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Fancy Footwork

An orthopedic surgeon-turned-entrepreneur proves to the world she can stand tall on her own.

Vital Stats: Taryn Rose, 35, founder of Taryn Rose International Inc.

Company: High-end shoes for women and men that boast classic style and handcrafted comfort

Sales: $15 million projected for 2003

Woe My Feet! "I was a resident at USC School of Medicine, on my feet up to 14 hours a day. I had a hard time finding shoes attractive enough to go with my wardrobe, but also comfortable enough to meet my functional needs. Also, I saw a lot of women who needed foot surgery because of tight footwear. I thought, 'I should see if there is something out in the market.'"

"My philosophy on beauty is women shouldn't have to think about their feet. They should be thinking on their feet."

Say Again, Doc? "My family was opposed [to my starting a business]. They're a traditional Asian family. They thought I was giving up prestige and a good income to take on a lot of risk. For me, that was exciting. That was how I wanted to live-to have a vision, build on that vision and be proud."

More Talk, Less Ads: "I find editorial is more important than advertising because we want to educate so people understand what we're all about, and you can't do that with an ad."

Sole Searcher: "I targeted a niche, the luxury market, with comfort as a philosophy. My customers are like myself-independent [people] who are in control of their lives. They're not victims anywhere, and they're not going to be fashion victims."

Contact Source

This story appears in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »