Every inch of Umar Kamani’s sprawling office is a different shade of garish, improbable pink. The rooms are pink, the retro-style telephones are very pink, and motivational messages imploring staff working at his online clothing giant, Pretty Little Thing, to channel ‘good vibes only’ are blazoned across the walls in neon candy hues.
A gigantic winged unicorn in one corner has been artfully dressed for the festive season in a series of oversized pink bows and strings of glittering diamante. Subtlety, it seems, has no place here, in the headquarters for what has swiftly become a global retail phenomenon.
But then 31-year-old Kamani, the millionaire British entrepreneur who created it all, is not one for understatement – much like his unlikely inspiration, Walt Disney. ‘Disney is a place where everyone smiles,’ he says, enthusiastically, gesturing at his pastel-coated empire.
Every inch of Umar Kamani’s (pictured) sprawling office is a different shade of garish, improbable pink
‘It’s a happy place, and that’s what I have tried to do in the office with unicorns. You get a feeling of happiness without anyone telling you to be happy.’
Even the playlists in his fleet of cars – which includes two Rolls-Royce Phantoms, a £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador, a £92,000 customised Mercedes G-class and a high-end Range Rover – are Disney.
Singing along to the Lion King hit Hakuna Matata – which translates from Swahili as ‘no troubles’ – is a particular pleasure, he admits, unabashed.
Certainly charismatic Kamani, the son of Mahmud Kamani – billionaire founder of fellow internet fashion giant Boohoo – has little to trouble him. The success of Pretty Little Thing since it launched in 2012 has been phenomenal, with £374 million in sales last year alone. By 2022, the company – part-owned by Boohoo – is forecast to be worth around £2.1billion.
There are no high street stores – instead it advertises prolifically across social media. Its fashion is fast and affordable, aimed at glamorous, style-conscious young women on a budget. dresses range from £6 for a basic T-shirt style, to £100 for a diamante-mesh outfit that would not look out of place on a Kardashian’s Instagram page.
Umar Kamani CEO & Founder PrettyLittleThing.com posted this image on his instagram. After all, it is his family – and particularly his father, Mahmud – he credits with his work ethic. His grandparents, who were originally from India, arrived in Manchester from Kenya in 1969 when his father was just two years old
This weekend, Kamani expects the annual Black Friday sale to shift one million pieces of stock, generating the company’s biggest payday to date. In preparation, he’s filled its warehouse to the rafters, a photograph of which went viral at the beginning of last week.
Little wonder, then, that society magazine Tatler named Kamani its eighth most eligible bachelor for 2019, alongside the Duke of Roxburghe and former One Direction star Harry Styles.
Kamani’s lifestyle is decidedly jet-set, with his contacts book brimming with A-list stars such as Jennifer Lopez, rapper P Diddy and actor Denzel Washington. Such is his self-belief that when he wanted to launch PLT in the US three years ago, he offered a six-figure sum to reality TV star Kylie Jenner, half-sister of Kim Kardashian, to appear in one of his £15 orange dresses.
‘It’s all about the hustle,’ he says, with a shrug. ‘I knew I wanted to be in those circles because I’m obsessed with power.’
Power duly followed. The Kylie Jenner coup led to sales increasing ten-fold and allowed him to buy a seven-bedroom mansion in the Hollywood Hills, complete with basketball court.
Flicking through his Instagram account reveals the very caricature of a playboy – lunching at Nobu in Malibu wearing Gucci slippers, hanging out with P Diddy at the Grammys and Kylie Jenner at Coachella music festival, and posing at the wheel of a yacht on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
‘A lot of these people are my friends,’ he says. ‘Will.I.Am is a really good mate – we FaceTime nearly every day – as is P Diddy. I was at the LA Lakers game with Denzel Washington a few weeks ago too.’
The founder of PrettyLittleThing offered a look inside the retailer's 650,000 sq ft warehouse. Umar Kamani, 31, from Manchester, who co-founded PrettyLittleThing with brother Adam in 2012, shared a video of the inner-workings of the brand's Sheffield operation - the size of 15 football pitches - on his Instagram account
P Diddy gave him an apparently invaluable tip – to have a videographer by his side, 24 hours a day. Most might consider that an intrusion too far, but Kamani is so keen to record every moment of his gilded life that he has even moved a cameraman into his Cheshire home, deep in the footballer heartland of Alderley Edge.
‘P Diddy said he’d had the most amazing experiences in his life,’ Kamani explains. ‘He said he wished he had filmed them, and told me to do it. So, I have someone filming my important moments, big meetings, that kind of thing.
‘Who knows what I will do with it but I have it, and to make sure nothing is missed, he lives with me along with others who work with me.’
It’s clear that he has a soft spot for J.Lo. The pair met at producer LA Reid’s Grammy party in LA, and she now designs her own PLT range.
The pair have become so close that Kamani even threw her a star-studded 50th birthday party in July at Gloria Estefan’s luxurious Miami villa, and took his mum Aisha.
But the pink office, the glamorous lifestyle – it’s all for show, Kamani insists. He claims he ‘parties with purpose’ to further his business interests and that he’s home by midnight.
Once, before the business took off, he was an amateur boxer and playboy, who cared only about partying and chasing women.
Now, dating is ‘a distraction’. He split with girlfriend Amy Reddish, who works as head of brand at PLT, in the summer. He is also teetotal, all the better to focus on his venture. Certainly