How did Ralph Lauren build a billion dollar empire?


Ralph Lauren is one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet, and a significant part of that is due to his ability to create his own reality and ideal world that others have bought into.

One of the interesting things is how the name change has had an impact on the brand. He was born Ralph Lifshitz, and noticed that the name had the word ‘shit’ in it which obviously has a less than desirable association. He changed his name to Lauren and a new person was created.

People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams. – Ralph Lauren

A lesson here is that if something in your life is not the way that you want it to be, then you always have the power to change it.

His empire began with selling and designing ties. Often entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to ‘juggle too many balls at once’ and losing their ability to lead a particular market of create a significant impact.

From ties he expanded the range of products and made partnerships to grow the brand into a complete lifestyle that signifies a leap into a world of affluence and fantasy.

I was very influenced by movies; I was very influenced by a world that had a sense of dream. – Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was also inspired by the ‘magic’ of Hollywood and injected a large amount of that into his brand. This comes at a price and the company spends over $275 million each year on advertising to keep that name in front of their audience. This level of branding is required in order to maintain the brand at the forefront of people’s minds.

Many distinctive parts of the Ralph Lauren brand have been fixed into the minds of consumers. From the Polo player on the horse to the preppy country club look. It is true that Ralph Lauren was not the first to create these looks, and yet his name has become synonymous with them, and that is the genius of the brand that Ralph built.


Ralph Lauren: How I Built a Fashion Empire

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