Almost every success story begins with a great idea and a person motivated enough to make it work. While it’s safe to say that most businesses have humble beginnings, some of the world-famous brands started in an unexpected place - a garage. Although it took some time, these great examples of businesses that started in a garage prove that you can achieve great things, even if you start small.
In this article, you’ll have a chance to learn about 7 companies that started in a garage and became so successful they’re now known worldwide. Maybe after reading these stories, you’ll be motivated to start your own entrepreneurial adventure while looking for the best garage door service and repairs nearby? Who knows!
Let’s begin with a company everyone knows. In 1976, Steve Wozniak, 26, created the first Apple computer and joined forces with the late Steve Jobs, then 21, to launch Apple Computer Co. from a garage in Cupertino, California. Their first big order came from a local retailer. Jobs and Wozniak hand-built 50 computers at $500 apiece in just 30 days - all of them in the garage that belonged to Job’s adoptive parents.
Nowadays, Apple is the most valuable technology-related company in the world, and the Silicon Valley childhood home of Steve Jobs is listed as one of the city’s historic properties.
37 years earlier and 10 miles from the garage where Jobs and Wozniak built their first Apple computers, another world-famous company was launched. In 1939, Stanford graduates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard invested $538 to start their business, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP). The first product they built was an audio oscillator, and they assembled it in a 12 by 18-foot garage in the back of their rented home. One of their first customers was Walt Disney Productions, which ordered eight audio oscillators to develop the surround sound system for the movie Fantasia.
HP is now one of the largest tech companies in the world, and the HP garage in Palo Alto, California, is known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin started working on their project in 1998. The two Stanford graduates established Google’s headquarters in a garage of Susan Wojcicki, who rented out the place to make her mortgage payments. After months of intensive development, they tried to sell it to Excite for $1 million, but their offer was rejected. However, the team soon outgrew the 2,000 foot Menlo Park garage space and moved to an office in Palo Alto.
Years went by, and Google is the undisputed internet giant, as well as the most trafficked site in the world.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon back in 1994 as a small online bookstore. At that time, he operated from a garage in Bellevue, Washington, and focused on developing software for online retail in the book industry, hopeful to one day expand it to other products and make it available worldwide. He sold his first book in 1995, and two years later took his business public with an IPO.
Today, Amazon is the largest online retail company in the world, and Jeff Bezos has been declared the richest man in 2020, and the first person ever to be worth $200 billion.
This world-famous company had its beginnings in 1923, in a garage that belonged to Walt Disney’s uncle, Robert Disney. The small one-car garage was located about 45 minutes from today’s Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. At the time, the company was called The Disney Brothers Studio, as Walt Disney and his brother Roy started filming the Alice Comedies, which would later inspire the original Alice in Wonderland.
Disney is now one of the highest-grossing media conglomerates in the world, with an estimated net worth of nearly $130 billion.
In 1969, Michael Kittredge was just 16 years old when he made a scented candle as a Christmas gift for his mother. With limited funds but strong determination, he made the prototype candle in his garage, using a milk carton and melted crayons. Surprisingly, a neighbor took notice of it and convinced Kittredge to sell it to her. He used the money to buy more supplies, and a candle from his second batch ended up as a gift for his mother. Over the next four years, Kittredge kept operating his business from a garage and started mass-producing fragrant, colorful candles. Then it was the time to move to a bigger space.
As of today, the Yankee Candle Company is the largest manufacturer of scented candles in the United States.
Mattel is another example of a worldwide famous company that started in a garage. It was created in 1945 by Elliot Handler and Harold “Matt” Matson in Southern California. At first, they produced picture frames, but they wanted to get the most of their materials, so they came up with an idea to use the picture frame scrapes to make dollhouses. As it turned out in no time, these products were selling more efficiently than the initial ones, so Elliot and Matt decided to focus on toy production.
Nowadays, Mattel, Inc. is one of the largest toy companies in the world.
We bet that you’ve heard about the majority, if not all of the companies mentioned in our article. You may be wondering what’s the secret to their success, and the answer is not that simple. Otherwise, we all would be owners of multibillion-dollar businesses. However, we can see similarities between all these companies, despite the fact they’re very different from one another. They didn’t start by trying to create an iconic brand recognizable all over the world. They started with a simple yet effective idea that took years to develop, often with many mistakes along the way.
These companies’ success goes to show that having an office space is not necessary to make things work. The most important thing is to have a great idea and loads of determination to go through with it. It doesn’t matter where you start; your business can be started in a garage, an office, or a spare room at your home. What matters most is where you end up, and as you can see, with the right idea and its execution, you can achieve a lot.