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Rosalía and her Zara

December 30, 2013

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Rosalía Mera’s life reads like a fairytale. Born in a working-class neighbourhood in the poorest area of Spain, she skipped school to become a seamstress, yet still became the world’s richest self made. Instead of marrying a prince, she wed Ortega, a delivery boy for a local shirt maker. Soon the couple decided to start their own business.

In their living room they were making bathrobes and lingerie that Rosalía had designed. Provocative items immediately gained popularity and the business boomed, with a long pink robe with blue ribbons as a bestseller. The couple was setting up manufacturing operations, employing hundreds of locals and tried to open their first store. After watching the famous Zorba the Greek, they wanted to call it Zorba, but found there was a bar with the same name two blocks away. So, Rosalía and Ortega decided to change it, but since the letters for a storefront sign were already made, they simply rearranged them. That is how Zara got its name. In a couple of years it spread to other Spanish cities, then to Portugal and finally conquered the world. Inditex is now the world’s largest fashion retailer, with more than 6,000 outlets in 86 countries.

Despite becoming the richest self made female entrepreneur in the world, Rosalía was often referred to as the wife, later ex-wife, of the man who established the global fashion empire. According to Forbes magazine, her share of the company was worth more than $6 billion this year. Up until her death in August, Rosalía continued to live her life in La Coruña, where Zara opened its first store.

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From → Get Inspired

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