Who Owns Zara? Amancio Ortega’s Retail Revolution
The incredible man behind Inditex, the leading global fast fashion empire.
Table of Contents
- What is Zara?
- Amancio Ortega: The Man Behind Zara
- Early Life
- Adult Life
- The Retail Empire Begins
- Amancio Ortega Today
- Ortega’s Private Life
- Amancio Ortega Awarded
- Living in Luxury
- A Glimpse into the Future
What is Zara?
As ZARA, Zara is a Spanish apparel retailer with its headquarters in Arteixo, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. In addition to clothing, accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty supplies, and perfume, the company offers fast fashion products. As part of the Inditex group, which is the world's largest apparel retailer, Zara has grown to become the world's largest apparel brand. As of 2017, the company manages up to 20 clothing collections a year. As of 2019, there were over 2,250 Zara stores and almost 600 Zara Home stores in operation worldwide. As of 2019, Zara has generated a revenue of over 19.56 Billion Euros.
Amancio Ortega: The Man Behind Zara
On March 28, 1936, Amancio Ortega was born in Busdongo de Arbas, León, Spain to Antonio Ortega Rodrguez and Josefa Gaona Hernández from Valladolid. He spent the early years of his life and childhood in Tolosa, Gipuzkoa. As a fourteen-year-old, he left school and moved to A Coru'a with his family as his father had been transferred from the railways. Amancio worked as a shop hand for a local shirtmaker named Gala during this period and in today's downtown A Corua, Gala still occupies the same corner. This job gave Amancio an entry into the garment business by working as a delivery boy for a men’s shirt store and as an assistant in a tailor’s shop through these experiences he was exposed to the costs of manufacturing and delivering clothing directly to customers.
By using less expensive materials and more efficient manufacturing systems, Ortega was able to expand his client base and offer competitively priced garments. As early as 1963, Ortega's bathrobe business, Confecciones Goa, used this approach and in 1966, Amancio Ortega married Rosalía Mera.
The Retail Empire Begins
Zara started its first store in A Corua in 1975, founded by Amancio Ortega. Not only has the brand become an internationally recognized chain, but it has also become the hallmark of his holding company, Inditex, which he founded ten years later. Having combined his efforts with Rosalía Mera, Amancio Ortega integrated Confecciones GOA into Inditex.
Amancio Ortega Today
In 2021, Amancio Ortega is no longer a mystery. He is now recognized as an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A. (Inditex), which includes prêt-à-porter fashion chains such as Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, and Uterqüe. Ortega, despite being born into poverty, has grown into an accomplished fashion executive. Inditex's operations are based on the concept of fast fashion.
In-house designers copied the best designs from fashion shows, and fashion trend spotters picked up design ideas at fashion shows. Inditex's highly efficient manufacturing operations (most of which were located in Spain) produced and distributed these new fashions to stores only a few weeks after they were first spotted on fashion runways. During an era when most clothing manufacturers outsourced production to China and other low-cost locations, Inditex produced two-thirds of its garments in Spain.
There are no traditional fashion seasons in Zara stores. Instead, the brand releases new items every week, which keeps consumers coming back year-round, rather than just during the traditional fashion seasons. As a result of customer feedback and sales analysis, Zara has been able to remove products from its stores that do not sell quickly as quickly as possible. As a result of the success of the fast-fashion concept with Zara customers, there are now thousands of Zara stores around the world, and the number of visitors to these stores continues to rise despite relatively little money being spent on advertising.
Ortega’s Private Life
Even though Ortega achieved tremendous international success in an industry fueled by publicity and public image, he chose to remain strictly private and avoid the media. While Ortega's net worth had increased by $6 billion on the day of Inditex's public offering in 2001, he reportedly worked a regular schedule and ate lunch in the company cafeteria. With approximately 4,000 stores in 70 countries, Inditex became the world's largest fashion retailer in 2008. During this period, Ortega had become one of the world's largest billionaires. In 2011, Ortega stepped down as Inditex's chairman, but remained involved with the company and retained a majority stake.
His personal life is very private, and Ortega has only given three interviews to journalists as of 2012. Ortega is extremely reclusive and keeps a very low profile. There has never been a photograph of Ortega published before 1999. Amancio Ortega has always been a media nightmare, as neither he nor any of his relatives have given public interviews. It was not uncommon for Ortega and his first wife, Rosalia Mera Goyenechea, to never appear together in public and not let their two children, Sandra Ortega Mera and Marcos Ortega Mera, be photographed by intrusive paparazzi.
Living in Luxury
It is estimated that Amancio Ortega owns over $17.2 billion in real estate across the world, including Paris, Lisbon, London, and Madrid, making him the wealthiest man in Spain. Furthermore, he has a luxury apartment in Miami, right in the hub of the city. As of 2017, despite owning a substantial real estate portfolio, he mostly lives with his wife in his apartment in A Coruña, Spain. According to Bloomberg, Zara's founder raked in 621 million euros from his real estate holdings last year, as well as investments in tourism, banks, and gas companies.
Aside from the fact that Ortega refuses to wear a tie, he typically wears a blue blazer, a white shirt, and gray trousers, all of which are not Zara products. His fashion sense isn't for the faint-hearted. The majority of his time is spent in black Mercedes-Benz S-Class and GL-Class vehicles. In addition to owning two yachts, “Drizzle” and “Valoria B”, he also owns a Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier Global Express private jets. His real-time net worth is now USD 73.3 Billion.
Amancio Ortega Awarded
In July 2017, the Spanish Association of Foundations awarded Amancio Ortega the 2017 Philanthropic Initiative award in its second edition of the AEF awards. As well, he donated 300 million euros to fighting cancer throughout Spain, which was used to purchase 440 machines for
A Glimpse into the Future
Following his divorce from Rosalía Mera Goyenechea in 1986, Amancio Ortega married his second wife Flora Pérez Marcotte in 2001, with whom he had a daughter, Marta Ortega Pérez, in 1984. Ortega now has three children but it has recently been confirmed that his daughter from the second marriage, Marta Ortega Pérez, 37, will be the successor of his global industry. Marta will step into the position in April, according to a statement released by the chain’s parent company, Inditex. Over the past 15 years, she has worked at the company — beginning as a sales clerk in London before moving into larger roles involving women's merchandising, branding, and other areas — but she has never held an official title or served on the board of directors. As a chief executive officer and executive chair, Pablo Isla will be replaced by her. He has been with Inditex for nearly two decades.
It is Ortega's policy to provide customers with what they want, and deliver it to them as soon as possible. The twin organizing principles have made the company (and Ortega) into a powerhouse in the industry.