Amancio Ortega: Inspiring Life Journey from Zero to Zara

Pic: Wikipedia

Here is a man who has beaten odds to reach the zenith of success. You may not even have heard of him, but then you are not alone. Amancio Ortega is the world’s third-richest person and is extremely publicity shy. He is a self-made man, who ventured into the world of fashion, with the launch of fashion label  Zara. A Spanish fashion entrepreneur and the co-founder of. (Inditex), born into poverty, Ortega Gaona has accumulated enormous wealth, modesty, and openness remaining his main personality traits. Known for having been publicists’ mystery for decades, Amancio Ortega is a true media nightmare.

Here is his story.

Childhood, Early life and education

Ortega was born in Busdongo de Arbas, Leon. Ortega’s childhood was spent in Leon, but at a very tender age, his family moved to A Coruna. His father was a railway worker. Here, Ortega began working for a shirtmaker and learned the art of apparel making. He left high school early.

The Hard Life

The family lived in a beggarly house at the railway workers’ quarters. His mother employed as a housemaid, Amancio heard her pleading for credit at local stores, unable to afford essential items, which made him leave school and start working.

Early Career

Ortega’s first job was a shop assistant at a local company, called Gala, where he learned to make clothes by hands. Frozen in time, Gala, a conventional shirts maker, is still active and open on one of La Coruña’s downtown corners.

Figuring the needs

Amancio Ortega enjoyed riding his bicycle around the town, whenever he had free time. His brilliant business idea could have come during one of such rides and Ortega realized that to earn good money, one should give customers what they want.

Business Plan

An autonomous community of Spain, Galicia, was a perfect spot for his business plan: poor job alternatives in combination with numerous single women who could sew pretty good. Ortega started to organize women into sewing cooperatives. The product line included: lingerie, babywear and nightgowns.

First Company

Having gained ten years of managing sewing cooperatives experience, Amancio Ortega Gaona founded his first company, Confecciones GOA, S.A. (his initials if to read backward). Amancio was responsible for developing new fashion trends.

Successful Venture

Having formed successful sewing cooperatives with the low-cost local workforce, Ortega was offering fast production clothing turnarounds. Several factories being acquired in Spain, Amancio Ortega opened his first storefront in La Coruña downtown, called Zorba. Named after Ortega, the store soon changed the name Zorba into Zara.


The private life of Amancio Ortega is terra incognita. Known to be publicity discreet, Amancio Ortega spends millions of dollars to protect the privacy of his life. It is said that Ortega was married with his business partner and the married couple never appeared together in public.

Bottom Line

Amancio Ortega’s business success is tightly connected with a unique business model of the fast fashion retailer. The two key ideas of this business model are to give customers what they want as quickly as possible.


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