founded the Crazy John's company and became
one of the largest privately held mobile
phone companies in Australia. Ilhan succeeded
in a competitive industry and overcame
the challenges of growing up in a poor
migrant family to become a wealthy businessman
and respected leader in his community
and around Australia.
John Ilhan was born Mustafa Ilhan in 1965,
in the city of Yozgat, located in central
Turkey. Ilhan and his family migrated
to Australia when he was just five years
old. He grew up in the working class suburb
of Broadmeadows in northern Melbourne,
Victoria, Australia. Growing up in a migrant
family was a struggle for Ilhan at school
as he had to deal with racist taunts from
other school kids.
In 1991 John Ilhan opened his first mobile
phone store called "Mobileworld"
in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.
John offered crazy deals like $1 phones
while his competitors were selling the
same products for $200. His unusual marketing
methods influenced the name change from
"Mobileworld" to "Crazy
Ilhan worked long hours and overcame numerous
challenges to become a phone retailer
with more than 120 stores and 600 employees
A major personal struggle that Ilhan had
to deal with was the suicide of his brother
in the 1990s. The Ilhan family was a close
knit family and the loss of a brother
hit John hard. The businessman was quoted
as saying "When my brother passed
away I struggled, I was so sad, so traumatized
by the whole experience, I didn't go to
work for three months, I didn't get out
of bed, it wasn't depression but it was
something, I was so traumatized."
Ilhan got through the traumatic situation
by praying regularly.
The Turkish-Australian entrepreneur created
a wealth of more than $300 million. Before
turning 40 he was ranked the richest
young person in Australia by the BRW
magazine. In 2007 the magazine ranked
Ilhan as the 126th richest man in Australia,
with a net worth of $310 million.
John Ilhan was a generous philanthropist
and regularly gave to various charities.
He started the "Ilhan
Food Allergy Foundation" with
a starting $1 million dollar donation
after learning that his daughter Jaida
had a severe allergy to peanuts.
John Ilhan died at the young age of 42
on the 23rd of October, 2007. Ilhan was
walking not far from his home in Brighton,
Victoria when he collapsed and died from
a suspected heart attack.
Ilhan lived with his wife Patricia and
their four children Jaida, Hannah, Yasmin,
and son Aidan.
The Managing Director of Crazy John's
Brendan Fleiter said "John did
something very special in his life. He
followed his dream and created a business
that employed hundreds of people and provided
real competition in the mobile phone business
for the first time. He cared about looking
after his customers and the people who
worked with him."
Islamic Council of Victoria's secretary
Sherene Hassan was quoted as saying "He
was much loved in the business community,
and provided a tremendous amount of inspiration
for Australian Muslims. We will all miss
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