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The Billionaire Boohoo family: From a Market Stall to a Billion Dollar Business

The Billionaire Boohoo family: From a Market Stall to a Billion Dollar Business

Boohoo is an online retailer of fast-fashion clothing for young men and women that offers quick delivery at low prices. Boohoo has grown from a three-employee business to a company with a 5,000-person workforce in less than 15 years. The company has £1.2bn in sales and sends millions of parcels each week. As of July 2021, the company is worth about £3.54 billion, up from a valuation of £560 million when it went public in 2014.

Carol Kane, the joint CEO of the company, and Mahmud Kamani founded it together. Mahmud Kamani is 55 years old and his family which includes wife Aisha and sons Umar, Adam, and Samir have upgraded from a home in Chorlton, Manchester, to a luxurious lifestyle that includes homes in Dubai and New York, among other places.

Family Background:

Mahmud Abdullah Kamani is a British billionaire business magnate who was born in August 1964. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of the Boohoo Group. Abdullah Kamani, his father, is from Gujarat, India; he lived in Kenya until the 1960s when civil unrest forced him to leave the country. He then moved to northwest England with his wife and four children. Before starting a family textile business that supplied high-end brands like New Look and Primark, Abdullah started out by selling handbags at a market stall.

Business History:

It all started with a Manchester market stall. Mahmud’s father, Abdullah Kamani, fled a war-torn Kenya in the 1960s to start over in the UK, and he started making a living by selling handbags. Abdullah later established a wholesale textile company where he procured and sold clothes, primarily from India, and where he established himself as a key supplier to high-street brands like New Look and Primark. Mahmud, his son, began working on the stall and developed a career in the wholesale company Pinstripe, delivering goods in a van for his father.

In 1993, Pinstripe hired Carol Kane, who is now 53, and a fashion design graduate who had just returned from a job in the Hong Kong garment sourcing sector. Then, in her mid-20s, she organised the group’s design team and gradually rose to prominence before collaborating with Mahmud Kamani to found Boohoo in 2006. Kane manages product lines, connections with online influencers, and the customer-facing side of the business, whereas Kamani is more concerned with developing Boohoo’s infrastructure behind the scenes.

The two had the bright idea in 2006 to bypass the retail middlemen and sell directly to customers using the internet’s cutting-edge capabilities at the time. His designers study pictures of celebrities like the Kardashians and the ultra-stylish Gigi Hadid in order to create copy-cat clothes for a fraction of the cost. Both have extensive experience in the fashion sourcing sector, and they have combined their skills and contacts to develop a fast fashion engine that, according to the business’s chief executive, John Lyttle, could have a design up on the website in as little as 48 hours. In this way, they made a great fortune.

Boohoo, unlike its competitor Asos, only sells its own clothing, giving it greater control over both product and profit margins. It can quickly source clothing from factories in Leicester, which enables it to be more responsive to social media-driven trends. Profits increased 54% to £92 million in the year ending in February thanks to the fast-fashion business model’s success. The business, which debuted on the stock market in 2014, is now worth more than Asos and Marks & Spencer combined.

Shortly after reporting record profits, Boohoo announced a contentious bonus scheme in which its executives could receive a £150 million bonus if the company’s stock rose by two-thirds in the next three years. Kane and Kamani would get two-thirds of the money. PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal, and Miss Pap are three additional well-known fast fashion brands whose parent company is Boohoo. Before co-founding PrettyLittleThing in 2012, Umar, Adam, and Samir, three of Kamani’s sons, worked for the Boohoo company.

Expansion & Acquisitions:

Its expansion goals are clear. Boohoo raised £200 million in May to acquire brands, and has already acquired Oasis and Warehouse, as well as consolidating its stake in Pretty Little Thing, paying Umar Kamani and his business partner, Paul Papworth, more than £260 million for their 35% stake. In addition to the brands it acquired in August of last year, Karen Millen, Coast, Nasty Gal, and Miss Pap are now part of the Boohoo roster. The company’s portfolio of brands allows it to reach markets with higher average incomes than the teenagers and young adults who favour Boohoo. There may be upcoming acquisitions as well.

Personal Life:

Mahmud Kamani has three sons with his wife Aisha. Umar Kamani and Adam Kamani, co-founders of PrettyLittleThing, are both involved in the family business. Jalal Kamani, his brother, was the former trading director of Boohoo. Adam drives a Rolls Royce, Samir a Range Rover, and Umar a £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador. Mahmud Kamani stays connected to Kenya by donating to Kibera Kids, a non-profit organisation based in Nairobi.

Controversies:

In July 2020, allegations were levelled against the I Saw It First fashion brand and Morefray Ltd, a Boohoo supply company, of paying less than the minimum wage and failing to protect employees from the coronavirus pandemic. Jalal Kamani owns the company, which he founded with his brother Mahmud.

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