Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz on October 14, 1939 in New York City. Having started his fashion design career in 1967, he is the richest man in fashion in the US today. He controls close to a dozen clothing and accessory lines around the world, and he is popular for his sportswear line Polo Ralph Lauren. Discover the top ten career lessons from this top CEO.
1. Determination Is More Important Than Education
Ralph Lauren dropped out of the Baruch College in Manhattan, NY to pursue a career in the army. He would then quit, taking a job as a sales rep. Today, Forbes estimates his wealth at $7.1 billion. This personal fortune makes him the world’s 193th richest man.
2. Chase Your Dream
Did you abandon your childhood dream too soon? Ralph Lauren dreamt of being a celebrity, such as a movie actor, dancer or baseball player. Today, he is a celebrity, albeit in a different career – fashion design. In fact, actors Cary Grant and Fred Astaire inspire the trademark Polo style.
3. Don’t Keep All Eggs in One Basket
Following his breakthrough decades ago, Ralph Lauren owns close to a dozen clothing, accessories, fragrance, and footwear lines through his company. They include the famous Polo Ralph Lauren, Purple Label, Black Label, Lauren Ralph Lauren, RRL, RLX, Golf sportswear, and Tennis sportswear, among others.
4. The Last Can Be The First
Ralph Lauren was born in the Bronx as the last born of four children yet he is more successful than all his siblings today. His parents were from Belarus and had the family name Lifshitz. Following undesirable teases from schoolmates, he and one of his brothers adopted Lauren as their last name.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Controversy
Ralph Lauren Corporation is occasionally embroiled in legal tussles. His company faced controversy following the use of model Filippa Hamilton’s image which made her appear thinner. Other controversies include alleged bribes in Argentina, violation of intellectual property, and other legal altercations. All these have never stopped him from being at the top in the fashion world.
6. There Is a Thin Line Between Success and Failure
You should never be afraid to start your own business venture. The fact that Ralph Lauren left the army to pursue a sales career best demonstrates this point. Who would think of quitting the forces to start designing neckties? Three years into the trade, Lauren received a Coty Award!
7. Give Back to Society
Ralph Lauren believes in giving back to society. Through sponsorships, his company was the first official Wimbledon outfitter in 2006. Throughout 2008, Polo sponsored the US Open. That same year, his company outfitted the entire US squad destined for the Olympics.
8. Learn When to Let Go
Some entrepreneurs do not know when to call it quits. You should discover a new way of doing things and discard a product if it isn’t worth the investment. Ralph Lauren discontinued clothing lines such as Polo Denim, Polo Sport, Ralph Lauren Jeans Co., Rugby Ralph Lauren, and Blue Label.
9. Don’t Let a Disease Bring You Down
Even in times of suffering, you should never give up. In the mid-1980s, the CEO was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. He then underwent a successful surgery, and the tumor has never recurred!
10. Invest in Your Family
Many celebrities ditch their spouses occasionally. However, Ralph Lauren has remained loyal to his wife, Ricky Anne Loew-Beer – the receptionist he married back in 1964. Interestingly, one of his sons is married to a niece of former US President George W. Bush.
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Ralph Lauren also teaches you to enjoy life’s trappings. The father of three owns beach resorts in Jamaica, Long Island, and Montauk. He owns nearly 100 vehicles, most of which are vintage, while his Fifth Avenue, New York home and a 17,000-acre ranch accentuate his love for the finest things.