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Leaders of These Companies Demand Immediate Results
The 25 fastest-growing companies in Los Angeles County
Los Angeles Business Journal
Sarah Filus, David Geffner, Bonnie Lee, David Nusbaum, Anne Riley-Katz and Aarthi Sivaraman
November 14, 2005

9. American Apparel Inc.

Dov Charney

Age: 36

Title: Co-Owner

Business: Manufacturer, distributor and retailer of men's and women's T-shirts.

Growth rate: 276.1%

Getting started: Selling shirts in Montreal that I was importing from the United States.

Financing: The company grew by buying and selling and with a little help from the family.

Biggest break: When I entered retail and opened my first three stores New York, Los Angeles and Montreal. It showed me how to do business.

Hardest lesson: Even at the most pessimistic of times you have to be a little optimistic. That's when you are at the low point. When you are looking back from a high point, you remember that it happened that way.

Biggest frustration: I worry that I'm being misunderstood, like in terms of how society perceives me. People may not understand my philosophy in business. It comes back to the creative process.

Biggest regret: That I am maybe getting distracted by the wrong details when I should be seeing the big picture.

Best/Worst attributes: My positive and negative attributes are all the same and that is because I am an alternative thinker. That can get you into trouble and also get you a lot of success. I think differently. Some people are intrigued by that and others are offended at the same time.