For the Love of Shoes

Larry Paparo always knew he would end up running a shoe company. Starting as a stock boy at 17, he has had every possible job in the shoe industry throughout his 30-year career. So it’s no surprise to those around him that he is now President and CEO of LJP International, one of the fastest-growing fashion businesses in the US and was recently named to Footwear News’ “2015 Top 100 Most Influential People in the Shoe Industry.”

Built from the ground up, LJP International represents Paparo’s passion, expert sourcing knowledge and deep understanding of what the customer wants. His expertise has allowed him to acquire the licenses for some of the most coveted brands in the fashion industry, including Bruno Magli, Nine West, Ben Sherman and Limited Too. But along the way he has had some help from a well-kept secret in New York. Samsung C&T America became his partner earlier this year and provided LJP with an unprecedented opportunity to focus on the designing and selling of his shoes, leaving all the rest to them.

“The business of fashion requires a lot of distracting duties, such as data entry, logistics, administration, etc.,” said Paparo. “In taking over tasks at which they excel, I am able to do what I love which is design and sell world-class shoes.”

“We are in the wholesale business all over the world,” said Michael Hahn, Vice President of Samsung C&T America. “We know more than a thing or two about logistics so we decided to share our expertise and best practices and financial might with companies that have demonstrated success season after season. We can take a good thing and make it great.”

LJP international has experienced double-digit growth for four years in a row. 2016 is on track to be the best year ever with the recent addition of Bruno Magli and Robert Graham, bringing the total to eight brands. 2016 will also see the opening of a new showroom. Such massive growth could make even the most tenured executive nervous but not Paparo.

“Samsung was so tedious and thorough in their vetting of me that once the process was over, it felt like a badge of honor to be chosen by them. I knew that if they wanted me, I must be doing something right,” continued Paparo. “It’s a great feeling to know I am in such good hands.”

Read more Samsung fashion industry success stories.