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By early 2001, Steven Madden, Limited, was a rising star in the shoe business. Madden manufactured shoes, mostly targeted to young women, and sold them to major department and specialty stores, as well as in its own Steve Madden retail stores.

The company was hot. Earnings soared 41 percent in 2000 on a 26 percent increase in sales. The company owed its success to founder Steven Madden's ability to tune in to the tastes of the fashion conscious junior marketplace. Also, the company had an advantage over the competition because Madden had devised a method of cutting the development time for new shoe styles down from many months to 60 to 90 days.


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