MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Walking into the name-brand shoe store with the man behind the name, Steve Madden is a bit surreal.
As Lisa Petrillo found out, it was kick to hear it all began when he was a high school shoe salesman in Cedarhurst, New York.
“There was something about it. I fell in love with the whole idea of trying to make hit shoes,” he explained. “And then I was hired by a company and then went into the wholesale business and then went on my own in 1990.”
Everyone knows the name, but for years no one knew there was a real man behind it.
“So, let’s talk about the brand. Many people just thought Steve Madden was like The Gap, not a person.” Petrillo said.
“That is true, because my face was not out there, thank God,” Madden said laughing. “I wasn’t well known.”
Now there’s a new documentary about his life called “Maddman: The Steve Madden Story” that chronicles his rise to fame and his fall as well.
In 2002, Madden went to jail for securities fraud. Once out, he decided that he had a story to tell.
“There was a movie made about my past called ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ so those kind of things were the confluence that made me want to do the film,” he explained.
“You have an amazing career path and a checkered path as well, yes?” Petrillo asked.
“Yeah, checkered. It’s warts and all. The picture is not clean. It doesn’t make me look that good. I’ve endured my own mistakes, but it’s not pretty,” Madden said. “I have learned and grown from that experience as horrible as it was.”
Now Madden’s business is bigger than ever.
“Is it still cool for you to see that we’re here on Lincoln Road and see so many people walking around in your shoes still?” Petrillo asked
“It’s always great to see people wearing my shoes. I get such a kick out of it, but I don’t feel any different than I did as a little boy. I’m still trying to impress someone,” he said.
Impressive, yes, and thankful for second chances.
“That’s the great thing about our country, it’s a country of second chances, right?” he said.
“Maddman: The Steve Madden Story” will be on Amazon and iTunes on December 1st. It’s available for pre-order on iTunes right now.