Born to a family of lawyers in Blackheath, London, he had poor academic performance due to his dyslexia. Therefore, he focused more on his business which included growing Christmas trees and raising parakeets. He later started his own record mail-order business at the age of 16. In 1972, he established the record store Virgin Records, which prospered in the 1980s with a number of outlets. He also created Virgin Atlantic Airwaves, which expanded Virgin Records into a music label, making him the 245th richest person in the world today.