Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From Ralph Lauren

Here’s a throwback to the kinds of videos I was making back in 2011. Crazy right? I did everything myself here… filmed it, narrated it, edited it… I even made the music behind it myself. I was too afraid to be on camera for a long period of time so it’s mostly b-roll with me reading. I was too scared I’d get the words wrong. It took me a long time to stop being a perfectionist 🙂 #Believe

What my old descriptions used to look like:

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My name is Evan Carmichael and I believe that the fastest and most effective way to build a business is to model the strategies of people who have already done what you’re trying to do. I call it Modeling the Masters.

Today we’re going to look at how a young man from The Bronx took a part time high school job selling ties and turned it into a multibillion dollar empire. This is the story of Ralph Lauren and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.

“The best thing you can do is go away from this saying, ‘I can do this too,’ because it’s all possible and I’m living proof.” – Ralf Lauren

Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz on October 14, 1939 in The Bronx, New York) is an American fashion designer and business executive; best-known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand. His father, a house painter, changed the family name to Lauren when Ralph was a teenager. While in high school, Lauren worked at a tie store as a stock boy after school. He often sold ties to his classmates to earn a commission. He sold ties for $12 to $15 when even luxury ties didn’t sell for more than $5.

After high school Lauren enlisted in the U.S. Army and then joined the Brooks Brothers clothing company as a tie salesman. He had a vision for creating a new line of ties but Brooks Brothers wasn’t interested so Lauren found a tie maker in Cincinnati and started his own business.

Today his Polo Ralph Lauren company has almost $5 billion in revenues and employs close to 20,000 people. As of 2011, Forbes estimates his wealth at $5.8 billion dollars which would make Ralph Lauren the 173rd richest person in the world.

Action Item #1: Stick to Your Vision
Action Item #2: Evolve Your Brand, Don’t Reinvent It
Action Item #3: Trust Your Instincts

True Story

In 1968, with the help of a $50,000 loan, Lauren founded Polo Fashions. He chose the name not because he liked the sport – he had never played polo before in his life. But to Lauren, the name symbolized power and style – an image he wanted his clothes to project.

According to Lauren: “I’ve always loved sports but it didn’t make much sense to call my brand ‘Basketball’ or ‘Baseball’ so I decided on ‘Polo.’ Of course I didn’t play polo but I liked that it represented a feeling of being international, European and yet very healthy American. It was the sport of kings. It was glamorous, sexy, and international.”

More Quotes

“The best thing you can do is go away from this saying, ‘I can do this too,’ because it’s all possible and I’m living proof.”

“I’m totally involved with all of my products. Everything I make is my message and for years my goal has been to make the things I love.”

“Back then when I mentioned Polo most people would look at me funny and say ‘You mean like Marco Polo?'”

What Do You Think?

Do you stick to your vision? Have you always trusted your instincts? What part of Ralph Lauren’s message impacted you the most? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you leave a comment below!

Evan Carmichael

To learn more check out my list of Ralph Lauren articles at or

Matthew Brewin

Hey, name's Matt. I'm a blogger on, Certified Digital Marketer, and Partner at Internet Profits Ltd.

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