Steve Madden: It’s the shoes

May 23, 2013, 10:52 AM UTC

Fastest-Growing Companies rank: No. 56
CEO: Edward Rosenfeld
Headquarters: Long Island City, N.Y.
Employees: 2,650 (1,800 full-time)
The business: Name-brand fashion designer specializing in footwear, handbags

To uncover the secret behind Steve Madden’s financial growth, take a hint from the company’s Nasdaq ticker symbol: SHOO (SHOO). Sure, the shoemaker has launched successful ventures in accessories (Steve Madden handbag sales jumped 118% in 2012) and opened 20 stores last year, but the money continues to be in high-quality footwear. “Our core Steve Madden shoe business has been growing like a weed over the last five years,” says CEO Edward Rosenfeld. Since Rosenfeld took over as CEO in 2008, Steve Madden’s stock has increased more than 343%, and revenues have nearly tripled, to $1.23 billion in 2012. Last year, wholesale footwear accounted for $794 million in revenue for the company, a 24.8% increase over 2011. Rosenfeld takes no credit for the company’s growth, however, instead directing the focus toward the company’s eponymous founder and creative design chief, Steve Madden. “Steve is the Rihanna of the shoe business,” says Rosenfeld. “He’s just churning out hit after hit.”

This story is from the June 10, 2013 issue of Fortune.

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