A Vision That Couldn’t Be Jailed

Anyone with a passion for fashion or Martin Scorsese films will have heard of Steve Madden, the American icon who built a multi-billion dollar shoe brand and featured as a key figure in Hollywood’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’.

While his achievements are incredibly impressive, the journey to fame and fortune included a number of controversial hurdles that would put most people out of sorts, and certainly out of business – but not Steve Madden.

Madden started out in 1990 with just USD 1100, selling shoes from his car. Sheer determination and inspired creativity soon saw the brand grow to revolutionise the shoe industry entirely.

“My fantasy is to make every shoe for every person in the world,” Madden said.

The brand sold throughout 80 countries worldwide, and became renowned for its current, daring and innovative designs that dynamically responded to, anticipated, and even created global trends.

Business was going well. However, after being found guilty of stock manipulation, Madden was sentenced to over 2 years in federal prison, slamming the breaks on his career and personal life.

But Madden’s unique ambition and eccentricity drove him to make use of his jail time and maintain a commercial mindset. He even began mentoring inmates to channel their illegal skills into positive entrepreneurial spirit.

After his sentence, Madden admitted accountability and regret for his crimes, saying, “I was upset that I took shortcuts… I’m still trying to grow and evolve as a person.” As Madden returned to work with reignited passion, he made the bold choice to help rebuild the lives of his former inmates over time by offering them employment at his company.

Beyond the trend-setting product evolutions and fine-tuned sales and marketing strategies, the Steve Madden brand benefited from Madden’s unwavering desire to succeed and make an impact. In 2016, the brand made USD 1.4 billion of sales, selling 105 pairs of shoes every minute. To this day, Madden is heavily involved with everything from shoe design to store layouts.

The incredible account of how Steve Madden transformed his negative challenges into positive energy to help achieve his goals is now captured in a famous documentary. It tells the story of a man who has paid his price, come back stronger and helped the community in the process. His ability to achieve and self-improve is inspiring. Madden consistently demonstrates his sheer anxiety to matter and will overcome anything in order to make sure he does.


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