“I came to the U.S. in 1981 and worked as a hairdresser to make ends meet.” ~ Jin Sook Chang, Cofounder of Forever 21
Summary: Forever 21’s co-founder, Chang came to the U.S. in 1981 and worked as a hairdresser to make ends meet. In 1984, she and her husband Do Won used $11,000 in savings to open a 900 sqare foot clothing store in Los Angeles, initially called Fashion 21. The $4 billion (sales) teen retailer now employs 43,000 people in 800 stores across 48 countries.
Industry: Retail Management & Entrepreneurship
Q: What are some management initiatives of which you are the proudest? on forbes.com
A: I came here with almost nothing and I’ll always have a grateful heart toward America for the opportunities that it’s provided me. And I wanted to pay it forward. During the Great Recession of 2008, armed with strong cash flow from the privately-held company, my husband and I opened more stores and aimed to create 7,000 jobs within a year. At an annual prayer meeting with office employees, we announced plans to focus not only on sales and profit but on increasing jobs–a goal we successfully met.