Forever 21 Founder Do Won Chang Started As a Janitor Now His Net Worth Is Around $6.5 Billion


This is the story of the founder of Forever 21 Do Won Chang who migrated to America from Korea in the year 1981. The then new immigrant Chang had to take up two jobs in order to support his family. He worked as a janitor at the same time served coffee at a gas station. While working at the gas station he noticed that most of the people coming to the gas station in luxury cars were all in the retail industry and he was determined of entering the apparel market.

Consequently, after three years of migrating to America, Chang along with his wife Jin Sook set up Forever 21. Initially, they sold clothing designs that were popular in Korea to the Korean-American people in Los Angeles. In the first year, Forever21 witnessed $700,000 in sales.

Chang’s two daughters in 2009 joined the family business. Linda and Esther stepped in the marketing department. The Chang’s family worth was five billion dollars in the year 2014. They rank 86 in the list of Richest People in America. And on the Forbes 400 list, they rank 93.

But the company has faced its share of allegations of copyright infringements and the success story of Forever 21 has not been without this share of controversies. However, the brand was never found guilty settling most of the cases out of court. Forever 21 states that instead of designers it works with merchants and does not copy designs.

Forever 21 was launched in a small 900 square feet space by the couple which is now housed by malls in 9000 square feet area. It has its headquarters in Los Angeles, California and has 480 branches over the globe. Forever 21 has been able to attract a steady patronage by selling apparels for women and men as well as venturing into accessories and beauty products.

Do Won Chang’s story is time and again referred by many aspiring businessmen around the globe. He never had a big life but with sheer determination, he was able to build a fashion giant. He is very attached to his family and when it comes to business he trusts his family. He even stands as an inspiration to all who emigrate from Asia to America with massive dreams.

(Photo Credit: Forbes, The Guardian, Pinterest)