Nigel Austin

Name: Nigel Austin

Country: Australia

Date of birth:

Education: Austin is a college drop out.

Type of business: Founder of Cotton on clothing and stationery group

The main Achievement: Made it to Forbe’s Magazine’s list of Australia’s Richest 2017

Something interesting about the person:Nigel was about 18 years of age only when he took his first entrepreneurial step.


Biography:Nigel Austin was only 18 years old when he was drawn towards entrepreneurship. He was, at the time, enrolled in a university (he dropped out later) and made his first move as a future successful top businessman. He started by getting clothes from wholesalers and bought them by himself to sell in local markets. He does admit that initially, things did not go the way he had expected them to. His freshman year at university was spent putting in countless hours of labor without getting much in return. When he turned 19, he made the most significant decision a 19-year-old could ever have to make, which was, dropping out of university. For the first year, it was kept a secret from his family until his retail work had started to work out.

Austin mentions how, since the age of 8 or 9, retail was what we wanted to sink his claws into. He takes his inspiration from his father and claims that his purpose and vision he gets from his dad. Grant Austin, his father, ran the company called Austin Group. In the late ‘80s, its revenue was close to $45 mil, which makes up about 130 million dollars in today’s time. Despite coming from a healthy family, Austin claims that he was given a lot of tough love. His resources were regulated when he went to college; he was not spoon-fed and pushed to get out, find work, and his work ethic.

Austin set up his first shop in 1991 with a rent of 110 dollars a week. His primary goal was to keep the risk as low as he could and get to making 2000 dollars a week that year. He believed if he could do that, he could make a hundred and a thousand dollars a year.

Of course, Austin was able to reach that goal, and the saleswere 380 000 dollars. With the help of his dear cousin (holder of 10% stakes of the company at present), he was able to raise enough money to open store 2. This went on, and the suppliers grew with the company. Within 15 years, the company grew to the size of 50 stores, and profits were made. New Zealand was the first international market targeted by Austin.

Thirty years of hard work paid off. Cotton on Group is on top of the food chain of fast fashion in Australia. Its headquarters are located in Geelong, south of Melbourne, and has about 1500 stores in 19 countries around the world. These countries include Thailand, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and more. Its focus has now shifted to the United States of America.

Coming to the products of Cotton on, it seems like a mix of Old Navy, H & M, and Urban Outfitters. Like these brands, Cotton On too focuses mainly on teenagers and young adults, providing trendy, modestly priced, casual, everyday clothes. Not only this, but Austin also targets the demographics of stationery and household décor items, streetwear, lingerie, activewear, swimwear,

Today, Cotton on clothing makes Australia’s biggest fast-fashion retailers and company with Nigel Austin’s worth of about $1.5 billion.