Many well-known, hugely successful businesses of today started out small and very often, far away from a corporate office. In fact, there are multiple multi-billion dollar empires that began as a great idea somewhere other than within the four walls of an office. From humble beginnings to world-wide fame, here are some brands that were launched in the most unlikely of places: a garage,
Many well-known, hugely successful businesses of today started out small and very often, far away from a corporate office. In fact, there are multiple multi-billion dollar empires that began as a great idea somewhere other than within the four walls of an office. From humble beginnings to world-wide fame, here are some brands that were launched in the most unlikely of places: a garage.
Many must have been shocked when Jeff Bezos, one of the youngest vice presidents of a successful Wall Street investment firm, decided to up and leave, relocating to Seattle, Washington. Bezos believed that there was an untapped online retail market within the book industry and so he began to develop the software that would ultimately allow him to break into this market… in his garage. He launched Amazon.com in 1995 and today it is the world’s largest online retailer.
Fun Fact: Bezos held business meetings at the nearby Barnes and Noble bookshop, and that’s where many of his first deals were made.
Toy manufacturing giant Mattel was also born in a garage, but this time, in southern California. Harold “Matt” Matson, together with Ruth and Elliot Handler, made picture frames in a garage as a side project, with Elliot using the scraps to build dollhouse furniture. Ruth is said to have first taken a suitcase-full to a shop on Wiltshire Boulevard and before they knew it, they were manufacturing a range of toys and business was booming. Mattel has grown to become one of the most recognisable toy brands ever.
Fun Fact: Ruth created the first Barbie doll in 1959, named after her daughter, Barbara.
Walt Disney Co.
The largest animation and media conglomerate in the world began in Walt Disney’s uncle, Robert’s, garage in 1923, just 45 minutes away from today’s Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Then known as The Disney Brothers Studio, Robert and his brother Roy filmed the Alice Comedies, something that would go on to be the inspiration behind the much-loved Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland. Soon after moving to a bigger lot not far from there, the brothers signed a deal with Universal Studios to distribute the Alice Comedies, kicking off Disney’s reign as one of the most powerful companies in history.
Fun fact: Disney’s French family name was originally D’Isigny before being Anglicised toDisney.
Probably one of the most well-known of humble beginnings, Apple was founded in a small garage in California, the garage belonging to the parents of Steve Jobs, to be exact. The Apple Computer Company was founded in 1976, with co-founder Steve Wozniak building Apple’s first PC. From its first big order of 50 computers at a cost of $500 each, the company went from strength to strength, becoming one of the most valuable brands of today.
Fun fact: Today the Silicon Valley home is listed as a historic property of the city.
Everything has a beginning and, in some cases, some of the world’s most popular and prevalent brands have had particularly humble ones. The thing to remember here is that it really doesn’t matter where or how a great idea comes to be – what matters is that it’s great to begin with.
You may also be interested in reading: Keeping the Legacy Alive – Family run businesses that continue to go from strength to strength
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