Amancio Ortega Gaona is born 28 March 1936. Ortega was born in Busdongo de Arbas, León, Spain. He spent his childhood in Tolosa, Gipuzkoa. Amancio is the youngest of four children. His father was a railway worker.
The Spanish billionaire businessman is the founder and former chairman of Inditex fashion group. He is famously for Zara clothing and accessories shops which is a chain of Inditex fashion group. Here is a fun fact: Amancio Ortega usually likes to dress. He refuses to wear a tie and typically prefers to wear a simple blue blazer, white shirt, and gray trousers, none of which are Zara products.
Furthermore, Amancio Ortega had a reputation as a private and secretive man. He has never granted interviews to the media. The company released very little personal information about its founder and chairman; some in the press referred to the Inditex chief as a “publicist’s nightmare.”
For decades there was only one known photograph of Ortega in circulation. When the company issued its first annual report in 1999, a new photograph finally appeared. Ortega rarely attended official events. When the Spanish Prince Felipe called on Inditex headquarters, the royal visitor was received by one of Ortega’s representatives.
Amancio Ortega’s educational background
When Amancio Ortega was 14 years old, he left school and moved to A Coruna. Later on, Amancio found a job as a shop hand for a local shirtmaker called Gal. At work, Amancio would sit on the corner downtown and would make clothes by hand. He was an assistant in a tailor’s shop. In addition to that, Ortega also worked as a delivery boy for a men’s shirt store. This exposed Amancio Ortega to the costs of manufacturing and delivering clothing directly to customers.
Furthermore, Amancio Ortega later managed a clothing store that was similar to the men’s shirt store. However, the new place of work specifically catered to a wealthy clientele. This is where Amancio Ortega has a light bulb moment – Amamcio decided to expand his client base by using less-expensive materials and more efficient manufacturing systems and by competitively pricing garments.
Amancio’ entry into the business world
Ortega founded Confecciones Goa in 1972. He sold quilted bathrobes. In 1975, Amancio Ortega and his wife Rosalia Mera opened their first ready-to-wear clothing store. They named it Zara. The company grew over time.
In 2000, Amancio Ortega made a public appearance. His appearance was a warm-up as he was planning to offer an initial public offering. Later on, in 2001, Amancio Ortega made headlines all over the Spanish financial press. However, Amancio Ortega has only ever granted interviews to three journalists.
Slowly, Zara became an internationally famous chain. By 2008, Ortega founded Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, Uterqüe, Massimo Dutti, and Oysho, in addition to Zara. The group had more than 92,000 employees by then.
Moreover, it also became part of the Inditex group (Industrias de Diseño Textil Sociedad Anónima) in 2009. Amancio Ortega owned 59.29% of the Inditex group. He also owned over 6000 stores.
The operations of all Inditex businesses were based on the so-called fast-fashion concept such that at fashion shows, trend spotters picked up design ideas, in-house designers copied the best concepts. Furthermore, the Inditex group’s highly efficient manufacturing operations were a plus point.
Most of the manufacturing was based in Spain. They produced and delivered new fashions to stores just a few weeks after being spotted on fashion runways. In an era in which most clothing manufacturers outsourced production to China and other low-cost locations, Inditex produced two-thirds of its garments in Spain and surrounding countries.
In addition to that, it is important to note that the new arrivals in the Zara stores were not limited to the traditional fashion seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer; rather, they were received year-round, weekly. Styles that did not sell were quickly removed from stores. The fast-fashion concept was so popular with customers that Zara spent relatively little on advertising with more than 1,000 outlets worldwide.
Although Ortega enjoyed tremendous international success in an industry that fed public images and publicity, he shunned the press and lived a strictly private life. Soon, Inditex emerged as the world’s largest fashion retailer, controlling some 4,000 stores in 70 countries. Amancio Ortega, meanwhile, had become one of the world’s top billionaires.
Amancio Ortega retires
Ortega announced his imminent retirement from Inditex, the parent company of the Zara chain, in 2011.
In 2015, Amancio was the richest man in the world for a brief period. He surpassed Bill Gates at that time when his net worth peaked at $80 billion. At that time, Zara’s parent company, Inditex’s, stock peaked.
As of 2021, Amancio Ortega Gaona’s net worth is approximately $65.9 billion. This makes Amancio Ortega the second wealthiest person in Europe. Bernard Arnault is the first person. Moreover so, Amancio is the thirteenth wealthiest in the world.
Read more on: The Journey of Ritesh Agarwal