Tammy Haines, an MIP MBA
, found a way to support charities and support high fashion through her own business The Glow Brand
. The Glow Brand provides its consumers with trendy, bright stilettos in five different colors to support five different charities.
Haines said her goal was to work at luxury motorbike and auto companies after receiving her MBA, but instead she came upon the idea of The Glow Brand, which not only makes herself happy, but also pays tribute to her late mother. Here is the heartwarming story of her motivation and the idea behind The Glow Brand.
What prompted you to start The Glow Brand?
The Glow Brand came into itself really. I always wanted to start a company of my own but essentially I was looking to start something that really spoke to me.
When my mother passed away from cancer, I ran the South African ultra-marathon for which she was relatively famous for completing more than 10 times. When you successfully receive a medal for 10 consecutive years, you will then receive a bib number “for life” from the marathon association. This is the number I ran in whilst raising funds for charity, and it is also the style number of our first shoe design: 4002.
I must admit though, that after training and competing the 89km, two things were clear. One was that I was definitely more the swimmer in the family so I had to find a personally more sustainable manner of raising funds, and two was that in a period when the economy is not at its best, charitable giving is also not. Training for four hours a day minimum, and then asking to be sponsored almost is a second fulltime job. It was a humbling experience to achieve a goal of 100 Euro per km, but I got to 8900 Euro regardless. Through literally blood, sweat and tears!
My mother was proud, and always dressed for occasion. I can still recall often discussing what went with what. Even if she ran to work to get in her training, I always remember someone being convinced to take in her smart attire for her on a daily basis and even the waterproof wear for the usual Dutch downpour was never forgotten. This was a lot of pre-planning on her side. Having landed now in an office job myself where I often have to represent at events, I often think of our mother-daughter advice, and it was after another ruined pair of pumps because of a sudden spring shower, I had to ask myself why neither jellies, havanas, crocs nor wellingtons would have been appropriate… so why not stilettos? With this, the concept was born. It seemed a natural step further to create footwear in different colours, much like the charity associated bracelets, and henceforth, because of the unique properties of material we use now, and what they represent, both The Glow Brand and our slogan “Pump Up Your Glow” came into being.
What makes The Glow Brand unique?
The Glow Brand is unique for me because of what it stands for personally. My suppliers will tell you that it is unique because of the high-grade materials and technology used for the first time in a shoe to make it as vibrantly colourful and comfortable to wear as it is. Our customers will say it is unique because it wraps all major fashion items now hot on the catwalk such as strong neons, plateaus and the plastic shoe trend into one sexy style (just to be clear, the material is a high-grade TPU, not plastic).
Tell me about your time as an MIP MBA.
My reason to do the MBA was strategic-driven. I had always wanted to work in an Italian motorbike company and I had finally moved to Italy only to discover that, without speaking Italian, I was essentially not as interesting as a job candidate when applying for work despite my years of experience and other foreign languages. Not giving up, the MBA offered the opportunity of interesting internship placements which my mother also saw the value in. She was still alive then and this was a real step in my career that I distinctly remember her pushing for.
When I got my first placement in BMW and then the second in Ferrari, not only was I relieved that the hard work was finally paying off (when you are surrounded by classmate geniuses’ my advice to you is not to study to keep up… but rather to study and network). Finally things started to happen. My mother was actually so proud of me that she never really let me know how ill she had become. Sadly, the time I spent with her towards the end can now never be enough, but I understand her sacrifice and I really appreciate the support I got from the MIP thereafter. I missed the official graduation dates, but when I came back for my final presentation, the ties I had developed to both the university and industry is certainly something I could never have done without. A few months ago, I packed up to England where I took up a job at Aston Martin. The MIP MBA is for me both a link to my past and my future. I’m not sure that I would be where I am today, without it. With this, I’d like to take a moment to make a special thank you to the MIP class of 26, 27 and all our professors.
What do you want to tell current MBAs?
Look for the opportunity in each class and don’t hide behind books or printouts. Get up when you ask a question and embrace that mad side of yours that everyone appreciates. Ultimately, let everyone know what you are after but don’t be abrasive about it.
I’m now a self-professed entrepreneur and I highly recommend it. Come join me on this experience, I want you too! This is probably the best “class” of the entire degree. Now, for example, I have to promote visibility for the brand and product and look for opportunities in retail stores which is proving to be again a new and exciting chapter. Each step forward is. I promise you, this is not a “learning curve,” it’s a direct and straight line. This is when you take the chance to do something each day that scares you just a little. You are truly living, my invitation is clear, please feel free to contact me.
What have been some of your proudest accomplishments so far with the The Glow Brand?
The entire evolution from concept to reality of The Glow Brand has been one accomplishment after the next. Nothing was easy, but as a continental foreigner I have not only designed and produced a product in Italy that is truly 100 per cent made-in-Italy, but I have also started the company legally in Germany which was a legal and paperwork effort in itself. There are still many more steps to go before I can truly stop and reflect to decide what I am most proud about. Now, I guess what makes me happy on the inside is that my father tells me that he is proud of me, because then I know my mother would have been too.