Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Zara: The Apple of Fast Fashion

Six years ago I bought a used pair of Zara cords, knowing nothing about the brand. They quickly became my favorite pair of pants. With no stores in the Pacific NW, I have always been curious about this mysterious brand behind my favorite pair of pants.

In January I was browsing the Bloomberg Billionaires and was shocked to see the 3rd richest individual in the world (displacing Warren Buffet) was the founder of Zara. I became insatiably curious about how this self made founder of a clothing brand, that does not even have a store in Seattle, much less Portland, could become so wealthy.

When NPR did a segment on The Reclusive Spanish Billionaire behind Zara, I tuned in.

It is interesting to note that Zara embodies a few core Apple-like traits:
  • Methodical focus on Supply chain efficiency; 15 days from design to shelf.
  • Vertically integrated; tightly controlling supply chain from factory to retail.
  • Spending relatively little on advertising, instead focusing on flagship stores.

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