The Fascinating Janitor To Billionaire Journey

The fantastic duo behind Forever-21.

learn more about Ritu Kochar

By Ritu Kochar

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Fashion brand, Forever 21 needs no introduction! High on style, the popular apparel retail giant is a global hit. Founded by South Korean husband and wife duo – Do Won Chang and Jin Sook in Los Angeles in 1984, the international brand has 480 stores worldwide, generating $3 billion in sales annually. However, there is a story of sweat and grit behind all the success.

After moving to the States from Korea in 1981, Do Won Chang worked three jobs at the same time – a janitor, gas station attendant and in a coffee shop to support his entrepreneurial dreams.

He decided to venture into retail business while working at a pumping gas. Pursuing his passion with the support of his hardworking wife, the duo opened their first store in California, names Fashion 21, which
later became Forever 21. Initially, the Changs aimed to provide fast and affordable street fashion catering to Korean-American teens. In just one year, their sales reached $700,000, leading to literally them opening a new store every six months. Turning it into a family business, the couple's daughters Linda and Esther are involved in running the company. What kept them going was faith and belief in what they were set out to do. Truly inspirational!

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.

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