Recovering from the crisis

I’m in the middle of telling the inspiring story of Salvatore Ferragamo, how he overcame his humble beginnings and a great number of adversities, demonstrating perseverance, ingenuity, and passion in his quest to create a shoe empire. In the first entry, I detailed Ferragamo’s early life, and in the last post, I described his ascent to becoming “shoemaker to the stars.”

Recovering from The Depression

Just two years after Ferragamo left his successful store in California, Hollywood Boot Shop, to set up in Florence, Italy, the Great Depression devastated the U.S. The Depression left the U.S. economy in shambles, and decimated Ferragamo’s primary consumer market. Business was so bad that he was forced to shutter the business after just two years.

Ferragamo, nevertheless, persevered. Despite what could have been a crippling blow to his hopes and confidence, he decided to turn his attentions to his home country of Italy. By 1936, business was booming again: he was renting two workshops and a storefront in Florence. Mussolini had incurred sanctions against Italy during this time, but it didn’t matter: Ferragamo produced some of his most successful designs. His work was so well-liked in his home country, that he was able to purchase the entirety of the Palazzo Spini Feroni, a famous Italian fortress in Florence, as his shop. The building has been the company’s headquarter’s since 1936.

A successful life

When the war ended, Ferragamo’s shoes became successful around the world, and became a symbol of Italian design and success. Ferragamo married in 1940 and had six children, living until 1960. Today, his family still runs the business.


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