Immigrant To CEO of $4 Billion Company, Here’s The Inspiring Story Of Forever 21’s Founder
Forever 21 stores and their crazy sales have always kept us on our toes. The clothes and the style have set in motion a new trend that has now become synonymous with the tags of being stylish and chic. The fact that all this comes at affordable rates just adds to the pleasure of shopping here.
Do Won Chang and Jin Sook Chang, founders of the booming American retail company Forever 21, ended up in the city of California, looking for a means of survival. With no degree to back him up, Chang started his career at a gas station.
With almost nothing in hand, he pursued the Forever 21 dream.
When inspiration is found in the least expected place.
Do Won Chang moved to America with his wife Jin Sook Chang in 1981. He got busy working as a janitor and serving coffee, and found inspiration in the cars that stopped by for refill. "I noticed the people who drove the nicest cars were all in the garment business", said Do Won Chang. It is from here that the American dream began to take shape.
From Fashion 21 to Forever 21.
They opened their first store in the neighborhood of Highland Park, a few miles away from Los Angeles. The store was first called 'Fashion 21' and occupied a small space of 900 sq ft. Fashion 21 started off with $35,000 in their first year. By the end of it, they had touched $700,00. They expanded by opening an outlet every six months and Fashion 21 transformed to Forever 21.
Today, Forever 21 pulls in sales worth $4.4 billion from over 600 stores in 50 countries.
A family venture.
Though the reach of his success was wide, Do Won Chang decided to keep Forever 21 within the family. His wife, Jin Sook, became the Chief Merchandising Officer and his two daughters, Linda Chang and Esther Chang, handled the marketing, graphic and display design.
What's his secret to success?
Do Won Chang knew that success is a slow process, so he never rushed through the plan. He hopes to provide to those who come with almost nothing to the store. The secret to this success story is Forever 21's ability to provide chic styles at an affordable rate and their steady pace of growth.
So the next time you step into a Forever 21 outlet, keep in mind that you're walking through a rags-to-riches story.
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