Much has been made of the 45th President of the United States’ great wealth and business acumen. Now, while both are a matter of some debate, the fact that Donald Trump is a wealthy man and a billionaire is not new. Like him or loathe him, that is a fact.
But do you know what else is a fact? The eight women on this list have all made their money themselves…. Not that we’re implying anything here!
Marian Ilitch met her husband Mike Ilitch on a blind date in 1954. In 1959 the Ilitches opened the first Little Caesars Pizza in the Detroit suburb of Garden City. Mike wanted to call the pizza shop “Pizza Treat,” but Marion nixed that idea. Little Caesar was Marian’s nickname for Mike. Little Caesars became the largest carryout pizza chain in the world, known for its TV ads featuring the slogan “Pizza! Pizza!” Today, Little Caesars has locations in 20 countries, employs 23,000 people and had $3.4 billion in revenue in 2016.
Diane Hendricks founded the roofing supply company ABC with her husband Kenneth in 1982. They ran their business side by side until Kenneth died unexpectedly in 2007. Ironically, he fell from the roof of the couple’s home. At the time, Diane considered selling the company. Instead, she threw herself into it and since then doubled the company’s sales from $3 billion to $6 billion in just 10 years.
Lynda Resnick and her husband Stuart own and run the Wonderful Company, which sells POM Wonderful juice, Halo brand mandarin oranges, Fiji water, almonds, and pistachios. It is estimated that almost half of all American households buy one of the Resnick’s products. Lynda met Stuart, who is her second husband, when she was pitching her ad agency to get his business while he was President of American Protection Industries. They married in 1973. Stewart and Lynda Resnick took the first step towards their multi billion dollar fortune when they purchased Teleflora in 1979.
Jin Sook Chang and her husband Do Won “Don” Chang emigrated from South Korea to Los Angeles in 1981 in search of the American Dream. They were broke, didn’t speak very much English, didn’t have college degrees and were both just 26 years old. They had run a coffee shop in South Korea and intended to do the same in Los Angeles. However, while working at a gas station he noticed all the best cars were driven by clothing retailers and the Changs path was forever changed when the couple founded Forever 21.
Zhou Qunfei founded Lens Technology, which is the world’s largest maker of glass touchscreen mobile phone and tablet covers. Qunfei is a supplier for Apple and Samsung. Qunfei is from Mainland China and comes from a poor rural background. She started out as a factory worker in Shenzhen, but left that life in 1993 to work in the glass industry. Today, she is the world’s richest female tech company founder, following the success of her March 2015 IPO. She employs more than 60,000 people.
Chan Laiwa made her fortune in real estate development. She founded Fu Wah International Group in 1998, which is one of Beijing’s largest real estate developers. 2012 was a particularly good year for Chan, due to the increase in commercial property values in Beijing, and her net worth increased by $570 million. She is a true rags-to-riches story, having been born poor.
Rafaela Aponte and her husband Gianlugi met when she was a passenger on a ferry that he was the captain of. They founded Mediterranean Shipping in 1970. MSC is the second largest shipping container company in the world. In 1998, the Aponte’s founded MSC Cruises, which is known for its authentic Italian cuisine. Rafaela designs the interiors of the cruise ships.
Lam Wai Ying and her husband Yeung Kin-man make the glass for the smartphone touch screens on Apple and Samsung devices. The couple founded Biel Crystal Manufactory. The couple has been in the glass business for almost 30 years. They started supplying glass for watch faces, but after smartphones got big, he had the idea to make the screens out of glass instead. Apple and Samsung eventually got on board, and the rest is billionaire history.