CNBC's HOW I MADE MY MILLIONS goes behind the curtain to reveal how everyday people have taken ordinary ideas and turned them in extraordinary businesses. Companies that have surpassed that magic number of a million dollars.
Each of these entrepreneurs took a risk, believed in their dream and, thanks to a lot of hard work and a little luck, became millionaires.
The show puts the American Dream on display and shows you that it's alive and well if you have the heart, the desire and the know-how to make it big.
“Hill of Beans” - JELLY BELLY (Fairfield, CA)
Herman Rowland has always been a candy man, following in the footsteps of three generations dating back to the end of the 19th century. But when Herman was made President of the Goelitz Candy Company in 1975, the California-based company was making mostly candy corn and teetering on bankruptcy. So when a store owner suggested the idea of a “gourmet” jelly bean filled with natural fruit purees and sold one exotic flavor at a time, Herman gave it a try. A few years later, Jelly Belly’s number one fan, Ronald Reagan, asked Herman to make up a red, white and blue batch for his 1980 Presidential Inauguration. Soon Jelly Belly Beans were in cabinet meetings, Air Force One and boxes handed as gifts to leaders around the world. Tens of millions of customers followed. Today, the factory cooks up 300,000 Jelly Belly Beans A DAY, piling up revenues of almost $200 million with additional factories in Chicago and Thailand.
“Bottoms Up”- DESIGNS BY LOLITA (Providence, RI)
In 2001, a girls night out became an inspirational expedition for Lolita Healy. That’s where she got the idea to create hand paintEd Martini glasses with unique recipes written on the bottom. Despite some negative feedback, Lolita stuck to her original idea. She eventually found licensees and started branching out to wineglasses, pilsners and other items. She now has more than 700 copyrights, 65 trademarks and around $62 million in retail sales.
“Millions in the Making”- QUIRKY (NYC)
In 2009, Ben Kaufman started a social product development company with the goal of helping armchair inventors bring their ideas to market. Using social media software, community members can submit ideas for products while other members comment and rate the submissions, influencing everything from the color of a product to the name of the invention itself. Once a product is determined to be viable, Quirky develops the prototypes and pushes the idea into production. The company, which bears the cost of development, shares 30 percent of sales on the website and 10 percent of sales from outside merchants with the inventors and influencers. With over 200 products under their belt and a community that has grown to nearly 130,000 members, Quirky is on a roll.