family-business

The Family Business Models That Became Empires

A family business model is usually owned and, in part, run by the founding family or its dynasty. Family businesses can take on several business formats, from running a retail brand a mono-brand, or perhaps a multiple brand strategy, depending on the industry and market. Some family businesses have turned into multi-billion dollar companies.

The Inditex (Zara) Empire

Zara, owned by Inditex, primarily owned by the Ortega family, is a major family group that dominates fashion.

inditex-fast-fashion-empire
With over €27 billion in sales in 2021, the Spanish Fast Fashion Empire, Inditex, which comprises eight sister brands, has grown thanks to a strategy of expanding its flagship stores in exclusive locations around the globe. Its largest brand, Zara, contributed over 70% of the group’s revenue. The country that contributed the most to the fast fashion Empire sales was Spain, with over 15% of its revenues.

The company pioneered what’s called fast fashion.

fast-fashion
Fash fashion has been a phenomenon that became popular in the late 1990s, early 2000s, as players like Zara and H&M took over the fashion industry by leveraging on shorter and shorter design-manufacturing-distribution cycles. Reducing these cycles from months to a few weeks. With just-in-time logistics, flagship stores in iconic places in the largest cities in the world, these brands offered cheap, fashionable clothes and a wide variety of designs.

Today Zara is a fashion giant which in 2021 generated almost €20 billion in revenue.

zara-business-model
Zara is a brand part of the retail empire Inditex. Zara is the leading brand in what has been defined as “fast fashion.” With almost €20 billion in sales in 2021 (comprising Zara Home) and an integrated retail format with quick sales cycles. Zara follows an integrated retail format where customers are free to move from physical to digital experience.

Brunello Cucinelli Human Enterprise

brunello-cucinelli-business-model

Brunello Cucinelli is an Italian luxury and casual-chic brand, which built its success around cashmere clothing. Brunello Cucinelli built its business around the Humanistic Enterprise model, which revolves around Italian Craftsmanship, Sustainable Growth, and Exclusive Positioning and Distribution. More than 50% of the company revenues come from the retail mono-brand, directly managed by the company.

brunello-cucinelli-ownership-structure

Brunello Cucinelli follows three key distribution strategies:

  • Retail monobrand where the company controls the direct distribution of stores to the end customer. Those are run and operated by Brunello Cucinelli.
  • The wholesale monobrand channel is made of monobrand stores operated under commercial distribution agreements.
  • The wholesale multibrand channel, consisting of independent multibrand stores and dedicated spaces within department stores (shop-in-shops).

Luxottica Vertical-Integration

vertically-integrated-business-model

Luxottica has built its whole success based on integrating the whole supply chain, thus connecting its sourcing and manufacturing process, wholesale capability and retail stores to reach the final consumers.

direct-vs-indirect-distribution-channels

LVMH Multi-Brand Strategy

bernard-arnault-net-worth
Bernard Arnault’s wealth is around $203 billion. Indeed Arnault is the CEO and chairman of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a massive luxury group that generated over €79 billion in revenue ($83 billion) in 2022, spanning across wines, fashion, cosmetics, and retail. The Arnault family group owns 48.18% of the capital for LVMH with 63.9% voting power, making Bernard Arnault the principal owner and decision-maker. His stake is worth over $203 billion.

LVMH is a global luxury empire with over €46 billion in revenues for 2018 spanning across several industries: wines and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, watched and jewelry, and selective retailing. It comprises brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Fendi, Loro Piana, and many others. 

LVMH follows a multi-brand integrated strategy, where each brand is managed independently. This enables each brand part of the group to keep its identity, while still keeping the advantage of economies of scale, deriving from the fact those brands belong to the holding group.

Prada Iconic Business Model

prada-business-model

The family-owned Italian luxury brand, Prada generated over three billion euros in revenues for 2017. Europe represented almost forty percent of the total revenues. Among Prada brands, Prada made more than eighty percent of the company’s revenues, followed by Miu Miu, with more than fifteen percent, Church’s which generated two and a half percent of its total revenues. Instead, Marchesi 1824 (a luxury bakery) and Car Shoe (a shoe company) made about half a percent of the total revenues.

Among its products line leather goods represented more than fifty-six percent of the total Prada revenues. Followed by Footwear and Clothing. More than eighty percent of Prada revenues got generated via its directly operated stores. Miuccia Prada owns sixty-five percent of Prada Holding, while Patrizio Bertelli owns thirty-five percent. Prada holding owns eighty-percent of Prada.  

prada-ownership-structure

Prada kept a tight ownership structure where the company is mostly in the hands of the family.

Kering Multi-Brand Group Strategy

kering-brands
Kering is a luxury goods multinational founded in France by François Pinault in 1963. The company, which initially specialized in timber trading, grew via acquisitions and was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1988. Two years later, Kering merged with a French conglomerate interested in furniture, department stores, and bookstores.

Kering Group follows a multi-brand business model strategy (very similar to LVMH), where the central holding helps the brands and Houses part of its portfolio to leverage on economies of scale while creating synergies among them.

At the same time, those brands are run independently. This multi-brand strategy comprises brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and Puma.

The two primary operating segments based on luxury and sport & lifestyle.

Walmart Empire Business Model

walmart-business-model
With over $572 billion in net sales in 2022, Walmart operates a differentiated Omni business model with three primary units comprising Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam’s Club (a membership-only warehouse club), together with Walmart+. This subscription service includes unlimited free shipping, unlimited delivery from its stores, and discounts launched in 2021.

With over $495 in net sales as of January 2018, and over $4.5 billion coming from Membership and other income.

The company operates three primary units that in 2018 comprise Walmart U.S. (approximately 64% of our net sales), Walmart International (about 24% of net sales), and Sam’s Club (approximately 12% of its net sales) a membership-only warehouse clubs and operates in 44 states in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, as well as eCommerce.  

walmart-vision-statement-mission-statement

Walmart’s Mission can be summarized as “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy.

Key takeaways

Family business models, just like other companies can take several forms that help them scale and yet keep the business successful. Some of the examples we saw, you can have a deeper look below:

Related Visual Resources

Slow Fashion

slow-fashion
Slow fashion is a movement in contraposition with fast fashion. Where in fast fashion, it’s all about speed from design to manufacturing and distribution, in slow fashion, quality and sustainability of the supply chain are the key elements.

Patagonia Business Model

patagonia-business-model
Patagonia is an American clothing retailer founded by climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard in 1973 who saw initial success by selling reusable climbing pitons and Scottish rugby shirts. Over time Patagonia also became a fashionable brand also for its focus on slow fashion. Indeed, the company sells high-priced clothing items built to last which it will repair for free.

Patagonia Organizational Structure

patagonia-organizational-structure
Patagonia has a particular organizational structure, where its founder, Chouinard, disposed of the company’s ownership in the hands of two non-profits. The Patagonia Purpose Trust, holding 100% of the voting stocks, is in charge of defining the company’s strategic direction. And the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit, holds 100% of non-voting stocks, aiming to re-invest the brand’s dividends into environmental causes.

Fast Fashion

fast-fashion
Fash fashion has been a phenomenon that became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as players like Zara and H&M took over the fashion industry by leveraging on shorter and shorter design-manufacturing-distribution cycles. Reducing these cycles from months to a few weeks. With just-in-time logistics and flagship stores in iconic places in the largest cities in the world, these brands offered cheap, fashionable clothes and a wide variety of designs.

Inditex Empire

inditex-fast-fashion-empire
With over €27 billion in sales in 2021, the Spanish Fast Fashion Empire, Inditex, which comprises eight sister brands, has grown thanks to a strategy of expanding its flagship stores in exclusive locations around the globe. Its largest brand, Zara, contributed over 70% of the group’s revenue. The country that contributed the most to the fast fashion Empire sales was Spain, with over 15% of its revenues.

LVMH Business Model

lvmh-group-business-model
LVMH is a global luxury empire with over €79 billion ($83 billion) in revenues for 2022, spanning several industries: wines and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, watches and jewelry, and selective retailing. It comprises brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Fendi, Loro Piana, and many others.

Kering Business Model

kering-business-model
Kering Group follows a multi-brand business model strategy. The central holding helps the brands and Houses part of its portfolio leverage economies of scale while creating synergies. At the same time, those brands are run independently. Kering is today a global luxury brand that made over €20 billion in revenue based on this multi-brand strategy. Within Kering Group are brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and many more—the primary operating segments based on luxury and lifestyle.

Kering Brands

kering-brands
Kering is a luxury goods multinational founded in France by François Pinault in 1963. The company, which initially specialized in timber trading, grew via acquisitions and was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1988. Two years later, Kering merged with a French conglomerate interested in furniture, department stores, and bookstores.

Ultra Fast Fashion

ultra-fast-fashion
The Ultra Fashion business model is an evolution of fast fashion with a strong online twist. Indeed, where the fast-fashion retailer invests massively in logistics and warehousing, its costs are still skewed toward operating physical retail stores. While the ultra-fast fashion retailer mainly moves its operations online, thus focusing its cost centers on logistics, warehousing, and a mobile-based digital presence.

ASOS Business Model

asos-business-model
ASOS is a British online fashion retailer founded in 2000 by Nick Robertson, Andrew Regan, Quentin Griffiths, and Deborah Thorpe. As an online fashion retailer, ASOS makes money by purchasing clothes from wholesalers and then selling them for a profit. This includes the sale of private label or own-brand products. ASOS further expanded on the fast fashion business model to create an ultra-fast fashion model driven by short sales cycles and online mobile e-commerce as the main drivers.

Real-Time Retail

real-time-retail
Real-time retail involves the instantaneous collection, analysis, and distribution of data to give consumers an integrated and personalized shopping experience. This represents a strong new trend, as a further evolution of fast fashion first (who turned the design into manufacturing in a few weeks), ultra-fast fashion later (which further shortened the cycle of design-manufacturing). Real-time retail turns fashion trends into clothes collections in a few days or a maximum of one week.

SHEIN Business Model

shein-business-model
SHEIN is an international B2C fast fashion eCommerce platform founded in 2008 by Chris Xu. The company improved the ultra-fast fashion model by leveraging real-time retail, quickly turning fashion trends in clothes collections through its strong digital presence and successful branding campaigns.

Zara Business Model

zara-business-model
Zara is a brand part of the retail empire Inditex. Zara is the leading brand in what has been defined as “fast fashion.” With almost €20 billion in sales in 2021 (comprising Zara Home) and an integrated retail format with quick sales cycles. Zara follows an integrated retail format where customers are free to move from physical to digital experience.

Wish Business Model

wish-business-model
Wish is a mobile-first e-commerce platform in which users’ experience is based on discovery and customized product feed. Wish makes money from merchants’ fees and advertising on the platform, and logistic services. The mobile platform also leverages an asset-light business model based on a positive cash conversion cycle where users pay in advance as they order goods, and merchants are paid in weeks.

Poshmark Business Model

poshmark-business-model
Poshmark is a social commerce mobile platform that combines social media capabilities with its e-commerce platform to enable transactions. It makes money with a simple model, where for each sale, Poshmark takes a 20% fee on the final price for sales of $15 and over and a flat rate of $2.95 for sales below that. Its gamification elements and the tools offered to sellers are critical to the company’s growth as a mobile-first platform.

Read Next: Zara Business Model, Inditex, Fast Fashion Business Model, Ultra Fast Fashion Business Model, SHEIN Business Model.

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