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Jon Koon

A millionaire by age 16
Business: Auto parts, fashion

Jon Koon’s dad was a car fanatic. Young Jon would look through his dad’s magazines — the car magazines, that is — from Japan. He saw all these super sleek cars and said to himself: “How come no one does that here?”

Jon, a Chinese-American in New York City, took the $5,000 he’d received in red envelopes for holidays over the years and bought parts from overseas suppliers, partnered with a local mechanic, and started souping up cars with high-end finishes, audio systems and engine work. The business took off and later became one of the main suppliers for the show “Pimp My Ride.”

He could’ve been a victim of his own success: The idea spread like wildfire and today, there are at least 60 to 70 shops in New York City that pimp out rides. Instead, he saw the changing landscape and got into the manufacturing business, starting his own line of parts – some high end, and some appealing to that impulse under $10 crowd, like the spinning-wheel air freshener. His manufacturing move opened the door to fashion and today, he manufacturers fashion lines including Young Jeezy 8732, a partnership with platinum recording artist “Young Jeezy,” and a denim line with Italian designer Domenico Vacca.

He made his first million by age 16 and today, TyKoon Enterprises is worth $80 million — its profits jumped 500 percent during the recession.


Tune in to CNBC Thursday, Oct 21 at 9pm for “How I Made My Millions.”