One of the word’s most famous shoe designer, Steve Madden grew up in one of Long islands smallest towns Cedarhurst, New York. At a very young age Steve began dealing shoes making his own money by working for a local shoe store called Toulouse, which allowed him to consider the possibilities of this amazing market. “I was sixteen years old,” he recalled in an interview with Johanna Berkman for New York Magazine. “My boss was 26. He had his own business. He was this really cool guy. He drove a Mercedes. He was my idol.”
After graduating from High School, Madden made his way down to the University of Miami in Florida. Life was grand, only for a short period of time before his irate father reused to continue paying for his tuition so he could party and play golf year-round instead of studying. When Steve returned home he began looking for another job when he came across Jildor, a women’s clothing boutique, but quickly switched gears and found himself living in New York City, where he planted his roots in Greenwich Village and worked as a sales representative for a L.J. Simone, a wholesale store for women’s boots. He stayed with them for many years to come, holding many different positions and learning the business. Around the same time, Steve was battling a substance abuse problem in the summer of nineteen eighty-eight, not long after he resigned from L.J. Simone Steve was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Madden quickly decided signing himself into a rehabilitation program.
Driven to start his own company, Steve Teamed up with a colleague from Simone, but the venture, which they referred to as ‘Souliers’ failed miserably. In the early years of the nineteen nineties, Madden took matters into his own hands and launched his own company, naming it directly after himself and using a single line of credit to pay for the minimal five hundred pairs of shoes he designed. When the final product was completed, Madden had nearly a little more...
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