A Former Bank Analyst's Thing for Bling

A former bank analyst left the cubicle behind and built an empire founded on affordable jewelry
Chanaratsopon, 33, found the typical mall heavy on clothing and light on accessories. His store, Charming Charlie, stocks and sells more than 50,000 items Photograph by Jeff Wilson for Bloomberg Businessweek

After growing up in Houston, Charlie Chanaratsopon went on to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, where he majored in finance and minored in economics. Upon graduation in 2001, he went to work at Sanwa Bank as an analyst. He endured nearly two years of grunt work before he returned home to join his family’s manufacturing company, Silver Express, where he persuaded his parents to construct an office building with a retail center attached. There, with $800,000 in startup costs paid through loans and a personal credit card, Chanaratsopon founded Charming Charlie, his own jewelry shop. “I enjoyed building retail centers, working with engineers and general contractors,” he says, “but the fashion retail business is so much more fun.”

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