How shoe tycoon Steve Madden got back on his feet

Steve Madden, founder and design chief of a multibillion-dollar eponymous shoe model, is aware of one thing about being sanguine in a tricky state of affairs.

In 2002, Madden was convicted of inventory manipulation, cash laundering and securities fraud. He was sentenced to 41 months in jail. Madden needed to resign as CEO of Steven Madden Ltd , the corporate he based in 1990 with simply $1,100 within the financial institution. He stays the corporate`s inventive and design chief.

“First thing I learned in prison is to not whine about my situation. It was not helpful,” Madden stated. “You can easily get into `woe is me` – everybody does. But you’re better off looking at the positive.”

Last fall, Madden revealed a memoir, “The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace & Came Back Stronger Than Ever,” about his experiences constructing his firm, his conviction, jail time and restoration from drug dependancy.

Madden, 62, talked to Reuters about all the teachings he discovered alongside the way in which and the way he’s surviving this pandemic. Edited excerpts are beneath.

Q. What is the hardest job you might have had?

A. Working in a shoe retailer. I began once I was 20, at Jildor in Cedarhurst, New York. It rivals jail because the longest two years of my life.

As a shoe salesman, it’s important to discover ways to be subservient and work exhausting and concentrate. But the largest factor I discovered was find out how to promote and what girls need. That was an enormous factor.

Q. What saved you moving into jail?

A. I labored out lots, and I learn a variety of novels. I used to be at all times a reader however having the ability to take flight and go to a different place whenever you learn the ebook – it was actually great. I learn a variety of `70s and `80s novels as a result of that`s what was obtainable to me – Herman Wouk’s “War and Remembrance,” “The Winds of War.” I read all the books by Mario Puzo and Dominick Dunne. I like novels that ring true.

Q. What is your biggest challenge now?

A. Spending a lot of time alone is not the greatest place for someone who`s a recovering addict. An alcoholic by himself is behind enemy lines. So I’ve been talking to other alcoholics and addicts online.

I’ve found that a little bit of fear can help you stay sober. I know once I open that trap door there`s no coming back – and that’s very scary.

Q. What big lesson did you learn in 2020?

A. I always thought it would be bad shoes or something that would do me in – I didn’t think it would be a bug. While you’re never prepared for something like this, I think you should be prepared to lose some things.

Anything can happen. Stay somewhat humble and know that some of the gifts in our lives can be taken away.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you have received?

A. The little things are hugely important. It’s something I learned from this fellow I worked for at the shoe store. If one of the shoe displays in the window was messed up, he would just lose his mind, because what is the message you are sending about your business to the public?

There’s a line from a W.H. Auden poem that I love, “The crack in the tea-cup opens / A lane to the land of the dead.” I don`t even know what Auden meant, however I do know what it means to me – it’s my enterprise philosophy.

Q. What recommendation do you might have for these beginning out proper now?

A. There’s at all times time for a brand new concept, good concepts and exhausting work. I can’t keep in mind ever in my life feeling that I`d hate to be a newcomer beginning out now. I don’t purchase that. There’s at all times room for one thing new.

Q. What do you assume work apparel will seem like after the pandemic?

A. Right now, I put on my pajamas lots. I do Zoom calls and I attempt to put on a pleasant T-shirt, however I’m in pajamas. You can’t see them as a result of you possibly can solely see me from the chest up.

After work-from-home, I believe persons are going to be extra informal. Sneakers are going to be extra vital. I believe costume sneakers will likely be a casualty of battle.


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