His beginnings

ALDO BENSADOUN

Date of birth : 1939

City : Fez, Morocco

Family : two sisters, one brother

Aldo Bensadoun

Photo credit : ALDO Group archives

THE PATH OF A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD

Aldo Bensadoun grew up around shoes. His grandparents were cobblers in Algeria, and his parents ran a shoe store in Morocco. The entrepreneurial spirit was deeply rooted in the family, so it was only natural for him to follow in their footsteps and envision founding his own company down the road.

Aldo Bensadoun - 1943

A young Aldo in primary school in France (1943)

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

Émile Bensadoun

Aldo’s father, Émile Bensadoun, in front of his shoe store

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

Émile Bensadoun - Le Pied Mignon

Aldo’s father, Émile Bensadoun, in front of his first shoe store. " Le Pied Mignon "

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

Aldo was born in Morocco and spent his childhood in the south of France, where he attended primary and secondary school. His longing to discover the world motivated him to continue his studies in the United States. He decided to spend a weekend exploring Montréal and was charmed by the bilingual and multicultural character of the city, whose Expo 67 festivities were in full swing. He immediately felt right at home and, following his visit, he decided to transfer to McGill University and study economics.

Aldo Bensadoun et sa soeur

Montréal’s Expo 67. Aldo Bensadoun and his sister, Anne-Janie

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

Making his mark

After completing his studies, Aldo landed a marketing research job that happened to be at a local shoe retailer. Over the years, he gained an understanding of the market and realized that only the wealthy could afford fashionable shoes. Combining his expertise and creativity, he developed a product that was both fashionable and accessible to all. Aldo would break with the conventions of the day to launch his own brand of footwear.

Publicité Aldo

An ad for the Italian leather mule, Aldo’s first best-seller. (1973)

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

Publicité Aldo

Aldo store design in the early 1990s

Photo credit : The ALDO Group archives

The ALDO Group was founded in Montréal in 1972. Aldo built a team of designers based in the city with whom he worked closely. He firmly believed that his company’s success hinged on its social values and an understanding of the consumer. The opening of the first independent store on Montréal’s Saint Catherine Street set the wheels in motion.

It just wasn’t done at the time. It was a bit crazy, but I wanted to offer something different, and the best way to do it was to do it myself. It was the best decision I ever made.

ALDO BENSADOUN

Clip from Aldo Bensadoun’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French