This article is sponsored by HOS Designs – Your one stop shop for scarves and stoles.(https://m.facebook.com/
Rosalia Mera, a Spanish entrepreneur who dropped out of school at 11 to work as a seamstress and went on to help start a global fashion empire, Zara, becoming the world’s richest self-made woman, died on Aug. 15 by a stroke when she was 69. Forbes magazine this year ranked Ms. Mera as the richest woman in Spain and the 66th richest woman in the world. She ranked first among women who had acquired their wealth through their own efforts, rather than inheritance or marriage. Rosalía Mera Goyenechea was born on Jan. 28, 1944, in a working-class neighborhood of La Coruna, a port city in Galicia, a center of Spain’s textile industry. Her father worked for a utility company and her mother for a butcher shop.
Ms. Mera skipped secondary school and in 1963 met Mr.Ortega when they met, he was working at one clothing shop in La Coruna and she at another. They married later. In their living room, they began making quilted bathrobes and lingerie that Ms. Mera had designed. The London newspaper The Independent said in its obituary of Ms. Mera that her lingerie designs were “a bit shocking at the time” but immediately popular. The newspaper suggested that this new liberalism in undergarments reflected a slight breeze of change in the final years of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
The couple soon expanded the business, setting up manufacturing operations, employing hundreds and later opening their own store. At first they wanted to call the store Zorba after watching the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek.” But after discovering that there was a bar named Zorba two blocks away, and since they had already made the molds for the letters spelling Zorba for a storefront sign, they simply rearranged them to see what they could find. They settled on Zara. The business eventually expanded to other Spanish cities, then to Portugal, then around the world.
Well, it was Ms. Mera’s thought that Zara has come up to this level and has been able to change the apparel industry completely. Ms. Mera identified the nerve of the market and Zara succeeded by speeding up its mass-market response to new designs coming from the leading fashion houses in Paris, Milan, New York and other cities. Zara could come up with its own variations on those designs and have them in stores within two weeks; previously, six months was the industry average. It accomplished this through vertical integration. Zara designed, produced, distributed and sold its own lines in its own retail stores — 1,763 in 86 countries. It used no subcontractors or intermediaries and relied little on advertising. Zara took an extra step in getting daily feedback from its many stores. The company could incorporate customer desires by modifying a design and shipping the new product out within days.
Such was the horizon of this Spanish lady who passed away on 15 August. May she rest in peace and Zara reach the zenith.
Priyamvada Jain: Presently pursuing BCom( Hons) from the Shri Ram College Of Commerce and have successfully completed my 1st year. She aspires to do an MBA in the field of Finance. Has worked with Ernst and Young in the past and is constantly associated with the Rotary Club. Contact-jainpriyamvada@gmail.
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