Popular Brands Named After Real People


Some of the most popular brands we use today have founders behind them who not only gave their blood, sweat, and tears, but also their names. For instance, Johnnie Walker was a real person. He once left his home in Scotland to peddle malt whiskies. Taco Bell, one of America's favorite fast food chains, wasn't named after a Spanish-style mission, but a Mr. Glen Bell. And if you think some of IKEA's product names are difficult to pronounce, wait until you find out what I.K.E.A. stands for.

AOL editors combed through the history of well-known companies to find out: What's in a name? What they found was quite interesting. The people behind these brands -- and how they built them -- may surprise you, too.

Johnnie Walker
(Excerpt from: www.johnniewalker.com)
In 1805, John Walker was born and not long after, the recipe for the world's favorite Scotch Whisky brand was created. Walker's story began in Kilmarnock, Scotland. As a young man, Walker left the family farm to follow his entrepreneurial spirit. He became a grocer, trading a wide variety of goods; tea was his specialty. It was his skill at blending tea leaves that gave Walker the idea for blending grain and malt whiskies to create a smoother drink and more consistent quality.

Taco Bell
(Source: www.tacobell.com)
Glen Bell was 23 when he left the Marine Corps. in 1946 and came home to San Bernardino, Calif. He would own a hot dog stand, three Taco Tia stands and several El Tacos restaurants, before building the first Taco Bell in Downey, Calif. in 1962.

(Source: www.baskinrobbins.com)
As a teen, Irvine Robbins worked in his father's ice cream store. During World War II, Burton Baskin, was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and produced ice cream for his fellow troops. When the war was over, they started out in separate ventures and by 1948, they had six stores between them. In 1953, their combined ice cream chain dropped their separate identities and became Baskin-Robbins.

(Source: www.tupperware.com)
In 1946, Earl Tupper introduced plastic storage ware with legendary airtight seals patterned after the inverted rim on a can of paint which prevented food from drying out, wilting or losing its flavor. Despite their breakthrough nature, the products didn't sell well in retail outlets, primarily because consumers needed demonstrations in order to see how they worked. In response, the first Tupperware Home Party was held in 1948. This proved a dramatically effective way of communicating the benefits of the seal.

(Excerpt from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converse )
In 1908, while in his late 30s, Marquis M. Converse fell down a flight of steps in Malden, Massachusetts. The incident gave him the idea of rubber soled shoes, to prevent one from slipping. A year later, Marquis founded Converse and began producing rubbed-soled footwear for men, women, and children.

(Excerpt from: http://www.welchs.com)
In 1869, Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, a physician and dentist by profession, successfully pasteurized Concord grape juice to produce an "unfermented sacramental wine" for fellow parishioners at his church in Vineland, N.J., where he was communion steward. His achievement marked the beginning of the processed fruit juice industry. In 1893, a new label was adopted, omitting the "Dr." before the name Welch's.

Crabtree and Evelyn
(Excerpt from: www.crabtree-evelyn.com)
The name was inspired by the renaissance Englishman, John Evelyn, who lived in the 17th century. Evelyn is most famous for 'Sylva,' the first important work on conservation. His great estate was planted with large expanses of elm trees, and the magnificent gardens he created were a wonder of the age. The Crabtree is native to Britain and the ancestor of all cultivated apple trees. It was highly prized for its beauty as well as its usefulness in home apothecary.

Chef Boyardee
(Excerpt from: www.conagrafoods.com)
Hector Boiardi was born in Italy in 1898 and took up cooking at a young age. In 1917, he immigrated to New York and began working in the kitchens of hotels. He later moved to Cleveland, where he opened his own restaurant. Il Giardino d'Italia became quite popular and patrons began requesting portions to take home. He packaged up uncooked pasta, cheese, and his popular sauce, poured into milk bottles. He marketed the pasta as Chef Boy-ar-dee, spelled phonetically for Americans.

(Excerpt from: http://corporate/hallmark.com)
Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc., lived the American dream. Born Aug. 29, 1891, in tiny David City, Neb., Hall overcame both poverty and a lack of a formal education to become the architect of an industry. In the 1920s he wanted to substitute the phrase, "A Hallmark Card," for "Hall Brothers Company" on the back of greeting cards. "Everybody in the place was against it," he said, but he made the change.

(Excerpt from: www.ikea.com)
The IKEA story began in 1931, when founder Ingvar Kamprad started selling matches to his nearby neighbors at the age of five. Later he would branch out into selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas Decorations, and eventually, furniture. The name IKEA is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. This mouthful is derived from the founder's name, the name "Elmtaryd" (the farm on which he was raised) and "Agunnaryd", the nearest village.

MAX Factor
(Excerpt from: www.pg.com)
MAX Factor & Co. was founded by Max Factor, Sr., who began as a makeup man for the Royal Ballet in Czarist Russia. As a young man in 1904, he emigrated from his native country to New York. Later that same year, he moved to St. Louis, Mo., where he opened a small perfume, makeup and hair goods concession at the St. Louis World's Fair. Four years later, the family moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where Max Factor opened his first store in the center of the city's theatrical district.