Peek into any woman’s closet in the U.S. and I’ll show you a pair of Steve Madden heels. Since 1990, Steve Madden has helmed one of America’s most successful shoe companies and segued into clothing and accessories. Recently in town for a personal appearance at Nordstrom Dadeland Mall, we chat up the New York native on his buzzing empire, his other passion (watch your back, Tiger Woods) and his sentiments on the holiday season.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that every gal in America owns a pair of Steve Madden shoes. To what do you attribute your astounding success? I make trendy and affordable shoes for all different types of women. Real women inspire me.
I love that you started your company in 1990 with a mere $1,000 in your bank account. That takes a lot of chutzpah! I loved the work and I have a lot of energy so it felt like the right thing to do.
Do you still work from your birthplace of Queens? Absolutely. It’s the greatest.
You are arguably America’s most successful shoe designer, in one word, what does it take to succeed in the rough-and-tumble world of fashion? You’ve got to always look ahead, not at past successes. I love what I do, too, and that’s an important ingredient.
For two decades now, you’ve been running a major fashion empire — from shoes to dresses to handbags to hosiery— what’s next? There are some exciting things coming down the pike but I can’t tell you all my secrets!
When designing, do you have any rituals — like playing a particular kind of music, burning candles and so forth? I’m constantly working on things in my head. I can be anywhere and if an idea pops up, I jot it down in my notebook.
When in Miami, where do you find yourself visiting? I like to go to my stores. I also love stopping at the restaurants and looking at the architecture here.
If you weren’t a shoe mogul, what would you be? A golf pro.
Holiday: BAH HUMBUG!
Travel spot: Los Angeles