You may or may not be familiar with the name Do Won Chang, but we guess you are familiar with the name Forever 21. He is the man behind the store that sells trendy, inexpensive clothing to young girls and young women – and even some women who probably should upgrade to a store with a name a little closer to their own age. Do Won Chang is a billionaire with a pretty nice set up, and he’s not hurting for cash. His net worth as of 2016 is around $5.4 billion. He’s not the wealthiest man in the world, but he probably doesn’t mind the fact that he’s pretty far down the list of billionaires in the world.
He’s an interesting man, and we thought we might get to know a bit more about him. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Do Won Chang:
He lives in California
Do won Chang grew up in South Korea with his family before he chose to get married and move to California. He’s been there so long, though, that he calls it home and loves the area. He moved there with his wife in 1981.
He began his business in 1984
When he moved to California, Do Won Chang was not already a massive player in the clothing industry. He began his business in 1984 after he had already been in the states for more than three years. He was ready to do something different with his life, and this is the direction in which he chose to go. It worked out quite well for him, too.
The store had a different name
Before it was Forever 21, the name of Do Won Chang’s store was actually Fashion 21. The name did not really work for very long though, and it ended up being changed at some point down the road. By the time 2010 rolled around, he had more than 450 stores.
He’s a Christian man
Many people are surprised when they find out that Do Won Chang and his wife are Christians. They chose to have every bag that leaves their store emblazoned with the verse John 3:16 on the bottom. This the same verse former University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow wrote on his face in black ink before every football game in which he played for the Gators.
He’s not college educated
What most people do not know about Do Won Chang is that he and his wife are not college educated. Neither of them bothered to get their college degrees when they graduated from high school. It’s always a bit of a surprise when people realize that given the value of education in so many other countries versus in the United States. Though he does join a nice, long list of men and women who are successful billionaires who are not college educated.
He made $700,000 in his first year of business
When Do Won Chang and his wife opened their first store, they were shocked with how fast their fashions sold and how much money they made. That’s when they decided that with that kind of income, they’d be able to open a new store every six months. That was their dream, and they were able to surpass it more than they could have ever imagined. It was a nice business beginning for them.
He owns 100% of his business
Many people with a big business such as Forever 21 have many different men and women with controlling interests. Do Won Chang, however, does not. He and his wife own 100% of their business, and that is how they like to keep it. They are a happy couple with a couple of kids and they like to keep things in the family when it comes to their businesses.
Seoul street style inspired them
When they were looking for a business to start, this couple decided that they loved the kind of quick and easy stress style they had back in Seoul. They thought that perhaps the Korean-American teens living in LA might appreciated the style, too, and that’s what they decided to bring to them. They had no idea that their little idea would turn into many billions of dollars over the next three plus decades. The style idea was simple and it was easy, and it turned out to be something exceptionally popular with many young women in the USA, not just Korean-American young women. He might never have predicted this.
Their daughters are educated
Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook have two daughters. Their names are Lisa and Esther, and they made sure that both of their daughters were highly educated in some of the best schools in the country. Both have an Ivy League education to their name, and they are both involved in their parent’s business at this point. Do Won Chang did not have a college experience, and though he clearly did not need it, he wanted his daughters to have their own college degrees so that they didn’t face any of the same hardships and trials that he faced so many times in his own life.
He is the 380th wealthiest man in the world
Do Won Chang has led a pretty fortunate life since he entered the world of fashion. He has been on the list of Forbes billionaires for quite some time. He’s moved around a bit, falling and rising year to year. This year, he is the 380th wealthiest man in the world. If you delve a bit further into the list based on his net worth, he is the 133rd wealthiest man in the United States. He’s got plenty of money in the bank, and he has a very successful business to continue to run. He’s only 62, so he has plenty of time ahead of him to enjoy working before it’s time to retire.
Photo by Do Won Chang