Tommy Mallet has revealed he was motivated to launch his multi-million pound trainer empire, Mallet London, after being turned away from Selfridges department store because of his appearance. The former TOWIE star, 30, had been labouring on a nearby building site for a ‘very rich family’s house’ when he was declined entry into the swanky establishment which now stocks his brand’s shoes.
Despite his successes, he went on to admit that ‘money ruined his life at one stage’, adding that he feels ‘horrendous’ when his hectic schedule forces him to miss the ‘best bits’ from his 13-month-old son Brody’s life.
Speaking candidly on The Busi-Ness Podcast with Emily Austen, he began: ‘I went into Selfridges and didn’t feel I belonged in there because I can’t afford anything. ‘I know this is a really cliched story, yeah, but I was working on a job opposite Selfridges and one day, I went in there to have a little look about.
‘I had dusty work clothes on and they never let me in. And I’ve never told anyone that because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me but when they never let me in that place, I was like, “What?” ‘I thought I was doing alright at the time and then from then, I was like, I just rebelled against all of that life, of going into shops and not being treated right and having to spend a thousand pounds on pair of shoes.
‘So, that’s where it started. I wanted to bring something into the market which was accessible and affordable for everybody.’Detailing his humble beginnings and the negativity he had about wanting money, he continued: ‘I had never had nothing. All I knew as a kid is my mom working two jobs.
‘And everything growing up, which had negativity around it, was around money and it caused a lot of upset. There was never any positivity around money when I was growing up.’ Tommy, who is now worth £6million after his company boomed during the pandemic, added that he’ll never rest on his laurels and is always thinking of what he can do next.
He explained: ‘I don’t release a shoe and then it becomes the best seller in Selfridges and I think lovely, that’s the best selling shoe for the next 10 years.‘The next day I’m drawing the next big, biggest thing and I’m waiting for the failure so I can bounce back from it. I like… I’ll get a kick out of it. I know it sounds nuts, but I’ll get a kick out of showing people how I bounce back so quick.
‘And when I’m telling you, I had zero. My family had no money. I never had no money. I didn’t know anyone with money, but I had a business partner who was my friend who had a little bit of money and we gambled that money.’
Touching on the dark side of having money, the star went on: ‘Money ruined my life at one stage. Money ruined my life and I’m not depressed. I thought I was depressed. I’m not depressed. I had a stress breakdown for money, but when I was working for someone, I was happy.
‘I used to turn my phone off on Friday and go work on Monday but money’s something which I chased for so long and I had this big thought of how it was going to end when I got it to the point when I got it, I’d eat burger and chips for dinner.
‘Got half a million pounds worth of cars and I walk to the station. I don’t spend any money or nothing. I give money away most of the time, but I don’t post it on social media but I spend a lot of my time. If I feel s**t about myself, I’ll go down the West End and I’ll give money to people all day and I’ll go home and I feel good about it. So that’s what money does for me.
‘Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know that my mum and dad’s house ain’t going to get repossessed and I know that my misses is going to be happy and my kids are going to go be educated and if I want to send them private school, I can send them private school and I know I ain’t going to worry about any bills.
‘But I don’t get up in the morning and go, “Yes, I got money.” I wake up in the morning feeling sick because my ambition’s hurting me.’ Tommy, who welcomed son Brody with fiancée Georgia Kousoulou in May last year also told Emily that if he had an extra hour in the day, he would ‘be with my little boy’.
He went on: ‘It’s tough man and I’m going through it at the minute because I’ve just spent so much time with him and he’s 10 months and he’s like learning to talk and he’s saying “Dad” and I can’t stay at home because I’ve got an office at my house, I’ve got a gym at my house and I go in the gym and just at the minute, if I had an hour, even another 20 minutes, it’d be good, but I’ve not.
‘I go home and a lot of the time he’s going to bed and I’ll just feel terrible to the point where it makes me want to retire, for them five minutes that I see him, that he’s getting lifted up the stairs and he’s waving. I’m like, s**t, why am I doing this?
‘And then I’m also working to give him a good life, but I’m missing out the best bits. And I feel horrendous. I feel terrible about it.’ Tommy then reflected, saying: ‘It’s just one of them things and I’ll be honest with you, it looks like I’m living the dream. But it’s empty because I want to be at home with my son. I want to be there teaching my kids stuff.
‘I’m making a sacrifice and it will be worth it and that’s why I’m so hard on what I’m doing it and that’s why I don’t really sounds aggressive when I’m saying I ain’t letting anyone get near me because I’m not wasting this time away from him.’