The dream of every motorbike enthusiast, Harley-Davidson was founded in the year 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This American motorcycle manufacturing company has seen several ups and downs in its 116 year long history and is one of the two motorcycle companies to survive the Great Depression.
Founder William S. Harley, along with his childhood friend Arthur Davidson, started working on a small engine in Davidson’s family shed. Based on William S. Harley’s design, the duo developed the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which took almost 2 years to finish. The duo were then joined by Arthur Davidson’s brothers William A. Davidson and Walter Davidson and formed their company Harley-Davidson, producing a limited number of motorcycles. Harley and the brothers then went on to build their first factory in 1906 in Chestnut Avenue, Milwaukee, where the corporate headquarters of Harley-Davidson are situated now. The Company slowly started making profits and by 1914, it was ahead of its competitor, Indian, another motorcycle manufacturing company and was producing almost 16,500 machines a year.
Harley-Davidson’s popularity rose after America entered World War I and the demand for motorcycle for war efforts increased. Harley-Davidson sold nearly 20,000 motorcycles to the American military. Another great opportunity was World War II, when the Company sold nearly 80,000 motorcycles to the allied forces.
By 1920, Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturing company in the world, with its presence in 67 countries. However, the Company suffered greatly during the Great Depression, when its sales plummeted from 21,000 in 1929 to 3,703 in 1933. The Company somehow survived the Great Depression by introducing various new vehicles like a three wheeled utility motorcycle called Servi-Car, while legendary motorcycle manufacturers like Excelsior-Hendersen perished.
Harley-Davidson stayed popular all over the world until the 1960s. In 1969, after it was bought by American Machine and Foundry (AMF,) the Company suffered from a tarnished reputation. The AMF fired many of the Company’s workers and reduced production, resulting in poor quality yet expensive motorcycles. This move resulted in a decline of sales and popularity and the Company almost went bankrupt.
Harley-Davidson gained its reputation back in 1981, after the AMF sold the Company to a group of investors, which included William A. Davidson’s grandson, Willie G. Davidson. The new management decided to exploit the retro appeal of the Company by adopting the look and feel of the earlier motorcycles manufactured by the Company. This was considered to be a smart move and Harley-Davidson revived its lost reputation. The Company has been growing ever since and launched various new ranges of motorcycles.
In the 21st century, Harley-Davidson established itself as one of the most respected motorcycle manufacturers in the world and became one of the strongest brands. With a net worth of over $ 5.06 billion, Harley-Davidson has come a long way.
Wacky Stories About Entrepreneurs
The world of business is quite serious and can seem intriguing at times. However, there are many people out there who proved entrepreneurs can have some really interesting personalities. Here is a list of four crazy things famous entrepreneurs have done.
Wacky stories about famous entrepreneurs
1) Nicolas Berggruen
Famous philanthropist and investor Nicolas Berggruen avoided buying a house for years. He preferred to travel and stay at various hotels all over the world. This unique lifestyle earned him the nickname of “the homeless billionaire.” However, Berggruen decided to settle down and bought a house worth $ 40 million in 2017.
2) Yoshiro Nakamatsu
This Japanese inventor is credited for inventing many things like the floppy disk, jumping shoes with leaf springs and a wig for self defense. He has more than 3,357 inventions to his name. In many interviews, Nakamatsu said underwater diving gives him the best ideas. He also claims to get best ideas when he spends time in his “calm room” made up of 24 karat gold. Nakamatsu also predicts he would live till the age of 144.
3) Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, the brilliant mind behind the famous Apple Inc., was also a bit eccentric. He was known to be a perfectionist, however, he did many things which are considered crazy. He would soak his feet in toilets in order to relieve stress. At one point, he ate so many carrots, his skin turned orange. He also stopped taking showers after starting a meat free diet, as he believed the diet would help his body not to produce any body odor.
4) Robert Graham
The American entrepreneur, known for developing shatterproof plastic eyeglass lenses, was also an eccentric person. He reportedly opened a sperm bank for geniuses, where donation was expected only from Nobel Prize winners. However, the idea did not work out well.
Which of these crazy stories about famous entrepreneurs surprised you the most? Comment below and let us know.
Yakult Unknown Facts
Yakult, the famous Japanese probiotic drink, is the perfect example of how an invention turned into a commercial success. Invented in 1936 by microbiologist Minoru Shirota, the product has gained popularity worldwide. The product is sold by Tokyo based Yakult Honsha, which is known for its innovative marketing ideas. The Company is now worth $ 10 billion, making it one of the biggest food companies in the world. Here are some unknown facts about Yakult.
Unknown facts about Yakult
1) The meaning of Yakult is yogurt. The word is derived from the word ‘jahurto,’ which means yogurt in Esperanto, a language created by L.L. Zamenhof in 1887.
2) Despite being a famous and successful brand, the bottle of Yakult is intentionally kept small by the Company. According to the Company, the reason behind such a small bottle size is, the drink is meant to be consumed immediately and not be stored for a long time.
3) Yakult Honsha employs women known as “Yakult Aunties,” who go from door to door, selling the Company’s products. As women channel natural empathy towards family, the Company prefers marketing their products this way, despite having means to other marketing strategies.
4) Apart from health drinks, Yakult Honsha also sells instant noodles, pharmaceuticals and beauty products, all of which are meant to fight cancer cells.
5) Yakult is available in the same flavor in every country except one. People in Singapore have access to three kinds of flavors—grape, apple and orange. Moreover, the size of the Yakult bottle also changes in different countries.
6) Yakult manufactures a moisturizer called Yakult PARABIO AC Moisturizing Cream, which is priced at $ 1,000 per bottle.
7) There are various types of Yakult sold exclusively in Japan, each meant for a different organ of the body. The Company’s Joie drink is intended to keep the large intestine healthy, while the regular version of Yakult is meant for protecting the small intestine.
Which of these unknown facts about Yakult surprised you the most? Comment below and let us know.
Lesser Known Facts About Burt Shavitz
Burt Shavitz is the co founder of the famous American personal care brand Burt’s Bees. Known as the world’s most famous beekeeper, his face has been gracing every product of the Company since its inception. Here are some lesser known facts about Burt Shavitz.
Lesser known facts about Burt Shavitz
1) As a child, Burt Shavitz once cycled 100 miles from his parents’ home at Great Neck, N.Y., to Montauk Point and used jails as a way of accomodation. According to Shavitz, the idea of spending the nights in jails was his mother’s. The police would always inform his mother about his whereabouts and with her permission, let Shavitz spend the night on a prison bench.
2) Shavitz was a famous photographer in Manhattan, but abruptly left the city life and moved to Maine. Here he lived as a self described “high-class hobo” and did odd jobs to make a living.
3) Shavitz eventually started beekeeping after accidentally stumbling upon a beehive in the woods. At one point, he had 26 beehives and called them Burt’s bees.
4) Despite being a millionaire, Shavitz preferred to live as a recluse on his 40 acre farm in Maine.
5) He had a simple lifestyle and lived in a farmhouse which did not have any electricity. He did not have any clocks around his house and scheduled his days around the sun. He would get up at daybreak and sleep when it was too dark to read.
6) Despite being a recluse, Shavitz was an international celebrity and would go on foreign trips where he would be greeted by screaming fans wearing bee costumes.
7) While Shavitz remained unlisted in the phone book, his two golden retrievers Rufus and Pascha had their names listed. His dogs were his only companions in life and Rufus passed away in Shavitz’s arms. Shavitz would Skype with Pascha during his international trips.
8) He met his future business partner, Roxanne Quimby on the roadside when Quimby was hitchhiking.
Which of these unknown facts about Burt Shavitz surprised you the most? Comment below and let us know.
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