliveries. But the wholesale channel was not set up for that; they weren’t ready for it.”