Billionaire for love: how Ralph Lauren earned $6.4 billion

Billionaire for love: how Ralph Lauren earned $6.4 billion

Ralph Lauren, who in October will celebrate 76 years, announced his decision to leave the post of Director he founded the fashion house Ralph Lauren. For half a century fashion designer managed to turn the business selling hand-made ties in international fashion Corporation, which generates billions of dollars of revenue. Forbes estimates the state of Lorena at $6.4 billion.

Future millionaire

Ralph Lauren (real name Ralph Lifshitz) was born in 1939 in the Bronx, new York, in a family of Ashkenazi Jews. His father, Frank Livshits, emigrated to the U.S. in 1920 from Pinsk and his mother, Fraydl Kotlyar — in 1921 in Grodno. The couple had four children: Ralph, Jerry, lenny and Thelma. At home spoke Yiddish. Frank worked as a painter, and in his spare time wrote poetry in Yiddish.

The family lived in a one bedroom apartment in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx (by the way, there then lived and another the future great designer Calvin Klein). Ralph from childhood was drawn to art, he often went to the movies, presenting yourself in the place of the characters, and loved beautiful clothes. With 12 years he began to earn money after school, saved up money and bought an English three-piece suit.

Lauren first studied in a normal school, then in the Talmudic Academy. By the time he earned a reputation as a fashionista and began to monetize your talent is to sell, fellow of the Academy ties handmade; little did he know that they will start his major successes in business. In 1957, when Ralph was graduated from the High school DeWitt Clinton, in the Yearbook under his photo, where everything pointed to the profession, which are expected to master, he wrote “millionaire”. His neighbors in the album were far less ambitions: “millionaire” was between “pathologist” and “engineer”.

Having decided to study Economics, Ralph went to College Bernard Baruch, after school earned additionally the seller. Then dropped out and left for two years in the army.

Lauren. The accent on the first syllable

In 1955 16-year-old Ralph and his brother Jerry decided to change the name. Native name, sounding in English as leaf shits, gave the peers a reason to tease them. His new name is Ralph borrowed from American film star Lauren Bacall, therefore, the emphasis in it should be put on the first syllable, says Michael gross, the author of a biography of the designer “the Authentic life of Ralph Lauren”.

An aspiring fashion designer

Back in 1964, from the army, Lauren went to work in the Central office of the Corporation the prestigious Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue in new York. Brooks Brothers is the oldest in the U.S., men’s clothing stores. The enterprising designer has proposed a design for your tie, but understanding is not met and quit.

The first time Lauren sewed neckties from scraps of fabric and sold them in small clothing stores. Ties were an unusual — wide, in the British style, their buyers have noticed. Soon Lauren started cooperation with large clothing store Neiman Marcus. The businessman later recalled how he flew to the headquarters of the company in Texas to present their products. Following the meeting he received an order for 1,200 ties. But with the chain Bloomingdale’s is not gone: Lorena proposed to reduce the width of the ties and remove them with your logo — designer refused.

In 1967, Lauren found the first investor: a clothing manufacturer Norman Hilton. “A man came and asked to borrow $50 thousand, if I work on it. I said I’d love to be his partner, if he is to invest. That settled the matter,” said Lauren. The young businessman discovered the money a boutique where sold produced by Hilton goods and their ties, which he called Polo Ralph Lauren — actually it was the birth of the brand Ralph Lauren.

The girl from reception

Returning from the army, Ralph Lauren married Ricky Anne low-beer he had met her at the eye doctor, the girl worked at reception. They have four children: sons Andrew, David, mark, and daughter Dylan. David now works in father’s company as Vice-President, is married to Lauren Bush, niece of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Daughter Dylan is holding a chain of confectionery shops Dylan”s Candy Bar. Andrew is a well-known Hollywood movie producer.

Billionaire for love

“I never had a vision of how to create your Empire. But I always clearly understood that Yes, here it is I love to do — told Lauren in 2002. All of my clothes based on the mood, the style that I like: for example, tweed jackets. Symbol of its brand, I immediately made the Polo player because I love the sports theme, although Polo was never played”.

Lauren immediately decided not to limit ties: first came the women’s collection of jackets, in 1972 — the range of Polo shirts (male, then female). The number of stores Polo Fashions (so initially was called the Lorena business) grew. In 1968, Lauren once again there were representatives of Department stores Bloomingdale’s, as a result the businessman has appeared the boutique in the Central store in Manhattan. In 1971 he opened the first own branded store in Beverly hills. Lauren has invested in the business $100 million and found another investor.

In the mid-1970s, Lauren decided to rebuild the Polo Fashions. If the company had monitored the entire process — from design to sales, now Lauren has decided to concentrate on the design and development of an overall strategy, and production and sale to transfer licenses to other companies. Sellers were supposed to be in stores all ruler of the goods of the designer and to give 5-8% of revenue Polo Fashions. “Turned your back on us two thirds of customers — recalled partner Lorena Peter Strom. But those who remained, quickly developed a trusting relationship.”

In 1981 in London’s prestigious West end opened its first overseas store Lorena. In the 1980s the company began to make clothes for children and babies, underwear, sunglasses and so-called collection for the home: lamps, chairs, beds, Cutlery — just 2.5 thousand items. Not to give the discounter products of previous collections and from warehouses, Lauren decided to sell them through own network of stores-outlets, which initially worked only in the States, then appeared in the UK, France and Japan.

In 1994, Lauren has sold 28% of business Goldman Sachs, earning $135 million In 1997 decided to enter the stock market and raise $465 million After the IPO, Lauren was again restructured, by combining all assets of the holding Ralph Lauren Corporation. By that time in his possession were several different brands, including Club Monaco and Polo. On Thursday, the capitalization of Ralph Lauren at the new York stock exchange was $9,94 billion.

1967 — the year of Foundation of the fashion house Ralph Lauren

$6.4 billion — the status of the designer according to Forbes

$7,62 billion — revenues for Ralph Lauren 2014/15 financial year

$200 million — estimated value a personal collection of vintage cars designer

81,5% — share belonging to the Ralph Lauren of the voting shares of the company

25 thousand — the number of employees Ralph Lauren Corp.

“The Russians have refined taste”

In may 2007 Ralph Lauren came to Russia for the opening of its first brand store Ralph Lauren in the Tretyakov passage in Moscow. “I was glad to come to Russia, in my childhood I heard a lot,” said the designer to the Moscow correspondent of the New York Times. “Energy and excitement” of Moscow Lorena liked. “In the new Russia, of course, is consumerism, — says the designer. — On the other hand, the Russians have refined taste, and Russia has a very rich history and culture.” Lauren feels the relationship with the Russian youth, especially after he found out that half of the models that he chose for one of his fashion shows, were natives of the former USSR. “Apparently, it’s my Russian blood, I feel in touch with them,” said Lauren.