His co-founder, Mahmud Kamani, 55, and his wife, Aisha, and sons Umar, Adam and Samir, have moved from a home in Chorlton, Manchester, to lavish lifestyles, with properties in New York and Dubai, among others. The family’s glamorous existence is documented on Umar’s dynamic Instagram feed, which he uses to promote the brand he runs, Pretty Little Thing, to its 780,000 subscribers.
It all started with a market stall in Manchester. Abdullah Kamani, Mahmud’s father, supported himself by selling handbags after fleeing war-torn Kenya in the 1960s to rebuild in the United Kingdom.
Abdullah then founded a wholesale textile business, sourcing and selling clothing, primarily from India, and becoming a major supplier to big names such as New Look and Primark. Her son Mahmud started working on the stall and grew up in the wholesale trade, Pinstripe, delivering goods in a van for his father.In 1993 Pinstripe hired Carol Kane, now 53, a graduate in fashion design fresh from work in the Hong Kong clothing supply industry. Then, in her mid-twenties, she set up the group’s design team and gradually became a key player, co-founder of Boohoo with Mahmud Kamani in 2006.
Having worked together for over 25 years, the couple understand each other so well that they can finish their sentences.
Kamani is known as a difficult negotiator with an imposing nature and a quick brain. Former business associates say he can be an inspiration to his employees, although he is also known for his outspoken style.
While Kamani focuses more on building Boohoo’s infrastructure behind the scenes, Kane oversees the product lines, relationships with online influencers and the client side of the business. She may be less fiery than Kamani, but she can stand up to him and is not child’s play, with a black belt in kickboxing.
In 2006, the pair’s idea was to use the then-new powers of the Internet to sell directly to buyers, thereby eliminating retail middlemen.
Both are rooted in the fashion supply industry and have used their knowledge and connections to create a fast fashion engine which company general manager John Lyttle recently said could get a design on the website in as little as 48 hours.
Unlike its rival Asos, Boohoo only sells its own clothes, which gives it more control over profit margins and products. His ability to quickly stock up on clothing in factories in Leicester makes him more responsive to trends fueled by social media.
Despite a series of reports raising concerns about conditions in Leicester, starting with a report from the Ethical Trading Initiative in 2015, which found that clothing workers were paid as little as £ 3 per hour, Boohoo became the predominant retail group dealing with city suppliers. . Until this week, it had ignored requests from ETI, unions, NGOs and MPs to make major changes to its business practices.
Her fast fashion model was so successful that profits soared 54 percent to £ 92 million at the end of February. The company, which was listed on the stock exchange in 2014, now has a higher value than Marks & Spencer and Asos.
Shortly after disclosing record profits, Boohoo announced a controversial bonus plan under which its bosses could receive a £ 150 million bonus if its shares rose two-thirds over the next three years. Kane and Kamani would receive two-thirds of the payment.
Its expansion ambitions are clear. In May, Boohoo raised £ 200 million to buy brands, and has already recovered the names of troubled streets Oasis and Warehouse, as well as the consolidation of its stake in Pretty Little Thing – by handing over Umar Kamani and his trading partner , Paul Papworth, over £ 260m for their 35% stake.
Boohoo’s list now includes Karen Millen and Coast, which she bought in August of last year, as well as Nasty Gal and Miss Pap. The range of brands takes the company to older and more spendthrift markets than the teenagers and twentysomethings who favor Boohoo. Other acquisitions may be underway.