How Hezy Shaked overcame challenge after challenge to build Tilly’s Inc.

Hezy Shaked, founder, chairman and chief strategy officer, Tilly's Inc.

Hezy Shaked, founder, chairman and chief strategy officer, Tilly’s Inc.

Retail & Consumer Products


Hezy Shaked has faced many different challenges throughout his life. So when he and his wife, Tilly, realized that $3,000 was not going to be enough to complete their cross-country journey of the United States, Shaked was not shaken a bit.

He was committed to being the provider his family needed, so this young man who had been born and raised in Israel took his first U.S. job at a garage. His living accommodations were under a staircase, but Shaked remained positive about his future.

He took inventory of what he could do and focused on the idea that all humans need clothing. So he took a few retail items and a strong work ethic and traveled to an Orange County swap meet.

Things began to come together and Shaked evolved from a few items at a swap meet to a truck full of new clothing and apparel to the opening of his first retail store in Los Alamitos, Calif.

As the founder, chairman and chief strategy officer of Tilly’s Inc., Shaked continued to focus on providing value and working hard to get his customers what they wanted. He was willing to make investments to build the infrastructure he needed to keep his company growing.

This high level of commitment is also evident in the way Shaked goes about hiring employees and building a strong culture. He understands how much his employees depend on him for their livelihood and makes sure they see it every day. He is willing to spend money to make things happen, but is careful about those decisions so that he doesn’t put the future of the organization at risk.

It’s a spirit that allows the company to succeed and allows Shaked to help those outside Tilly’s who really need it. The company has consistently supported a number of charitable causes through both its time and monetary donations.

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