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Category:Grace Murray Hopper

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Dov Charney's Social Links


Canadian born Don Chaney crafted his giant 'American Apparel' as a wholesale business, however, it made the leap to retail markets quickly. As a young boy, he would catch rainfall in mayonnaise jars, and then sell his catch to the neighbors. This illustrates pretty well his innovative approach, and direct manner. Integrating fair labor practices with a sharp sense of style has brought the company to its current position as the largest continentally manufactured brand in the United States. Although he began a college education in 1987 (Tufts University), he left that behind to pursue his calling after only a couple of years. In 1997 he took a leap of faith, and borrowed $10,000 startup money from his parents to launch a firmly rooted business endeavor in North Carolina. There, he began to manufacture the merchandise himself, and create the high quality his things eventually became known for. Controversial Dan has been accused by some as being harassment in the work force, and he has admitted to being a bit tasteless at some times. He’s been sued for sexual harassment on a number of occasions, but maintains his innocence in all of these matters. In 2004, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year, and Apparel Magazine's Man of the Year. In 2012 he was referred to as “one of the most controversial, and also hyperactive entrepreneurs in the country” by an ABC newscaster.

Companies and Investments

American Apparel Founder Senior Partner

Lessons Learned

Don has infused his passion for fashion with his business acumen to create a brand, American Apparel, which has become a leader in quality crafted garments

Remaining involved in every aspect of production, from concept and design through distribution, Don highlights a 'sweatshop free' methodology as a rather brilliant marketing tool. He instituted a business model referred to as 'team manufacturing’. This method pairs the strongest (most talented) workers to the most lucrative of the orders. This strategy made output triple, while added a mere 20% to cost. From the very beginning American Apparel paid its workers good rate, far more than common, providing access to low cost health insurance and many other ‘perks’. In addition to his belief in fairness, he considers this to be good business. Don's passion to provide quality garments that appeal to all people has resulted in a brand well known for its quality components, fit, and style. His fashion target is 'young metropolitan adults' but certainly does not end with that lucrative audience.

There is no clear line between his personal and business life, and it is not uncommon for him to sleep at the factory in Los Angeles. His official residence, Garbutt House, a historic cement building in the Silverlake region, is constructed entirely of concrete, which helps its owner overcome his terror of fire. The home has housed many aside from its owner over the years, often hosting out of town business partners and so on during their time near headquarters. At times, the home has been considered as a dormitory of sorts. 

Identifying strongly with his Jewish heritage, Don managed to draw fire from a flamboyant source when he posted 2 billboards, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles, which pictured the comedic actor Woody Allen dressed as an orthodox Jewish rabbi, taken from Allen's movie 'Annie Hall’. Allen sued Charney, stating the billboards were an invasion of privacy, and eventually won the lawsuit.

Inspiring Quotes

Don Charney's Quotes

Passion. Thats it. When you believe in what you are doing, thats it.

Don Charney

We will be a heritage brand. Its like liberty property pursuit of happiness for every man worldwide Thats my America

Don Charney

Influential Books





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