Episode 17: How to weather a pandemic and grow a shoe business like a grownup

Last Updated on October 10, 2020 by Kristen

Tamar Miller Bells & Becks

Photos via Bells & Becks

If anyone could have predicted a pandemic that would shut down the world, no one would have founded a shoe company—or a jewelry company or a clothing company or any other non-essential small business. But thank goodness they did, because what kind of a world would that be?

Now, entrepreneurs like Tamar Miller, this week’s podcast guest, are figuring out how to stay in business. Founding her luxury shoe brand Bells & Becks two years ago came off the heels of an impressive (to put it mildly) career in retail, so if anyone can do it, she can. Tamar’s previous roles include head of merchandising at Old Navy online, head of merchandising at Banana Republic online, director of merchandising for women’s shoes at Piperlime, and earlier in her career she was a buyer at Macy’s and Pottery Barn.

Her education is equally stellar: she graduated from UC Berkeley and Harvard business school. And at a time when she had reached what some might call the pinnacle of her career, she decided to jump off the corporate ladder and become an entrepreneur.

Tamar Miller Bells & Becks

When we recorded our interview, we were in the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and you can probably hear in our voices that we’re both a little shellshocked. Tamar had returned from Italy, of all places, just weeks before, so you don’t want to miss that story.

We also discuss how becoming an entrepreneur when you are approaching 50 might be unconventional, but it also might be a great idea. Tamar goes into some detail about her decision-making around slowly but steadily growing her shoe brand, and how bootstrapping the business has served her well, especially in the time of coronavirus. She also shares some gems about her experience with Facebook advertising and her thoughts on the pros and cons of a brick and mortar shop.

It’s a really meaty conversation that I think you’ll get a lot out of, especially if you happen to be an entrepreneur.

Plus, the shoes are so cute!

And as always, we also touch on the personal perks of getting older. I really enjoyed this conversation with Tamar and I learned so much. I hope you will to!

Audio editing by Sofija Jovanov

Relevant Links:

Bells & Becks

Bells & Becks sample sale

Bells & Becks on Instagram

Bells & Becks on Facebook

Bells & Becks International Women’s Day survey data on shopping habits/desires of 40+ women



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