How Spanish founder of Zara Amancio Ortega became the richest man in the world

He left school at 13 to begin work in a clothing shop

LAST UPDATED: 12 Sep, 2016 @ 12:00
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Zara Ortega
Amancio Ortega

AMANCIO ORTEGA has replaced Bill Gates as the richest man in the world.

The owner of Inditex fashion group, which includes Zara, Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear, has seen his net worth increase to €69.5 billion, just above Bill’s estimated €68.9 billion.

Born in Leon just before Spain’s civil war in 1936, the 80-year-old Spaniard once revealed he was ‘hurt and humiliated’ as a child when his mother was refused credit at a bank.

He left school at 13 to begin work in a clothing shop and vowed to never let his family suffer poverty again.

After working with several retailers, Ortega founded Zara in his living room with ex-wife Rosalia Mera in the 1960’s.

ZaraOrtega made Zara unique by drastically shortening the turn-around time between seeing the new trends on the runways and bringing them to the store.

He listened to his employees and managers to ask them what the fashions were and what people were buying.

He also kept his manufacturers in Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Morocco so he could change styles and order more popular products more quickly.

Inditex’s model, based on an established local supply chain, has seen almost unprecedented success.

The company has now created Zara, Zara Home, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterque, and has more than 7,000 stores worldwide.

But despite his overwhelming success, Ortega is said to have remained frugal and down to earth, eating lunch with his employees in the staff canteen, buying coffee from the same cafe for years and dressing in the same blazer and shirt every day – neither of them from Zara.

massimo duttiiii
Massimo Dutti

While he owns a yacht, it measures 40m and is said to not reflect his wealth.

His life is notoriously private and is said to revolve around his children and grandchildren.

He rarely ventures far from his home in A Coruna and is said to prefer no fuss when he strolls around La Marina.





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7 COMMENTS

  1. Why hasn’t mid management passed his humane attitudes to store personnel? Somebody in upper or middle management is at fault for hiring uncivil front end managers.

      • Oh come on now, don’t be naive, even small companies have things made sometimes by really low paid people who more than likely can barely survive on the pay. I don’t think Zara has it’s boxes and shopping bags made in Spain or Italy, no they come from Asia more than likely, and more than likely the people making them are living in company dormitories and barely getting by. I know the article said the man “keeps his manufacturers in Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Morocco so he could change styles and order more popular products more quickly.” Kind of keep things local if you will, but there is no way he can sell clothes cheap with a high cost, the pay his manufacturers pay to their workers has got to be just substance wages, otherwise he’d be out of business quick.

        From the New York Times, “More than half of Inditex’s manufacturing takes place either in the factories it owns or within proximity to company headquarters, which is to say in Europe or Northern Africa. Inditex owns factories in Spain and outsources production to factories in Portugal, Morocco and Turkey — considered costly labor markets, typically. The rest of its clothes are produced in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Brazil, among other countries. The trendiest items are made closest to home, however, so that the production process, from start to finish, takes only two to three weeks. Inditex’s higher labor costs are offset by greater flexibility — no extra inventory lying around — and on faster turnaround speed.” It also must be noted Zara’s highest growth is now in China, so manufacturing is close by there, the company plans to open 400 more stores in China. They have over 350 stores in China now, more than they have in the US of A, China is where the market growth is, it’s all about economy, and the West is in Debt, while China is close to double digit growth. This article sounded like Main Stream News where they tell you the economy and unemployment is all peaches and cream, with no debt, no worries, and don’t forget to shop till you drop.

        In short the article reminded me of a comedy news video, “In other news, Muslim’s are bad, China is bad, but not as bad as it used to be, and Russia is always Bad. Nuclear Weapons are good, and to even suggest not using Nuclear Weapons is Bad. On to the economy, debt is good, corrupt Banks are Bad, but not bad enough for us to do anything about them, and poverty is a figmentation of your imagination.” with just a few changed words, it sounds like Main Stream Established Media. A real business gets products cheap and sells them at a high price for profit, that’s life, all the rest is fairy tales for children and shoppers. When you buy a brand new home, the cost of the house is no place close to half of what you are going to pay for it, that’s called normal. The Article is not lying at all, it just does not tell you the entire story, it’s not Disney.

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