7 Questions with Aldo Bensadoun of ALDO Group

So many shoes, so little time


By Wei Yeen Loh

7 Questions with Aldo Bensadoun of ALDO Group

What shoe mogul and entrepreneur Aldo Bensadoun has done with ALDO Group since he founded it over 40 years ago is no mean feat. The Montréal-based footwear and accessories design and manufacturing group currently has over 1,600 stores in 80 countries, all while giving back to the communities over the years by supporting philantrophic causes such as War Child, YouthAIDS, CANFAR, Youth Fusion, and more.


Buro 24/7 Malaysia chats with Aldo Bensadoun about shoe competitors in the industry now, his daily motto and what his corporate culture is like.


1. How does ALDO keep current with the seasonal trends as the market evolves, along with ensuring that customers would want to come back to ALDO for chic, quality-driven shoes?

We have over 40 years of experience in fulfilling consumer desires and trend forecasting. Over these 40 years, we have developed relationships with a network of collaborators – designers, artist, etc. We have designs offices in Montreal, London, Hong Kong, Civitanova and Italy.

We do extensive and relentless travel and research to find what will translate to our customer, understanding what a customer needs and wants. We also analyze the clothing that will be trending that season and also local cultural trends in key markets – design, music, art etc.

Most importantly: Timing. It plays an important role as we always try to offer major fashion trends where the customer needs it, when they need it.


2. Where do you draw inspiration in your life and your business?

I am a strong believer that inspiration comes from all kinds of resources such as history, political movement, economic events that are happening around the world, what people are wearing on the streets, movies, poetry—and all of those have effect on your designs.

3. With the constant challenges from competitor shoe brands nowadays, how does ALDO stay relevant internationally?

We are constantly evolving and re-inventing—nobody is quicker at adjusting shoe styles and retail concepts to suit the demands of fickle, fashion-obsessed customers. We are always on the need to be fashionable and affordable. Our design teams are located in different cities around the world, and they are constantly on the lookout for trends that will appeal to our customers.

We have the privilege relationship with our manufacturing facilities, thus allowing us to deliver styles in a shorter amount of time. On a normal basis, it would take us 6 months from concept or design to shipping to reach the store but now we can deliver the merchandise within 3 months The efficiency of our supply chain enables us to shorten the time between the arrival at our warehouse and delivery to our stores.


4. What is your number one motto that you live by and adhere to everyday, as an entrepreneur?

Do what you really like, enjoy what you do and always stick to your last.


5. What is your vision for ALDO in the next five to ten years?

I want to see the product evolving and growing. Ultimately we want to be a world-leading creator and operator of desirable footwear and accessory brand by delighting our customers and always act with our values of respect, integrity and love.

We are the first Canadian retailer to ever succeed in the United States, and today we have stores in 95 countries. We want to double the business over the next 5 years and we are planning to open more stores, especially in SEA as we see Asia as a growth market. We are thrilled with the new store opening here in Suria KLCC—it’s an iconic location and we want everyone to know that we are here to stay.

6. What do you think makes a successful shoe business that transcends global markets?

I think a brand cannot live by itself. The brand has to evolve with the people and be faithful to its customers; the brand cannot be everything to everybody. You have to focus on a certain kind of customers. For us, we focus on style seekers, the type of people who play or put a huge emphasis on the way they look, the way they are perceive by people and the way they act in life.

As a global brand, you also need to be competent enough to serve a global market by offering a different product with fantastic value to the customers. It is important for the company to have the right sense of what is happening in different cities. We know what customers want and we give them the right product. Delivering good service to the customer is equally important.


7. What is ALDO’s corporate culture like, and what is the idea behind it?

Guided by a strong set of values, we have set out to build a different kind of modern company, one founded on compassion and ethics, aiming to influence society in both fashion and social responsibility. Simply put, we have created a brand with conscience; a brand that cares.

The ALDO Group vision is to make people feel good through the products and services we provide every day. This vision is driven by three core values, which lie at the heart of everything the company does and strives towards:

• Respect: An open-hearted attitude: Valuing and embracing diversity, encouraging equality.
• Integrity: A commitment to excellence: Principled follow-through on every task undertaken.
• Love: Caring passionately: Enthusiasm, from the inside out.

There is no doubt that the main reason we are successful today is our people—they are the biggest asset we have. And the beauty of all these is that we get to expand our cultures to the stores in different cities.


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