Mike Silverstein | Shoe-company founder

Posted: March 20, 2012

Mike Silverstein, 85, a founder of Nina Footwear, a women's shoe company that grew from a SoHo loft to an international concern selling around 10 million pairs of shoes a year, died March 12 in Manhattan.

Mr. Silverstein founded Nina in 1953 with his brother Stanley, naming the company after Stanley's first-born daughter and working out of a factory on Prince Street.

Their first creation was a fashion clog, which proved popular with the company's target audience, women ages 18 to 30 looking for stylish but affordable footwear. In part because of Mike Silverstein's sales pitches, the company grew rapidly. Today it has around $150 million in annual sales.

Born Murray Silverstein in Vilna, in what is now Lithuania, on April 9, 1926, to Max and Sonia Silverstein, Mr. Silverstein emigrated with his parents to Havana two years after his birth. His father made wooden platform shoes, and Silverstein grew up learning the trade. He emigrated to New York at 18. - N.Y. Times News Service

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