Schwartz & Benjamin Milestone: Tracing 90 Years

For nine decades, Schwartz & Benjamin has led the industry with its licensing model and reaped the rewards.

1923 — Company is founded by Benjamin Schwartz and Benjamin Benjamin and the partners open a shoe factory in Brooklyn, N.Y., selling shoes under the Customcraft label. Eventually, the factory moves to Manhattan.

1934 — Ben Schwartz creates and directs The Shoe Club of New York, a charitable group for shoe people in need.

1946 — Ben’s son, Arthur Schwartz, joins the company.

1951 — The Shoe Club merges with Two Ten Footwear Foundation. Ben Schwartz is named regional chairman of New York.

1955 —
Eli Footer joins the company as a salesman and eventually becomes co-chairman in 1995.

1958 —
Construction begins on factory in Lynn, Mass.

Early-1960s —
The firm introduces ground-breaking Cloud 7 style.

1962 — Company enters into design collaboration with Charles Jourdan for Customcraft.

1968 — Arthur Schwartz is named president.

1969 —
Phyllis Footer joins the firm on a part-time basis and is eventually made a VP of product, where she works with such designers as Donna Karan and Andrea Pfister (at right).
Company signs Yves Saint Laurent license for the U.S. and Canada, beginning a 31-year collaboration.

1970 —
Givenchy taps the company as a licensee, kicking off a 12-year partnership.

1972 — Arthur Schwartz and Luigino Rossi establish a 35-year manufacturing relationship on a handshake.

1974 — Ben Schwartz passes away.
Massachusetts shoe factory closes, and the business shifts to a predominantly licensing model as all manufacturing moves to Italy.
Firm inks deal for Anne Klein license, beginning a 33-year relationship.

1975 — Danny Schwartz, at 22 years old, joins his father in the business.

1976 — Barbara Rienzo (Schwartz) joins the company as a showroom model and receptionist.

1978 — Porsche Design men’s and women’s driving shoes are introduced.

1982 — Givenchy license ends.

1986 — Loran Wurdeman joins firm as controller, based in Massachusetts.

1990 — Firm adds and begins marketing the Anne Klein II brand in addition to Anne Klein.

1992 — Arthur Schwartz is inducted into Footwear News’ Hall of Fame.
The A Line Anne Klein brand is added.

1993 — Danny Schwartz becomes president.
Loran Wurdeman is named CFO based in Massachusetts.

Late-1990s —
Company begins importing shoes from Brazil.

1999 — Eli Footer is inducted into the FN Hall of Fame.

2000 —
Steve Shapiro joins the firm as VP and division head of all Anne Klein collections.
Licensing deal inked with Michael Kors.
Gucci purchases Yves Saint Laurent and brings the YSL footwear business in-house.

2001 — Company opens new sales showroom and product development studio on 57th Street in New York.
License agreement signed with Kate Spade New York.

2002 — Arthur Schwartz retires.

2003 —
Danny Schwartz is named chairman of FFANY.
Eli Footer retires.

2005 — Firm signs licensing deal with Juicy Couture.
License for Kors by Michael Kors line begins.

2006 —
Phyllis Footer is inducted into the FN Hall of Fame.
Company launches the Daniblack label.

2007 —
Danny Schwartz succeeds Arthur as CEO.
Steve Shapiro is named president.
Barbara Schwartz is named director of product development.
Firm signs Diane von Furstenberg worldwide footwear license.
Licensing agreement with Anne Klein ends.
Phyllis Footer retires.

2009 — Company ends nine-year licensing partnership with Michael Kors.
Seven for All Mankind inks licensing deal.

2011 — Danny Schwartz receives A.A. Bloom Award from Two Ten.
Danny again becomes chairman of FFANY.
Firm enters into a production agreement with Rebecca Minkoff.

2012 — Global licensing deal begins for the Derek Lam and 10 Crosby Derek Lam lines.
Company receives the Footwear Company of the Year Award at the American Image Awards.

2013 — Firm celebrates 90th anniversary.