What do these seemingly arbitrary numbers mean? The first thing you would probably think of might be clothing sizes, but just like me, you would never guess how these numbers represent companies/owners who ended up on the world’s top 10 billionaire list for this past fiscal year. I’ve showcased all of these companies at one point or another on my blog, but I’m surprised at their worldwide popularity represented by these impressive standings in a faltering economy.
8. H&M- Stefan Persson- 26 billion- Sweden
When I think of H&M, I don’t really think about the person behind the company or what he might be like, but after reading this short write-up about Persson, I can honestly say I respect the company more. I’m influenced by his core values, that’s for sure. Respect in the workplace is probably what I would appreciate most in a company, and by buying “five million additional shares of the company and then gift[ing] four million, worth $150 million, to a new employee incentive program” we can see that Persson understands that a business will be as successful as its employees feel.
With its growing number of stores around the world, its featured high-end designers, and products that are affordable and continually on-point with trends, it’s a sure bet that H&M is a fashionable force to be reckoned with.
5. Zara- Amancio Ortega- 37.5 billion- Spain
Although Zara has just landed in Ottawa, it’s extremely popular in Canada and Europe. Growing up, I loved shopping at Zara in Montreal. I never really loved their younger line, TRF, but I do love their classy pieces that play on a lot of high-fashion influences. Zara’s quality is comparable with H&M, except for their average price is probably a little more expensive. When sales occur, though, it’s absolutely wild. You can get the priciest item in the store for $15 sometimes. I recently bought a feather clutch that I knew would go on sale for $30 from $100.
The stores are fashion-forward, the quality is mediocre, and the price is affordable. I’m starting to understand that being in the middle ground of the fashion industry is probably the most profitable margin to be in since most people would probably consider themselves middle-class, and unlike myself, don’t spend beyond their means. Like myself, however, Ortega started to make clothing in his living room; now he owns an empire.
4. LVMH- Bernard Arnault- 41 billion- France
The Louis Vuitton company doesn’t just stop at monogrammed LV bags that start in the thousands. The company and Arnault owns Moet Champagne, Hennessy , Dom Perignon, Belvedere, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Bulgari, TAG Heuer watches, and Sephora…to literally just name a few. It seems that Arnault has put all of his eggs in different baskets, but has definitely emphasized the value and standard of quality. In fact, I would even venture to say that all these companies set the bar for quality in each of their respective domains.
I’ve talked about how Sephora has a lot of incredible makeup before, but moreover, the companies owned by LVMH excel at customer service and bring it to an entirely different level as well. Of course he’s number 4 in the world when he owns the bulk of the fashion industry’s most coveted brands. I’m surprised he’s not number 1 at that rate.
The three amazing similarities among these companies, which obviously makes sense, is that they’re all European-based. When it comes to the fashion industry, nothing compares to the quality and allure that comes from European design. I feel like as Canadians and Americans we take short cuts. We eat crappy food that’s full of preservatives and unnatural ingredients, we take our cars absolutely everywhere, and we work like dogs in order to have a life we never really have the time to enjoy. Europeans know how to live the life that’s simple, know how to pick the food from their own backyards, nap during the day, walk everywhere, and express a certain ‘joie de vivre’ that I really think the Americas have forgotten.
This article completely inspired me, not only because I love all of these companies, but because these people followed their passions and saw them through to success- and didn’t just stop there.