Everybody has to start somewhere. Even the greatest companies of our time started with a small idea, and a determination to make their product work. Some of the best companies of our time were started in a garage.
Whether these businesses were a small group of friends creating the next best product, or a single person trying to make something new, the projects that became successful from small beginnings have shown dedication and hard work to become the enterprise they are today.
Google is one of the most well known companies around the world today. It began as a research project in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The two were both Ph.D. students at Stanford. Their main goal with the project was to develop a technology to create a universal digital library.
By September of 1998, Page and Brin were ready to take the project farther. They started the job in the garage of the woman who would become Brin’s sister-in-law. As they became more invested in the project, it began interfering with their school schedule. They tried and failed to sell the company for $1 million. The failure turned out to be one of the best things to happen to them, as the company grew even larger than they imagined it could.
In 1901, William S. Harley began drawing up the plans for the beginnings of Harley Davidson. Together with his friend Arthur Davidson, they worked in Davidson’s garage, working mostly on a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches and four-inch flywheels.
At this time, they didn’t have a car, but the shed took the same function for them as a garage. This small structure in Milwaukee was the location the two altered the regular pedal-bicycle. After working on the project for two years, they officially founded the company in 1903. Since these humble beginnings, it has become one of the most well known motorcycle companies to date.
When it was first founded, Amazon was intended to be an online bookstore. In 1994, Jeff Bezos started the company, as he said, to halt any regrets of not participating in the growing market that was the Internet. He left his position as a vice-president for a Wall Street company and moved to Seattle to begin his venture.
It wasn’t until July of 1995 that he sold his first book. Two years later he made an effort to move to the stock exchange. Up until this point, the business had been completely run out of his basement.
One of the slots for most famous companies deriving from the garage goes to Apple. Their products have been sold all around the world. The company has become one of the largest businesses known, but this hasn’t always been the case.
In 1976 in Los Altos, California, two men began the production in a garage. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had each halted their higher education, Jobs from Reed College and Wozniak from UC Berkeley. They began their business inside the garage of Jobs’ parent.
When the business was first beginning, they built fifty computers in a thirty-day time period. Since this time, Apple has become the most profitable technology company in the world.
Yankee Candle Company
The Yankee Candle Company is the largest United States manufacturer of scented candles. Today there are over 550 locations, however, it originally started in a garage in Massachusetts.
In 1969, Michael Kittredge created his first scented candle as a gift for his mom. Although the candle consisted of just melted crayons, it sparked an idea for what would become one of the greatest companies.
As he continued to improve in his techniques, neighbors from around wanted to buy his candles. After some time, his two high school friends began helping him with his projects. Soon the sixteen-year-old who started the company out of his parents’ garage was mass-producing candles, and opened shop in an old mill. Even though the company was only in the garage for four years, it was where it all began.
It is important to remember that even the largest companies have had their beginnings somewhere. Even the companies that have become the most well known in the world originally began as ideas grown out of a garage.
License: Creative Commons
Cassie Costner has researched the histories of company’s origins, and what ideas sparked great inventions. Having researched with A+ Garage Doors in Utah, she is particularly interested in the way company founders were able to transform their garage business into a successful corporation.