There’s no place like home, especially when it comes to starting your own business. Just ask us and the other three companies profiled below. All of us (including Blackburn Flag) got our start in somebody’s basement, and all of us went on to become wildly successful. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in business for a while and are looking for some inspiration, read on for some real-life examples of businesses that made it big by starting small.
#1 – Blackburn Flag
We just sold our 6 billionth marking flag! Thanks to our grandfather – a tinker – Blackburn Flag is now the worldwide leader in manufacturing marking flags.
Blackburn Mfg. Company was started by E.A. “Bud” Blackburn in the basement of his small family home near Royal, Nebraska. Bud’s uncle, Ray Blackburn (a surveyor), asked him if he could come up with a machine to attach a piece of cloth or paper to a piece of wire instead of using the wooden lathe stakes that was the current way to mark while surveying.
After working on the invention for two years, the first marking flag machine was born. And the rest is history.
#2 – FreshBooks
FreshBooks is a software company that was founded in 2003 by Mike McDerment in his parents’ basement in Toronto. At the time, McDerment was a recent college graduate who had no idea how to run a business but he did know how to code. He started FreshBooks as a way to invoice his friends for the work he did for them and it quickly grew from there.
It’s hard to believe that FreshBooks, once a small startup, is now a multinational corporation. With over 10 million users and counting, FreshBooks has definitely made its mark on the business world!
#3 – Bold Commerce
Bold Commerce was started by four Winnipeg entrepreneurs who cycled through three different basement offices to get their company off the ground. In 2012 – 2013 the very first basement they worked out of was Eric Boisjolo’s. It didn’t have any windows or natural light so it felt like you were trapped inside.
In 2014, when Jay Myers, one of the four entrepreneurs, moved his family into a new home, they took over his basement to continue the growth of the company. The four founders worked nights in this basement, building an app for a platform they took a gamble on.
With nothing but a small budget and a lot of ambition, Bold Commerce has managed to become one of the top ecommerce platforms in the world with over 100 employees.
#4 – FUBU
Sweat, determination, and a lot of heart. That is what it took for the now multimillion-dollar fashion brand FUBU to make it big. Founded in 1992 by four friends from Hollis Queens, New York, Fubu was born of a desire to create high-quality clothing that reflected the bold and unique personalities of young African Americans.
Despite early skepticism from industry insiders, Fubu’s willingness to experiment with new designs and marketing concepts paid off, and the company soon became one of the most successful urban fashion brands in America.
Daymond John started the clothing company out of his mom’s house in Hollis Queens, New York. With just $40 and an idea, he created FUBU (For Us By Us), a streetwear brand that would come to epitomize hip-hop fashion. Today, FUBU is a multimillion-dollar business with more than 6,000 retail and online stores worldwide.