Over the years, there have been many extraordinarily simple ideas that became million dollar products almost overnight. In fact, at first glance, one might have thought that some of these products would fail miserably on the market. Nevertheless, unlikely products often present great appeal to the public and end up being some of the most successful products of all time. Five such products are as follows.
Perhaps one of the most simple and unlikely ideas that turned into a million dollar product was the Slinky. The Slinky was actually created by accident in the 1940s by an engineer known as Richard James. This light-weight spring-type toy quickly gained popularity for its ability to “walk down stairs” and was admitted into the Toy Hall of Fame in the year 2000.
The Hula Hoop
The Hula Hoop, a large plastic ring that people spun around their waists, was invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin in 1958. Its simple design became extremely popular among children and adults alike selling around 100 million hoops when it was first presented to the public. In fact, the toy company that sold the Hula Hoop (Wham-O) made about $25 million during the first four months after the Hula Hoop’s release.
When Crocs were first introduced by a Colorado shoe company in 2002, many people thought the shoes would flop. Instead, their simple and sturdy design gained favor among a huge consumer base rather quickly. Since Crocs were first introduced, the company has sold over 300 million pairs of the shoes in about 90 countries totaling around $1 billion in sales per year.
Another simple and unlikely product that quickly made millions was Velcro. Velcro was invented by George de Mastral in 1941 after spending eight years trying to create a synthetic version of a sand bur. While it was first used by NASA for astronaut equipment, it soon gained favor with various shoe companies as a replacement for shoe laces on children’s shoes. Since then, it has become a world-wide success making around $100 million every year.
Who would have ever thought that a simple polished rock would become one of the most popular products of all time? However, that is just what happened when the Pet Rock was released on the market. Pet Rocks were the invention of Gary Daul who marketed them in 1975 complete with a small cardboard pet carrier and hay for the pets to “sleep” on. Although the popularity of Pet Rocks only lasted about six months, Daul earned around $15 million before the craze for Pet Rocks ended.
At times, simple ideas can turn into highly profitable products that turn out millions of dollars in profits. Over the years, there have been many such products, and some of the more popular inventions are described in the sections above.