Canadian businessman Aldo Bensadoun is the founder of Aldo Group, a Montréal-based footwear and accessories design and manufacturing group that has expanded to over 1,600 stores in 80 countries since its founding over 40 years ago. Moroccan-born Bensadoun has shoemaking in his blood. His grandfather was a cobbler working in Algeria; his father owned multiple shoe stores in Morocco and France.
Bensadoun grew up in the south of France, but headed to the United States to attend Cornell University in New York on a scholarship. However, on a trip to Montréal, he found himself fascinated by the city and soon transferred to McGill University to complete his undergraduate studies.
After completing compulsory French military service and a stint as an economics professor, Bensadoun returned to his beloved Montréal and launched Aldo as a shoe concession within the department store Le Chateau in 1972. By 1993, the company had expanded to the United States – a famously tricky market for Canadian businesses – and by the company’s 40th anniversary in 2012, it was turning over an estimated $1.8 billion.
The brand’s shoes are designed, produced, and delivered within a matter of weeks, a process that ensures current styles and on-trend products at accessible prices. A vertically-integrated model allows Aldo to quickly turn around designs and cut out middlemen on distribution and manufacturing. Today, the company owns multiple brands and a white label business that produces footwear for department stores like Kohl’s and JC Penney.
Aldo Group is still privately owned by Bensadoun.