From Pumping Gas To Owning $6 Billion Company – Inspiring Story Of Forever 21 Cofounders

Forever 21 stores and their crazy sales have always kept women on their toes. The clothes and the style have set in motion a new trend that has now become synonymous with the tags of being stylish and chic.

If you’re not born rich that doesn’t mean you can’t live a charmed life. This is a story about success; this is about how Do Won “Don” Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, immigrated from Korea to California with nearly nothing – how Chang had to hold down three demeaning jobs at the same time to support his family, and how the couple finally opened up their first clothing store, ‘Forever 21′  – a hope and inspiration for those who have nothing but a dream.


“After I landed in the United States, I literally tried everything – from dish washing, cleaning to working part time at a gas station and cramped coffee shop. While doing these jobs, I got interested in fashion and decided to go for retail career.”

In 1981, Jin Sook and Do Won “Don” Chang emigrated from South Korea.The husband-and-wife duo, landed in California penniless, speaking broken English, and without college degrees.

Chang juggled with several odd jobs including dish cleaner, gas station attendant, and janitor as an immigrant in California.  The couple planned to go into the coffee business until Chang noticed something that would change their lives.

“I noticed the people who drove the nicest cars were all in the garment business.”

He opened his first clothing store Fashion 21 (Now, Forever 21) in 1984 in Highland Park, Los Angeles along with his wife . By the end of the very first year, his sales rose to $700,00 from from $35,000.


Three decades later, their then small-scale entrepreneurial venture has blossomed into a coveted international brand with 600 stores worldwide bringing in around $4.4 billion in sales each year.  And guess what? The family own 100 percent of Forever 21!



“I might be a billionaire now, but he’s always been grounded and aware of how i got there, as well as where i came from. 
Forever 21 gives hope to people who come here with almost nothing. And that is a reward that humbles me: the fact that immigrants coming to America, much like I did, can come into a Forever 21 and know that all of this was started by a simple Korean immigrant with a dream.”


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