8. Coco Chanel
Chanel was raised in an orphanage by nuns who taught her to sew. She left the orphanage and began a singing career, earning her nickname Coco, short for coquette. A woman of incredible business acumen and tremendous sex appeal, Coco got her start in fashion using a tried and true method; she got a boyfriend to invest the money for her first shop. And then another boyfriend to expand the business. In an age when men ran the world’s fashion houses, Chanel was a groundbreaker. She saw to it that there was a Chanel Suit and a little black dress in every society woman’s closet. Using her name to promote everything from accessories to perfume turned Mme. Chanel into a marquis brand. Forty years after her death, the company assets total $ 4.5 billion. Go talk with Grandma. Maybe she’s still willing to teach you to sew.