Steve Madden is a publicly traded company based in New York City and one of the most well-known shoe designers of the past 30 years. Getting its start in 1990, the company became synonymous with 1990’s fashion. The brand never lost momentum, gaining new fans all the time. Read on to find out more about Steve Madden.
Number One: Steve Madden Served Jail Time. He went to jail in ’02 after being accused of money laundering, stock manipulation, and securities fraud through his friend’s company, Stratton Oakmont. Madden completed 31 months of a 41-month sentence, after which he spent time in a NYC halfway house and 2 months under house arrest.
Number Two: The Company Puts on Secret Concerts. A while back, Steve Madden launched Steve Madden Music, which looks to combine music with fashion. The company has put on several secret shows in the last few years with emerging artists, which Madden posts on the brand’s website.
Number Three: The Shoes Have Famous Fans. In the 90’s, Steve Madden’s designs became so popular that Hollywood celebrities started wearing them. Some of its famous customers have included Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyssa Milano, Carmen Electra, Neve Campbell and Mary J. Blige, among others.
Number Four: The Company Started with One Shoe and $1000. Getting his start on Long Island in 1990, Steve only had $1,100 when he made his first shoe design. The Marilyn, a western clog with a thick sole, was manufactured on credit and sold out of the trunk of his car. The shoe became a major hit as the popular culture of the 1990’s saw a rise in 1970’s – inspired fashion. A second shoe, the Mary-Lou, a variation on the Mary-Jane with a bump-toe, was created following the previous one’s popularity and was also a big hit with teenagers. Steve Madden now owns 100+ shoe stores in the U.S. and another 190 across the globe.
Number Five: The Founder Spends Time in His Stores. Before his arrest, it was not uncommon to find him hanging around his flagship NY store during the week or on the weekend.
Number Six: Steve Madden Owns the Betsey Johnson Brand. In ’10, the brand bought Johnson’s debts, a deal that made him the owner of the Betsey Johnson brand. The two act as partners, though, with Johnson still designing her own fashions and Madden taking care of the business and its expansion.
Number Seven: Madden Was Featured as a Character in a Hollywood Blockbuster. When Martin Scorsese made a feature film out of Jordan Belfort’s autobiography, The Wolf of Wall Street, in ’13, Steve Madden was a character in the film. He was played by Jake Hoffman.
Number Eight: Steve Gets Inspired by People on the Street. Madden has said that his inspiration for the company moving forward comes from seeing what people on the street are wearing “from New York to London and beyond.”
Number Nine: The Founder Married His Former Director of Operations. While still in prison, he proposed to his girlfriend, former Steve Madden, Ltd. director of operations Wendy Ballew, and the couple married in ’06. They have three children.
Number Ten: SM Expanded His Business to More Than Just Shoes. In the last 7 years, Madden has started selling more clothing and accessories in his stores. His product line now includes outerwear, watches, belts, handbags, jewelry, sun wear and hosiery.
Number Eleven: The Founder is Known for His Chunky Heels and Rock’n’Roll Inspiration. Steve Madden’s signature chunky heel was inspired by his love of 1970’s Rock’n’Roll. He has said that the style fuses rock and roll with “a jolt of sex appeal and urban edge.” Thanks for reading!
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