Amancio Ortega was a prominent figure in the Spanish fashion industry and served as the founding chairman of the apparel retailer Inditex, which includes the Zara chain of stores.
Amancio Ortega was born in 1936 in the Spanish province of León. As the son of a railway worker, he came from a household that was considered to be middle class. When Ortega was younger, he lived in A Corua, which is located in the northwest region of Spain. There, he got his start in the garment industry by working as a delivery boy for a men’s shirt store and as an assistant in a tailor’s shop.
Both of these jobs gave him an idea of the costs associated with producing clothing and delivering it directly to customers. Later on, he became the manager of a clothes business that, much like the men’s shirt store before it, catered to rich customers. Ortega saw an opportunity to increase the size of his customer base by producing clothing at prices that were more competitive, employing production methods that were more efficient, and sourcing materials at lower costs. Confecciones Goa, a manufacturer of bathrobes that he established in 1963 was the first company in which he used this method.
In 1975, Ortega opened the first Zara ready-to-wear clothes shop in A Corua, Spain. Since then, Zara has grown into not just a globally renowned brand but also the flagship of the holding company Inditex. In addition to Zara, the brands Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, Uterqüe, Massimo Dutti, and Oysho was all part of the holding company he ran in 2008. He maintained his position as the principal owner of the holding firm.
All of Inditex’s businesses were run according to the principles of the so-called fast-fashion concept. This meant that at fashion shows, trend spotters would pick up design ideas, in-house designers would copy the best concepts, and Inditex’s highly efficient manufacturing operations, the majority of which were based in Spain, would produce and deliver new fashions to stores just a few weeks after they had been spotted on fashion runways. During a time when the majority of apparel manufacturers outsourced manufacturing to China and other countries with lower labor costs, Inditex manufactured two-thirds of its clothes in Spain and the countries that surrounded it.
Even though Ortega was very successful around the world in a field that relied on public image and visibility, he chose to stay away from the media and live a completely private life. It is said that Ortega worked a normal schedule and ate lunch in the cafeteria of the firm on the day Inditex went public in 2001. Inditex became the world’s largest fashion retailer in 2008, controlling over 4,000 stores in 70 countries. In the meantime, Ortega had become one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. Even though he quit being chairman of Inditex in 2011, he still had a lot to do with the company and kept most of his shares.
He likes to go horseback riding when he has any extra time. He is the owner of the “Torre Picasso,” which is the highest skyscraper in all of Spain and is located in Madrid. The skyscraper has a height of 515 feet and is valued at half a billion dollars. Additionally, he is the proprietor of “The Epic Residences & Hotel,” which is located in Miami, Florida. These hotels are often regarded as some of the nation’s most opulent and elegant accommodations. He has a Bombardier Global Express BD-700 private plane, which costs USD 45 million, in addition to driving an Audi A8 and owning a private jet. The infamous businessman has such a strong passion for his profession that he seldom ever takes vacations.
Ortega is one of the richest people on the planet thanks to his own self-made success as a multibillionaire and his projected net worth of USD 70.5 billion as of January 2023, as reported by Forbes. In spite of his wealth, Ortega is renowned as a man of routine who wears modest clothing. He is also notoriously reserved and avoids giving interviews with the media. He has made his home in A Corua, the city in Galicia, Spain, which is also the location of the first Zara store. It is widely believed that he has the title of being the richest retailer in all of the globe.
The only thing that has made it feasible for us to successfully combine rapid growth with improved operational effectiveness is the tremendous work that has been put in by our team at every level of the organization.
― Amancio Ortega