Ran across an interesting and inspiring article at MSN, about ten ideas that each made more than $100 million -- often on shoestring budgets, for otherwise ordinary people who were just running with their dreams.
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A pared-down version is below if you want to save ten minutes)
(first 50,000 units were sold out of the inventor's apartment)
(one $700 pickup truck in 1993; locations on two continents in 2011)
3. Pillow Pets
($300 million in sales in 2010, inspired by inventor watching her kids use stuffed animals as pillows)
4. "Life Is Good"
(unsuccessful indie t-shirt company strikes gold, now does over $100 million a year)
5. Boston Beer
($100 million a year)
6. Chipotle Mexican Grill
(1993: indie restaurant in Denver financed with a loan from a kid's parents; 2011: More than 1,000 locations in the US)
(enviromentally friendly cleaners; brand built out of two party guys who hated the smell of standard cleaners)
8, Burt's Bees
(part-time beekeeper meets part-time flea market seller [!!!] and builds a $250 million+ business)
(Started in 1976 with $10,000 in capital; today is a $600+ million per year multi-brand conglomerate)
(First gym for "real women" vs. "gym women" ... 1 location in 1992, 10,000+ in 2011)
I just always love stories of extraordinary success; thought I'd share at this time of year when many of us are doing the annual mad grind for the holiday money.