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It's the life blood of Steve Madden. It's been ingrained in the spirit of our company since Steve founded it with $1100, twenty-eight years ago. Self Made started as an homage to our fearless leader and has evolved into a celebration of the self starter. We're proud of the men and women who are portraying their inspiring stories and representing our brand and we're excited to bring their stories to you.

Made by one’s own actions; especially, having achieved success or prominence by one’s own efforts. “He is a self made man”

A true entrepreneur, Steve Madden, with a bold $1100 investment in 1990 has developed one of the most iconic brands in footwear. His successes are a testament to his unparalleled drive, one that has transformed a business he started with the help of his doorman, into a multi-billion dollar company. Authentic, innovative and truly inspirational, Steve is the definition of Self Made.

"Ask for help. get people to help you with your dream, because at some point you can't do it all."

"To be really successful you need focus and drive and singularness of purpose."

"To be really successful you need focus and drive and singularness of purpose."

The men and women of Self Made have proven their entrepreneurship - just like Steve himself - through ambition, fearlessness and relentless dedication. By celebrating these self starters we hope to inspire you to believe in yourself and be Self Made.


NEW YORK, NY ADAM-45 CEO and co-founder,
Jane Motorcycles @ADAM_JANEMOTO

Adam answered his entrepreneurial calling by co-founding JANE Motorcycles in Brooklyn, NY. JANE is a men’s clothing brand with a full espresso cafe that builds custom motorcycles.

How do you define Self Made? Self Made to me means following my heart and not what the mainstream says I must do. Forging new paths and redefining what is possible. Any inspiring routines we should know about?Meditation in the morning, workout at least 4 times a week, eat healthy, laugh as much as possible.

NEW YORK, NY Ryan Cheney-37 &
Nate Hodge-31
Founder & CEO /
Co-founder head & chocolate maker @raakachocolate

Ryan entered chocolate land by way of a mystic yoga school in Thailand. He works to bridge soul and commerce by pioneering new frontiers in chocolate and running Raaka in a way that maximizes positive social impact.

How do you define Self Made? No woman is an island, and you can't do it alone. You have to believe in something deeply enough to undergo the intense strain of bringing something new into the world, and you have to spread that passion to others to build a team. While no one is purely self made, the term makes sense to reflect people who start from modest beginnings and via grit and persistence push to bring something big the world. What has been the biggest challenge?Chocolate is a mature and crowded industry. Profitability requires scaling, and it's tough to scale in a crowded industry.

Nathan is a culinary enthusiast from Chicago in search of all the flavors the world has to offer. “I want to connect different worlds through simple pleasures.”

How do you define Self Made? To me, Self Made is anyone that creates a sustainable job for themselves and others out of nothing or close to nothing. Where do you feel most inspired? When I'm greeted with a warm meal by a poor subsistence farmer while I'm sourcing cocoa beans. People have the capacity to be generous regardless of their standing in the world. Generous people deserve more reward, that's what drives and inspires me.

value the people
you meet
and the places life takes you.”

“No one is the 'most important' person in the room. Wait in line. Be kind. Be patient.”

NEW YORK, NY JessE-34 Founding Partner, Halogen Ventures @Jessecdraper

Jesse is a founding partner at Halogen Ventures where she invests in consumer technology companies. She is also creator and host of Emmy nominated television series "The Valley Girl Show".

Where do you feel most inpired? I feel most inspired on the beach. When I am at the beach it usually means I am out of the office and have some time to breathe and reflect versus the usual ebb and flow of work, kids, life. I think it's important for everyone to make that time for themselves. It's hard to be inspired without downtime.

What’s a normal day like? My 2 year old wakes me up at 6AM. I get my 6 month old up. We make a full breakfast every morning because if I have late meetings I miss seeing the kids before bed so this is the time we spend together. My incredible nanny comes around 7. I quickly shower and head to work. Oh wait! COFFEE! Then head to work. Work changes day to day. I had to ask my amazing chief of staff to start scheduling no more than 5 things a day because then I have space to fit other things that pop up as priorities in. Plus, more than 5 external meetings or calls a day is exhausting and you end up being fried and not doing anything well.


Manny was born in Russia and came to America at the age of 8. He was raised and currently lives in Forest Hills, NYC where he works as a Master Barber.

How do you define Self Made? Hard work, perseverance, patience. Most importantly, don’t listen to anyone but yourself and your gut feeling. Do not be afraid to fail. People closest to me would tell me all the reasons why I shouldn’t and can’t. If I listened to everything everybody told me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Favorite New York City spots? Gansevoort Rooftop, Bagatelle, The Polo Bar, Central Park, Sarger’s Deli - the best!

“Everyday I work towards what I want. Life rewards my consistency.”




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