REMEMBERING MICKEY ROSMARIN

The Man. The Vision. The Legacy.

 

          Michael Guy "Mickey" Rosmarin passed away suddenly of cardiac arrest, at his home in Houston, Texas on Friday, June 17, at the age of 63. Mickey was the founder and owner of the store Tootsies in Houston, with additional stores in Dallas, Atlanta and San Antonio. 
           At the age 13, Mickey took his Bar Mitzvah money to buy recycled jeans and quilts to sell at area flea markets. Ever the entrepreneur, he began silk screening Rock and Roll handbills and T-shirts to sell to local head shops in the mid-60's. As his business flourished, Mickey opened his own shop, Shiddy Shirts, in a wonderful rambling old building in Old Market Square all while still attending Bellaire High school.
          Mickey opened his first retail space, Honest Threads in Montrose at the age of 17, selling vintage clothing. Just after graduating from high school, he closed Honest Threads and opened Tootsies in the same location. In addition to the vintage wear, Tootsies also carried more glamorous fashion in keeping with the disco era and soon became the center of Houston's burgeoning young fashion scene.
          He later moved Tootsies to Westheimer in the Galleria area of Houston, and it was a hit. As Tootsies expanded, the merchandise became more exclusive. By the late 70s, Tootsies became the first store in town to carry edgy European imports, selected by Mickey on his trips aboard. In 1985, Mickey expanded his storefront to 15,000 square feet in Highland Village Shopping Center, solidifying Tootsies as a pioneer in specialty store retailing, with carefully curated merchandise ranging from European and American designers to contemporary collections, jewelry, shoes and accessories. Mickey experienced continued success in the industry, and in 2011 he opened his most magnificent store to date, at the corner of Westheimer and Kirby. The 35,000 square-foot store is the mainstay in West Ave, and Tootsies is host to countless charity fundraisers and trunk shows. 
          For over 40 years, Mickey tirelessly supported the Houston community through generous financial contributions and by hosting innumerable philanthropic events in the store. His commitment to community service, his dynamic personality, along with his passion for retail and merchandising, contributed to Tootsies' success.
          Mickey loved his life, Tootsies and his associates, life-long friends, new friends and family. His legacy and vision for Tootsies will continue.


I’m devastated to hear this terrible news. I loved Mickey, he was a very special person to me. I will always remember he was among the first to spot my work at the beginning of my career. He shall be terribly missed.
— Andrew Gn

Passionate with impeccable taste. The day he came to me and said he liked my line I knew I had a future in this business.
— Claudia Lobão

I was saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Mickey. He was clearly a genius of the retail world but more than that he was a great spirit and visionary. Sybil and I will miss him.
— David Yurman

Mickey and Tootsies are a unique moment in retail history in America, and everyone will miss you.
— Diane von Furstenberg

He gave me my first order 16 years ago. I was totally new to the accessories business and Mickey and his team took a chance on me. He was a retail Titan. Everyone in the industry wanted a spot in Tootsies. And he gave me a shot. He was open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and to be quite honest, in this industry, that’s not the norm. People tend to stick to what they know. Not Mickey. I think that’s why he’s often called a visionary. Visionaries see the potential of what lies ahead. They aren’t stuck in what is. They see the ideal, the best possible version of what could be. That was Mickey.
I have tears streaming down my face as I write this because the world won’t be as fun or interesting or beautiful without Mickey Rosmarin in it.
— Elaine Turner

I have no words to describe my shock ,and the loss that we are all experiencing. Tootsies is like family to me. I know that I am not the only one who feels this way as Tootsies is a family to so many in our city. It is a rare but beautiful thing to see someone give so much of themselves to those around them. He was an amazing role model and entrepreneur with a real gift for vision and talent. He gave so many artists and people within the fashion industry their start and as a result changed many lives in the process. He not only changed the course of my life by giving me my start, but he made an impact on all the lives of the people who work at Armenta. I will forever be grateful and will never forget.

I wish that I had had more time with him. I know that Mickey was interested in the entrepreneurship classes that I teach at Rice’s business school. We had talked about signing him up to speak at the school about his journey as an entrepreneur. I am deeply sad that we did not have enough time to share his story and lessons in life with the students and faculty. Since our time was cut short and he was not able to share his journey, it is now our job to tell the story and continue to support his vision.

Mickey, I will never forget you and all of the great things that you have done. You have given me examples and teachings in life to strive for.
— Emily Armenta

I am sad and heartbroken to hear of Mickey’s passing ... he was a visionary who inspired beauty. His passion captivated our hearts and he will never be forgotten.
— Jill Reno

Mickey was a wonderful man who gave and gave. Our Mother and Dad, Maxine and Emil Mesinger, had the benefit of Mickey’s friendship and love. As an employer, Mickey gave our Father a dignity and respect that was unique. Thank you Mickey, and we are sure 5 o’clock in Heaven will be even more fun. Our mortal loss is Heaven’s gain.
— Julie Mesinger Haas and Jay Mesinger

Mickey was a guiding light not only to me, but to many other designers. He was a friend who was always there for you. His love for fashion, friendship and fun will be etched forever in my heart. We love you Mickey.
— Naeem and Ranjana Khan

Over 20 years ago, Mickey introduced my jewelry line into his stores. I am forever grateful and honored to be a part of Mickey’s dynamic and creative venture known world-wide as Tootsies.
— Rebecca Lankford

Mickey was an icon in the fashion industry; he led the forefront of retailers in elevating the sense of style he envisioned for his clients and the world.
— Stephen Dweck and Edmund Dweck