It shouldn’t be any wonder to anyone why Salvatore Ferragamo is a hero of mine, and once I tell you a bit of the incredible tale of his life, you’ll see why. His is a story of hardwork and perseverance that saw him rise up from a small village outside Naples to become one of Hollywood’s most important shoe makers.
Humble beginnings and hard work
Salvatore Ferragamo was born just before the turn of the 20th century, 1898, in a small village outside Naples called Bonito. He was the 11th of 14 children, and it was at age 11 that he became an apprentice to a shoemaker and created his first pair of shoes. Although he had always shown a passion for shoes, it was after making a pair for his sisters’ confirmation that he became dedicated to the craft. He opened his own store, run out of his parents’ home, when he was just 13 years old.
At 16, Ferragamo emigrated to the United States, landing with one of his brothers in Boston. His brother worked at a cowboy boot factory, and Salvatore took a job at the same factory, where he worked until the early 20s. During this time, he became fascinated with the modern machinery and production process, though he also grew to understood how their efficiency sacrificed quality for quantity.
It wouldn’t be long before young Salvatore left his job at the cowboy boot factory and convinced his brother to move with him to Hollywood, where he would lay the foundations of what would later become his company.