Vince Camuto, founder and CEO of Camuto Group, had a personality that loomed as large as his achievements.
After more than a half century in the business, the industry leader had a lot to say about the footwear business, his associates as well as his many friends in the industry.
Here, in his own words, are Vince Camuto’s thoughts about life in the shoe business — from its ongoing challenges to its opportunities.
On his expanding licensing business, stores and markets (WWD, July 2014):
“Our motto is, ‘You can do whatever you want in this company and you can grow very quickly.'”
At a dinner to mark the launch of his store in the U.K. (WWD, May 2013):
“What’s better than London? It’s the crossroads of Europe. People come here from everywhere. From Asia and the Middle East.”
On receiving FN’s Lifetime Achievement Award (FN, Dec. 2, 2013,):
“If you look at the successes of the best companies in America, it was the culture that was built and remained long after the principals weren’t there. It’s never about one person. It’s the teams you put in place. Without the right people, you’re nowhere.”
On the launch of his men’s wear collection (WWD, Nov. 2012):
“We’ve always given women great value and style and if we can do the same for men, we think it’s a home run.”
On receiving FN’s Brand of the Year Achievement Award (FN, Nov. 28, 2011):
“I’m with fashion every single day, and we’re constantly exploring. That’s why we’ve always been excited about the [industry], because the shoe business changes every 90 days, so you have to be on trend.”
In an interview about the future growth of his then 8-year-old company (FN, Feb. 2010):
“Vince Camuto is our biggest opportunity. Our main focus is to build it into a $1 billion brand. We fee great about the direction of the product. It’s a little more sophisticated customer [than some of the other brands], so we’re excited.”
On the acquisition of footwear powerhouse U.S. Shoe (1995):
“When we first went public in 1993, we were about $550 million [in sales]. Now we needed to grow about 15 percent a year. So we acquired U.S. Shoe, a company that was bigger than us. We saw they didn’t have the design resources they needed [to grow].”
On Nine West going public (1993):
“We had a great story. We wanted to go public in 1992, in June, but the market collapsed and they wanted to offer us half our value. We felt it wasn’t necessary. When you feel strong about something, you don’t go on weakness, you go on strength. So we waited until the next year.”