How We Got Started

How Haagen-Dazs got its start
Despite its foreign-looking name, Haagen-Dazs was the brainchild of a young entrepreneur who grew up selling ice cream in New York. more

Slinky: Imitated but never duplicated
Yuengling brewery started nearly 200 years ago in Pottsville, Penn. It turns out more than 2 million barrels of beer a year and is still family-owned. more

Slinky: Imitated but never duplicated
Other manufacturers have tried and failed to duplicate the classic toy, which is why every slinky sold in the world is still made in the U.S.A. more

How Chick-fil-A was hatched
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy started his first business at 8 years old, and is credited with creating the fast food chicken sandwich. more

The gooey origins of Peeps
A look at how Just Born, the family-run business behind the marshmallow treat, got its start in the candy biz. more

For the love of booze
Tito Beveridge's love of vodka helped him start Tito's Vodka, a highly successful handmade distillery business outside of Austin, Texas. more

Meet the Man behind SXSW
Louis Black's love of music and movies inspired him and his partners to start SXSW, one of the most successful conferences in the world. more

The Cheesecake Factory recipe
Founder and CEO David Overton explains how The Cheesecake Factory all started with a simple recipe cooked up in a Detroit basement. more

Moms go gaga for diaper bags
The founders of Skip Hop share how they became major players in the baby biz. more

Creating 'muppets' from puppets
Jim Henson created a whole new way of puppeteering for children and adults to enjoy and now his kids continue his legacy. more

How Hooters got its start
The restaurant famously known for its Hooters Girls started off as a bar and has since grown into an international brand. more

Gallo: grapes to mass-market wine
The world's largest family-owned winery has evolved to suit Americans' tastes since its founding in 1933. more

How a 200 yr-old brandy co. survived
Laird & Co. has produced its Apple Jack Brandy since the 18th century, but now it's hipper than ever. more

Nat Sherman: Tobacconist to the stars
For 80 years this luxury tobacco company has sold its goods to Hollywood's big shots and New York's gangsters. more

The Honest Tea guys look back
Seth Goldman on how he and partner Barry Nalebuff created a line of organic teas and juices that became a hit with customers -- and Coca-Cola too. more

142 years old and still hot
How the McIlhenny Company's sixth-generation CEO made his family's Tabasco hot pepper sauce worldly. more

How The Wiggles became an empire
What began as an Australian rock band is now a $45 million global kids' brand. more

How Build-a-Bear invented a bear market
A toy retailer thrives by thinking like a kid. more

Harmonix' founders revolutionized the gaming industry with Guitar Hero and Rock Band -- but first, they nearly went broke. Repeatedly. more

A stylish evolution
Wall Street banker-turned-designer Josie Natori tapped her Filipino roots to develop a global fashion brand. more

Connecting the business world
Serial entrepreneur Reid Hoffman saw a new way of working - and built a company around that vision. more

Wired for growth
Monster Cable founder Noel Lee has come a long way from his family's garage. more

How Chef Nobu built his sushi empire
Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa survived fire and bankruptcy on the route to culinary independence. more

Organic growth
Rachel and Andy Berliner of Amy's Kitchen built a leading frozen-food brand by catering to busy vegetarians. more

Selling clean machines Entrepreneur David Oreck explains how he built a small distribution firm into a vacuum cleaner empire. His secret? Innovating more persistently than his competitors. more
Becoming Billy Mays
The as-seen-on-TV pitchman traces his roots in the infomercial business. more
King of the mountain bike
Mike Sinyard built Specialized into a top bike brand by listening to what serious cyclists wanted. more

Mothers Work: A feminist revolution
Fed up with "dumb bows and big buttons," Rebecca Matthias filled a maternity-wear void with professional attire for a new generation of working women - and in the process, created a retail empire. more
Geek Squad's second act
Geek Squad took its tech support national when it sold to Best Buy - but founder Robert Stephens says it's barely started living up to its promise. more
Bear Naked ambition Bear Naked's founders tell FSB how they used guerrilla marketing and a wholesome image to build a powerhouse natural-food brand. more
Ecko's startup story: Rhinos and maxed credit To launch his streetwise fashion line, Ecko burned up his credit cards and learned to dampen checks to slow down the bank's cashing them. more
Pastry parlay: From Au Bon Pain to Panera How Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich sold his first business to build his second. more
Inside the mind of Virgin Richard Branson gives Fortune Small Business a behind-the-scenes look at how he got his start as an entrepreneur. more
Ethics in a bottle How Peter Thum built a charitable - and profitable - company. more
Milling profits from spice At his Midwestern headquarters, Bill Penzey tells FSB how home cooks fueled his seasonings empire. more
Outdoing the Swiss Army knife A broken-down 1969 Fiat inspired famed entrepreneur Tim Leatherman to build a better pocket tool - and a multimillion dollar business. more
Shifting careers, by Bobby Rahal Some succeed in sports. Others succeed in business. And then there are the lucky few who can do both. more
With the firm he founded, David Kelley has helped create better products - and much more - for decades. More
Until Jim Koch launched his Samuel Adams craft lager, U.S. brews were boring and corporate. More
Mel and Patricia Ziegler used surplus garb and a gift for storytelling to launch Banana Republic. More
Andrew and Peggy Cherng used family and some early technology to make Panda Express a hit. More
Rich Barton launched Expedia and Zillow. Can he become a three-hit wonder with Glassdoor? More
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