From rags to riches: An inspiring story of Forever 21’s co-founders
Forever 21 is an American fashion retailer headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Forever 21 was founded by South Korean husband and wife- Do Won Chang and Jin Shook in 1984. Forever 21 initially started with a name Fashion 21 and later it was changed to Firever21. It has grown into a brand with 700 stores around the world. It sells accessories, beauty products, home goods, and clothing for men, women, and girls. Initially, Forever 21 sold women clothing and later expanded to sell clothes for men and girls.
Mr. and Mrs. Chang were the immigrants to America and started their company Forever 21 in just 3 years after coming from Korea. They started selling clothing designs popular in Korea to the Korean-American people. Since the launching of Forever 21, the husband and wife team’s personal net worth has been estimated by Forbes to be more than $4 billion.
Both Mrs. and Mr. Chang work together for the success of the company. Mrs. Chang approves the designs of the company’s merchandise, while Mr. Chang focuses on turning Forever 21 into the fastest fast-fashion chain in the business, and in the process, he has made the company widely successful. Their brand focus is mainly on the Asian countries like China and India as they have huge potential for business success. Forever 21 has become one of America’s most preferred retailers.
In its very first year, Forever 21 made over $700,000 in sales. Forever 21 has seen some remarkable accomplishments over the past 30 years. By 2013, there were more than 480 stores and revenue of $3.7 billion. In February 2014, Forever 21 generated revenue of $3.8 billion and in 2017, Forever 21 generated revenue of $3.4 billion.
Forever 21 has been accused multiple times and has been involved in various controversies, ranging from labor practice issues to copyright infringement accusations to religion. Yet, it came out clean every time and has provided proper clarifications on the subject involved.
Forever 21 is known for its trendy offerings and low pricing. Forever 21 manages to get the newest trends and designs in their shops that people immediately buy from them. Forever 21 can be distinguished from its competitors in uniqueness. They order small stocks of the dresses so that either shopper buy them immediately or it is gone forever. Forever 21 is also good with its customer’s needs. They listen to customer’s demand and attend to it. This builds a good relationship between Forever 21 and its customers. The success of Forever 21 sets a great example to small apparel businesses all over the world.
Forever 21’s production model allows the company to overtake many of its competing brands offering clothes at a similar price point. Forever 21 continues to build its client base with the developing of new brands and products.
Also, Forever 21’s focus on retail locations rather than advertising has allowed them to expand and they will also continue acquiring knowledge about the evolving global fashion landscape, and in particular about competitors like ZARA, H&M, and many other competitors.
Moving forward, Forever 21 plans to expand into new concepts and has partnered with GGP – an S&P 500 retail real estate company owning and leasing shopping centers – to open stores in 13 of their top tier locations. These new, experiential spaces will see accessories, cosmetics, and home goods as their main focus targeting the millennial consumer.