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13 Ridiculously-Simple Products That Turned their Inventors into Millionaires

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Some people say that we’ll never earn millions just by being someone’s employee, which is why some people chose to put up their own businesses instead. From basic necessities such as food and clothing to toys and other technical stuff, people try to invent new and exciting products, hoping that people would patronize them. And of course, the higher the demand, the bigger profit the merchants gain, right?

But, aside from food, shelter, and clothing, what other products are marketable? Take a look at the following inventions – they’re innovative, yes, but also ridiculously simple. Still, these products became so popular and in demand that the people who invented them made millions of dollars.

#1. The Post-it Notes by Spencer Silver

post-it

Photo credit: bluefroglondon

Doctor Spencer Silver was a chemist who was working on a new type of glue when he accidentally discovered a substance that firmly adhered to but was easily peeled off of the surfaces as well. Consequently, he came up with these brightly colored pieces of paper with a strip of adhesive. Doctor Silver earned billion dollars because of these post-it notes.

#2. The Plaster

band-aid

Photo credit: wikihow

An unnamed male researcher who was working for Johnson & Johnson company in the 1920s invented the plaster. The idea came to his mind after his wife accidentally wounded herself while preparing their food. He used a plaster to cover the wound to prevent it from being infected. Since then, several manufacturers have sold various types of plasters all over the world.

#3. Velcro by George de Mestral

velcro

Photo credit: mimi-gallery

George de Mestral was a Swiss engineer who invented the velcro. The idea of it sprung after he examined the seeds of a burdock plant that clung to his clothes during a hiking trip. He found out that the plant’s tiny hooks can stick to almost anything. To date, its parent company earns approximately $100 million yearly.

#4. The Upside-down Bottle by Paul Brown

upside-down

Photo credit: reuters

Paul Brown invented the upside-down bottle in 1991 and sold his invention to NASA, Heinz, and several shampoo manufacturers. He later sold his company and the rights to the design in 1995 and received $14 million dollars in return.

#5. Crazy Straws

crazy-straws

Photo credit: lolwot

These brightly colored and unusually shaped straws became popular among kids worldwide. The unique and fun designs of the straws were meant to help encourage children to drink milk and juices instead of carbonated soft drinks.

#6. The Hula Hoop

hula

Photo credit: thehulahoopgirl

Someone saw a group of children playing with hoops of bamboo and decided to replace bamboo with plastic instead. Approximately 100 million hula hoops have been sold worldwide, making the inventor instantly rich.

#7. The Rainbow Slinky by Richard James

rainbow

Photo credit: pictureslab

This simple toy is just a rainbow-colored spring, but James made a staggering amount of $250 million because of it. The idea materialized when he accidentally dropped a spring on the floor.

#8. Beanie Babies by Ty Warner

beanie

Photo credit: pinterest

Werner earned millions of dollars because of these pellet-filled, cuddly toys. Beanie babies are considered collector’s items.

#9. Pillow Pets by Jennifer Telfer

pillow

Photo credit: pinterest

These cute and cuddly animal-shaped pillows became a kid’s favorite, thanks to Jennifer Telfer. Being a mom herself, she noticed how her son loved to use plush teddy bears and fluffy toys as pillows and later realized that it was a great business idea. And, apparently, Telfer was right.

#10. The Snuggie by Scott Boilen

snuggie

Photo credit: walmart

The simple and amazingly popular blanket with sleeves was invented by Scott Boilen. It was said that approximately 20 million units of snuggies were sold in the market during the first year of its release.

#11. Crocs

crocs

Photo credit: popsugar

The company that manufactured Crocs earned millions because of these plastic bedroom slippers. Although its popularity was short-lived, no one can deny that it was once a worldwide sensation.

#12. The Smiley by Harvey Ball

smiley

Photo credit: lolwot

The Smiley image was first invented in 1963 by an American artist named Harvey Ball. The artist paid only $45 for its rights. But it was Bernard and Murray Spain who saw that the image has a great marketing potential and the brothers earned $50 million for the sale of the smiley as a licensed image.

#13. The Million Dollar Homepage by Alex Tew

homepage

Photo credit: popsa

Alex Tew was a 21-year-old student looking for a way to earn extra money for his education when he came up with a unique and brilliant idea. He sold advertising spots on his website for only a dollar per pixel. Businessmen and large companies pounced on his idea. Tew earned almost a million dollars for it.

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