retail heros

Meet the Secret Billionaire Behind Desigual’s Undie-Party Fortune

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Desigual, the Spanish retailer known for its cheeky promotions like undies parties (Shoppers leave dressed, gratis) and kissing festivals, has a reclusive, Swiss billionaire owner, according to the latest installment of Bloomberg’s juicy secret billionaires series. Thomas Meyer, 50, owns the entire company, through a Dutch holding company called La Vida Es Chula, or “Life is Cool.” He started the company as a 21-year-old selling T-shirts and recycled denim jackets in Ibiza. (What a cutie!) The first store opened in 1986 and now, expecting to surpass $1 billion in sales, seeks expansion into Latin America and Asia. It’s a little odd that Meyer, a man whose fortunes were built upon Ibiza party kids and undies parties, would skip the Forbes interviews and store-opening parties that could have leveraged his billionaire status into billionaire playboy status. But according to acquaintances, he’s only reserved when it comes to business. One reassured a newspaper that “in money matters he is Swiss … Otherwise he is very Spanish.” We’re not terribly cosmopolitan but we’re pretty sure that means “rich enough to pay for everyone’s drugs.”

The Man Behind Desigual’s Undie-Party Fortune