In the world of sunglasses, there is one company that rules them all: Luxottica. While you may not be familiar with that name, you’re likely familiar with its subsidiaries like Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Sunglass Hut.
Luxottica has humble beginnings,
It was founded by Leonardo Del Vecchio as a workshop that made parts for other eyewear makers in 1961. The company eventually started producing its own glasses, and expanded its empire through a series of sharp business moves, per Forbes: In 1988, Luxottica signed a licensing agreement with designer Giorgio Armani, which he says helped turn glasses into fashion accessories. From 1990 to 2001, the company acquired Vogue Eyewear, Persol, Ray-Ban, and Sunglass Hut. In 2018, Luxottica merged with Essilor, a french manufacturer of optic lenses, to create an eyewear behemoth. As you might expect, these moves were lucrative for the company and its founder.
Del Vecchio was born in 1935 to an impoverished family in Milan and raised in an orphanage. He passed away on Monday at age 87 as the proprietor of a ~$25B fortune. When asked the secret to his success, Del Vecchio replied, “I’ve always strived to be the best at everything I do — that’s it.”