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Kenneth Cole

by on June 26, 2008

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Sometimes stories are too good not to repeat. “The Birth of a Shoe Company” as told by Kenneth Cole is one of them.

Twenty years ago, I wanted to open a shoe company with limited money. From experience I knew one had to get in quickly because so often new companies run out of cash flow before they get the chance to conduct business. I also knew it was easier to get credit from factories in Europe who needed the business than from American banks that didn’t. So I lined up the factories, went to Europe, designed a collection of shoes, and returned to the states to sell them.

At the time, a shoe company had two options. You could get a room at the Hilton and become 1 of about 1100 shoe companies selling their goods. This didn’t provide the identity or image I felt necessary for a new company, and it cost a lot more money than I had to spend. The other way was to do what the big companies do and get a fancy showroom in Midtown Manhattan not far from the Hilton. More identity, much more money too.

I had an idea.

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