Herman Delman started his company in 1919. After incorporating in 1925, it grew rapidly. Although Delman Shoes created custom-made footwear, the company’s reputation for style and comfort was built on its high-end, ready-to-wear line. Many of Delman’s advertising and branding strategies were ahead of their time. Shoes had previously been marked with the names of stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, but Delman Shoes were among the first to carry a designer label. Mr. Delman was expanding his business and licensing stores in many cities to sell his shoes. He wanted to make sure that customers knew they were buying his brand.

As he built his company’s reputation, Mr. Delman crafted an image of refinement and glamour. In 1926, he opened a store at 558 Madison Avenue, near the residences of many of New York’s most fashionable and wealthy women. Suggesting an aristocratic environment, Delman’s shoe "salon" was distinctive. Women were graciously welcomed into a Louis XVI-style gallery, where shoes were displayed like works of art. A review in The Shoe Retailer describes "the special evening slipper room, intimate as a boudoir, where only evening slippers are sold and exclusive fittings are given to bridal parties." In 1933, Delman Shoes closed its Madison Avenue doors and entered into an exclusive retail agreement with Saks Fifth Avenue. Three years later, however, Delman formed a new partnership with Bergdorf Goodman, an affiliation that continues to this day. At both locations, Delman essentially replicated the design of the Madison Avenue salon, thereby creating early versions of the "store-within-a-store" concept that remains the prevalent model in today’s high-end department stores.
delman ad