The son of a Kenyan-born, and former supplier of New Look and Primark. Kamani is behind a growing fast-fashion empire: Boohoo, which also owns PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal, Karen Millen, and Coast.
Mahmoud Kamani maintains a low profile and never speaks to the press, but he is indeed the man behind the latest great fashion phenomenon. Boohoo has become the largest British fashion ecommerce in terms of capitalization, already surpassing Asos, with four more brands in its portfolio. Boohoo is one of the pioneers of the cheap ultra-fast fashion trend that has conquered the Internet. Who is Mahmoud Kamani, and could he be the new king of online fashion?
Kamani’s interest in the sector originates from his father, Abdullah Kamani, who emigrated from Kenya to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. His first job after arriving in the new territory was selling bags at a market stall, according to his son in an interview with The Guardian, where he also pointed out that, even at the age of 80, his father continued to show up at work every day.
It was from a street stall that was then born a prolific family business of groups such as New Look or Primark. In 2006, Mahmud Kamani decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and start, along with his partner Carol Kane, his own fashion company: Boohoo.
Kamani’s father also dedicated himself to the sector as a supplier of Primark and New Look
The model? Fast and cheap clothes, with novelties every week along with an explosive and trendy style that conquered young British women between 16 and 24 years old. In 2014, the company recorded a revenue of 110 million pounds (143 million dollars) and made a profit of 11 million pounds (14.3 million dollars), Boohoo went public.
The demanded transparency in their accounts reaffirmed the phenomenon. In the last two years, the company has almost tripled its sales, unto ending 2018 (year ending in February) with a revenue of 856.9 million pounds (1.1 billion dollars.
Although it is far from the 2.4 billion pounds (3.1 billion dollars) of Asos, Boohoo has already surpassed Asos in the stock market, with a capitalization of 3.7 billion pounds (4.8 billion dollars), compared to the 2,7 billion pounds (3.5 billion dollars) of Asos at the end of the day on Friday.
The entrepreneur has already left the forefront although he remains as CEO
Boohoo has offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London but maintains its headquarters in Burnley, a dormitory city in Manchester, where it employs 1,500 people. Each week, the company adds 3,000 new models to the web with an average price of 20 pounds.
With his wife Aisha Kamani, who is the one who usually represents him at numerous celebrities parties organized by the company, the executive has had three children: Umar, Adam and Samir Kamani.
The eldest, Adam Kamani, worked at Boohoo before launching the PrettyLittleThing brand with his brother Umar in 2012. The company started as a small accessories firm and today is the jewel in the crown of the Boohoo group, with a revenue of 300 million pounds (391 million dollars). The third brother, Samir Kamani, is leading the Boohoo men’s fashion division, BoohooMan.
In recent years, the family empire has gained strength in the shopping division. In 2017, the company rescued the Nasty Gal brand, in March 2019 it bought MissPap and a few months later shuttered Karen Millen and Coast intending to solely relaunch them online.
Kamani has already begun the passing of the torch. In 2019, he and Carol Kane left their positions as CEOs and signed John Lyttle, former exec of Primark, Matalan, and Arcadia, as the new chief executive. Kane became creative director and Kamani took over the executive presidency.