July 4, 2022 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Lessons from the Sunglass King

Truth Bomb Tuesday: I found this story inspiring.

In these crazy times, I thought I wanted to offer something inspiring.

And when I read this obituary for Leonardo Del Vecchio last week, I thought that is was definitely a story worth sharing.

Long story short, when he died, he owned the largest sunglasses empire in the world – he was behind brands like Ray Ban and Oakley, and he produced frames for Armani and Prada.

He was also one of Italy’s richest men.

And he started his life in an orphanage.

Leonardo Del Vecchio, the Italian entrepreneur who transformed the tiny optics workshop he started in the Dolomite mountains into the undisputed world leader in eyewear and amassed one of the biggest fortunes in his country along the way, has died. He was 87.

Raised in a Milan orphanage, Mr Del Vecchio struck out to set up shop in the town of Agordo, in the Alps north of Venice, from where his small supplier of eyeglass frame-parts morphed into a global player, making a series of often brazen acquisitions to eventually become EssilorLuxottica, the world industry leader. Iconic brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley were among the scores of targets Mr Del Vecchio snapped up on his way to the top.

The rise brought Mr Del Vecchio the second-largest fortune is Italy – after the chocolate-making Ferrero family – with a net worth was $US25.7 billion ($37.1 billion) as of June 1, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Born on May 22, 1935, Mr Del Vecchio grew up poor in war-torn Milan. Unable to care for her son, his mother – widowed five months before he was born – sent him to an orphanage when he was seven. He began working as an apprentice to a tool and dye maker in Milan when he was 14.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine being seven and being given up by your broken-hearted mother?

That’s got to stay with you for life.

But then you go on and build an incredible fortune, literally going from rags to riches.

For me, it just goes to show that anybody can do anything. Yes, fate will always play a hand. But this proves to me that there is absolutely no reason that you can’t be or do anything you want.

And what was the secret to his success. Just a commitment to excellence:

During a rare conversation with a reporter this year, he was asked how he built his empire. “I’ve always strived to be the best at everything I do – that’s it,” Mr Del Vecchio said. Describing the drive that took him to the top, he said simply, “I could never get enough.”

That’s it. I believe that to be true. I see parallels in my own story.

It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from. It only matters whether you can stick with it, and just keep doing your best.

That’s how a great life is made.