Steve Madden, founder and design chief of a multibillion-dollar eponymous shoe model, is aware of one thing about being sanguine in a troublesome 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 artistic and design chief.
“First thing I learned in prison is to not whine about my situation. It was not helpful,” Madden mentioned. “You can easily get into ‘woe is me’ – everybody does. But you’re better off looking at the positive.”
Last fall, Madden printed 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 habit.
Madden, 62, talked to Reuters about all the teachings he realized alongside the best way and the way he’s surviving this pandemic. Edited excerpts are under.
Q. What is the hardest job you’ve got 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 a must to discover ways to be subservient and work laborious and listen. But the largest factor I realized was how one can promote and what girls need. That was a giant factor.
Q. What saved you entering into jail?
A. I labored out rather a lot, and I learn a number of novels. I used to be all the time a reader however having the ability to take flight and go to a different place once you learn the guide – it was actually fantastic. I learn a number of ’70s and ’80s novels as a result of that’s what was out there to me – Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance, The Winds of War. I learn all of the books by Mario Puzo and Dominick Dunne. I like novels that ring true.
Q. What is your greatest problem now?
A. Spending a number of time alone shouldn’t be the best place for somebody who’s a recovering addict. An alcoholic by himself is behind enemy strains. So I’ve been speaking to different alcoholics and addicts on-line. I’ve discovered that a bit little bit of concern might help you keep sober. I do know as soon as I open that lure door there’s no coming again – and that’s very scary.
Q. What large lesson did you study in 2020?
A. I all the time thought it will be dangerous footwear or one thing that will do me in – I didn’t suppose it will be a bug. While you’re by no means ready for one thing like this, I believe try to be ready to lose some issues. Anything can occur. Stay considerably humble and know that a few of the presents in our lives could be taken away.
Q. What is one of the best piece of recommendation you’ve got acquired?
A. The little issues are vastly essential. It’s one thing I realized from this fellow I labored for on the shoe retailer. If one of many shoe shows within the window was tousled, he would simply lose his thoughts, as a result of what’s the message you’re sending about your small business to the general public? There’s a line from a W.H. Auden poem that I like, “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’ve got for these beginning out proper now?
A. There’s all the time time for a brand new thought, good concepts and laborious work. I can’t bear 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 all the time room for one thing new.
Q. What do you suppose work apparel will appear to be after the pandemic?
A. Right now, I put on my pajamas rather a lot. 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 may solely see me from the chest up. After work-from-home, I believe individuals are going to be extra informal. Sneakers are going to be extra essential. I believe costume footwear will likely be a casualty of struggle.