The Rise of A Female Leader: Marta Ortega Pérez, Heiress Of The Zara Empire

The youngest child of reclusive billionaire Amancio Ortega, Marta Ortega Pérez, will most likely succeed the multibillion-dollar international retail brand, Zara. Multi-billion dollar fashion brand Zara has successfully became an international retail brand that is made for shopping when it comes on current trends and styles for women. A lot of people might wonder how does the brand do it? The secret to the fashion brand’s success is Marta Ortega Pérez who works hard every day to make it happen.

One of the world’s wealthiest men, Amancio Ortega, is the founder and the controlling shareholder of the conglomerate which owns seven clothing companies that includes Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Zara, Inditex. Zara has been successful in conquering 96 countries with over 1854 stores across the world where they are on the same locations as the luxury brands like Cartier, Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.

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Starting Her Career In An Entry Level Position

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Marta Ortega Pérez’s career started as a sales assistant at the Zara store located in London. After she graduated from the European business school at University of London in 2007, she was hired as a sales assistant to one of her father’s business. Using her skills and the principles she learned in school, she was able to be promoted in higher positions through the years including a position as a sales merchandising and branding at the parent company of Zara, Inditex. She has been working at the company for about a decade and a half now.

She started working at Zara right after she earning her degree and she describes her first week as a real tough ordeal as she thought she will not be able to survive. However, along the way, she kind of develops addiction to the London’s King’s Road store which made her never want to leave the place. She believes that the stores are the heart of the company and is very thankful for the sales associate experience as she was able to understand the brand better.

Marta: The Secret Recipe To Zara’s Success

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Marta, just like her father, prefers to sit on the normal office of the company together with other employees. One thing that made Zara successful is by building bridges between high fashion and high street. Marta believes that technology and fashion, between art and functionality should be intertwined so that people will be delighted to buy their clothing line. With Marta’s guidance, the fashion brand has famously well-honed system for their apparel manufacturing that includes nine factories and nine distribution centers just in Spain alone. They also have another distribution center in the Netherlands and about two thousand vendors and suppliers across Turkey, India, Morocco and China.

Marta was able to develop an effective supply chain for Zara which is set in motion by the fashion brand’s reaction to the desires of the customers. One strategy that Marta applied is the keep inventory low and design timelines short which is deemed effective. With this strategy, international high-street competitors like Topshop, Aritzia and H&M struggle to compete with their breadth of product and depth of reach. With Marta’s guidance, Zara was able to sell more than 450 million items per year of womenswear alone.

Taking Over The Fashion Brand Zara

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Marta has obtained skills and talent in honing the success of Zara through the years, and has bypassed her older siblings in terms of skills. With her skills and talent, she was able to impress her father and the board of directors of Inditex that is the reason why they decided that beginning April 1, 2022, she will be leading the fashion empire as a non-executive chairperson. Her taking over Zara was announced by her father which resulted to a share price drop by about six percent, dropping about $3 billion dollars from the founder Ortega’s fortune. However the next day, the shares bounced back by about 4.5%.

A lot of people working for the fashion brand Zara believe that with Marta as their lead, they will be able to further take on the brand to a greater level. She is described by the Inditex chairman, Pablo Isla, as a very humble person and has a she has strong opinions about many different things. Everyone is anticipating the role of Marta to become much more significant as the company increases their focus on the sustainability over the next ten years. As for Marta, she says that she has no plans in taking over a formal leadership role but is open to it. She believes that she needs stay close to the fashion brand’s products to achieve better success. She currently tries to visit each store location as much as she can, she says that she will be wherever she is needed.

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Sources: The Wall Street Journal, SCMP, Standard UK

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