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STRATEGY

Branching Out

Capitalizing on intellectual property can be tricky. These companies devised savvy solutions to various expansion challenges.
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  • American Ironhorse Motorcycle

    Original business: Custom-built motorcycle maker in Fort Worth, Texas
    Expansion: Biker jackets, shirts, hats, sunglasses, and bike accessories
    Biggest concern: Brand dilution. To avoid saturating the market and turning off loyal customers, CEO Wil Garland sells a limited amount of apparel at licensed bike dealerships. "We leave them wanting more," he says.
    Bottom Line: Apparel sales have doubled since 2002.
  • Black Dog Tavern

    Original business: Restaurant on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
    Expansion: Clothing, housewares, and pet accessories
    Biggest concern: Controlling costs. The company made a small initial investment in new products and funded the rest of the expansion organically.
    Bottom line: Black Dog now has 14 locations in New England, including six retail-only stores.
  • Dogfish Head Brewery

    Original business: Commercial brewery and pub in Milton, Delaware
    Expansion: Barware, soap, books, clothing, movies, and CDs by in-house rap group the Pain Relievaz
    Biggest concern: Keeping it real. Owner Sam Calagione stays true to his company's "Off-center ales for off-center people" motto by creating humorous products, such as ale shampoo and thong underwear.
    Bottom line: Merchandise sales reached $250,000 last year.



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