Billionaire for love: how Ralph Lauren earned $6.4 billion

Ralph Lauren, the descendant of immigrants from the former Russian Empire, went to work at the age of 12 to save up for his first suit. Thus started his journey to the fashion house, which is now worth nearly $10 billion.
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Ralph Lauren, who in October will turn 76 years, announced his decision to leave the post of general director of the fashion house he founded Ralph Lauren. For half a century, the fashion designer has managed to turn a business selling hand-made ties to the international fashion-corporation, bringing billions of dollars in revenue. Forbes estimates the state of Lorena at $ 6.4 billion.

future millionaire

Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz) was born in 1939 in the Bronx, New York, in a family of Ashkenazi Jews. His father, Frank Lifshitz, emigrated to the US in 1920 from Pinsk, and his mother, Freydl Kotlyar - in 1921 from Grodno. The couple had four children: Ralph, Jerry, Lenny and Thelma. House spoke Yiddish. Frank worked as a painter, and in his spare time wrote prose in Yiddish.

The family huddled in a two-bedroom apartment in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx (by the way, there was then living, and other future great designer - Calvin Klein). Ralph from childhood was attracted to art, he often went to the cinema, presenting itself in place of heroes and loved beautiful clothes. With 12 years he began to look for jobs after school, had saved money and bought the English three-piece suit.

Lauren studied first in a regular school, etc.that in the Talmudic Academy. By the time he earned a reputation as the mod and began to monetize their talent - to sell fellow Academy ties handmade; then he did not know yet that they will begin his major successes in business. In 1957, when Ralph was graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in graduates album under his picture, where everything pointed to the profession, which is calculated to master, he wrote "The Millionaire". His neighbors on the album was much smaller ambitions, "millionaire" was between "pathologist" and "engineer".

Deciding to study economics, Ralph entered the College of Bernard Baruch, after school earned by the seller. Then he dropped out and went away for two years in the army.

Lauren. The accent on the first syllable

In 1955, 16-year-old Ralph with his brother, Jerry decided to change the name. Native name, sounding in English as a leaf shits, gave them a reason to tease peers. His new name Ralph borrowed from the American film star Lauren Bacall, so the emphasis it should be put on the first syllable, said Michael Gross, author of the biography of the designer"The Real Life of Ralph Lauren."

New fashion

Back in 1964, the army, Lauren went to work in the central Brooks Brothers Corporation office at the prestigious Madison Avenue in New York. Brooks Brothers - the oldest in the US chain store of men's clothing. The enterprising designer offered his leadership design tie, but understanding is not met and resigned.

The first time Lauren ties sewed scraps of cloth and sold them in small shops willing to pay. Ties were unusual - wide, in the British style, the buyers noticed. Lauren soon began working with a major clothing store Neiman Marcus. Businessman later recalled how flew to the company's headquarters in Texas to represent their products. At the end of the conversation, he received an order for 1,200 ties. But with Bloomingdale's network did not get: Lorena offered to reduce the width of the tie and remove them with your logo - designer refused.

In 1967, Lauren found the first investor clothing manufacturer Norman Hilton. "People came and offered to take his $ 50 thousand. If I'm going to work on it. I said, Thuof pleasure become his partner if he has invested. At that decided to do ", - said Lauren. Young businessman opened the money the boutique, where marketed products manufactured by Hilton and its ties, which he named Polo Ralph Lauren - in fact it was the birth of the brand Ralph Lauren.

The girl from reception

After returning from the army, Ralph Lauren married Ricky Anne Low-Beer - he met with her ophthalmologist, she worked at the reception. They have four children:. Sons Andrew, David, Mark and daughter Dylan, David is now working in his father's company vice-president, he is married to Lauren Bush, niece of former US President George W. Bush. Dylan's daughter keeps network pastry shops Dylan's Candy Bar. Andrew - a famous Hollywood film producer.

Billionaire for love

"I have never had a vision of how to build your empire. But I always knew clearly that yes, this is what I love to do - told Lauren in 2002. - All my clothes are based on the mood in the style that I like: for example, tweed jackets. The symbol of his brand, I immediately made a player inpolo, because I love the sport theme, while polo was never played. "

Lauren immediately decided not limited ties: first, there was a collection of women's jackets, in 1972 - line shirts polo (male, then female). Number of shops Polo Fashions (so-called first business Lorena) grew. In 1968 Lorena again came representatives of department stores Bloomingdale's, as a result of the businessman appeared in the central boutique store network in Manhattan. In 1971, it opened its first own store brand in Beverly Hills. Lauren has invested in business $ 100 thousand. And found another investor.

In the mid-1970s, Loren decided to rebuild Polo Fashions. Previously, the company controlled the whole process - from design to marketing, but now Loren decided to concentrate on the design and development of a common strategy, and the production and sale of transfer licenses to other companies. Sellers were represented in the stores the entire line of designer goods and give 5-8% of revenue Polo Fashions. "We turned away from two-thirds of customers - recalled partner Lorena Peter Strom. - But those who remained, quickly developed etc.credentials relationship. "

In 1981, the first overseas store opened in the prestigious Lauren London's West End. In the 1980s, the company began to make clothes for children and babies, underwear, sunglasses and so-called collection for the house: floor lamps, chairs, beds, cutlery - only 2.5 thousand items.. In order not to give the discounter goods from old collections and from warehouses, Lauren decided to sell them through its own stores, outlets network, which worked initially only in the United States, and then appeared in the UK, France and Japan.

In 1994, Lauren sold 28% Goldman Sachs business, generated $ 135 million. In 1997 he decided to enter the stock market and "raised" $ 465 million. After the IPO Lauren again restructured by combining all of the assets of the holding Ralph Lauren Corporation. By that time in his possession were several different brands, such as Club Monaco and Polo. On Thursday, Ralph Lauren capitalization on the New York Stock Exchange was $ 9.94 billion.

1967 - year of founding the fashion house Ralph Lauren

$ 6.4 billion - the state According to Forbes designer

$ 7.62 billion - Ralph Lauren's revenue for the 2014/15 financial year

$ 200ln - the estimated value of the personal collection of designer vintage cars

81.5% - Percentage of Ralph Lauren's voting shares

25 thousand -. The number of staff Ralph Lauren Corp.

"The Russian refined taste"

In May, 2007 Ralph Lauren arrived in Russia on the opening of its first brand store Ralph Lauren in the Tretyakov passage in Moscow. "I was glad to come to Russia, as a child, I heard a lot about it," - said the designer New York Times Moscow correspondent. "Energy and bustle" of Moscow Lorena liked. "In the new Russia, of course, there is consumerism, - says the designer. - On the other hand, the Russian refined taste, and Russia has a rich history and culture. " Lauren feels the relationship with the Russian youth, especially after it emerged that half of the models, which he chose for one of his shows, came from the former Soviet Union. "Apparently, the whole thing in my Russian blood - I feel in touch with them," - concluded Lauren.