When we think of renowned brands like Lamborghini, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Nike, we immediately associate them with their iconic products. However, these brands had humble beginnings and started off with completely different products that may surprise you.
Lamborghini – Tractors
Before becoming a symbol of luxury and high-performance sports cars, Lamborghini started as a tractor manufacturer. Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the brand, initially focused on producing tractors for agricultural purposes. It was only after an argument with Enzo Ferrari that Lamborghini decided to venture into the world of sports cars.
Toyota – Automatic Looms
Toyota, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, began its journey by producing automatic looms. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, invented a revolutionary automatic loom that significantly improved the efficiency of textile production. This success laid the foundation for the company’s expansion into the automotive industry.
Coca-Cola – Syrup
Although Coca-Cola is now synonymous with its refreshing carbonated beverages, the brand’s first product was actually syrup. In 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton created a medicinal syrup called “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” which was later reformulated to become the iconic Coca-Cola beverage we know today.
Samsung – Grocery Store
Before becoming a global leader in electronics, Samsung started as a small grocery store in South Korea. Lee Byung-chul, the founder of Samsung, opened the store in 1938, selling noodles, dried fish, and other everyday goods. It was only in the late 1960s that Samsung diversified its business and entered the electronics industry.
LG – Facial Cream
LG, another prominent South Korean brand, initially focused on producing facial cream. In 1947, LG launched its first product, a face cream called “Lucky Cream.” Over time, LG expanded its product range to include electronics, appliances, and other consumer goods.
Sony – Rice Cooker
Before revolutionizing the world of electronics, Sony started with a humble rice cooker. In 1946, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, which later became Sony. Their first product was an electric rice cooker, which unfortunately did not perform well in the market. However, this setback did not deter Sony from pursuing innovation in other areas.
Nokia – Toilet Paper
Yes, you read that right. Nokia, the Finnish telecommunications giant, began as a pulp mill that produced toilet paper. In 1865, Fredrik Idestam established Nokia as a paper mill, which eventually expanded into various industries, including telecommunications.
Lego – Wooden Toys
Lego, known for its colorful plastic building bricks, initially manufactured wooden toys. Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of Lego, started the company in 1932 and initially produced wooden toys such as ducks and cars. It was only in 1949 that Lego introduced its iconic plastic bricks, which quickly became a global sensation.
Nintendo – Playing Cards
Before dominating the gaming industry, Nintendo was in the business of playing cards. Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo in 1889 as a playing card company. The company’s success in the playing card industry laid the foundation for its future ventures into video games and consoles.
Nike – Track Shoes
Nike, the renowned sports apparel and footwear brand, started by selling track shoes. In 1964, Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded Blue Ribbon Sports, which later became Nike. Their initial focus was importing and distributing track shoes from a Japanese manufacturer. It was only in 1971 that the brand introduced its own line of footwear.
Colgate – Soap and Candles
Colgate, known for its oral care products, began by producing soap and candles. William Colgate founded the company in 1806 and initially manufactured soap, starch, and candles. It was only later that Colgate shifted its focus to oral hygiene products and became a household name in toothpaste and toothbrushes.
IKEA – Pens
Before becoming the world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA started by selling pens. Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, began his entrepreneurial journey by selling pens, wallets, and picture frames. However, he soon realized that furniture had a higher profit margin and decided to focus on that industry.
Tiffany – Stationery
Tiffany, the renowned jewelry and luxury goods brand, initially specialized in stationery. Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young founded Tiffany & Young in 1837, primarily selling stationery and fancy goods. It was only later that the brand shifted its focus to jewelry and became synonymous with elegance and luxury.
These surprising beginnings of renowned brands serve as a reminder that success often comes from humble origins. It’s fascinating to see how these brands evolved and diversified over time, ultimately becoming the household names we know today.