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Strange Success with Jane Wells
19 minutes | Apr 2, 2019
Adventure Combat Ops
Combat veterans, many of them from Special Ops, have found success in Las Vegas, where they’ve created a business that allows people to battle zombies in a global apocalypse. It all happens inside a massive facility east of the Strip—bringing in about $2 million a year—and it’s all strangely real. But to the men who created it, these battles are not just about money. They’re therapy.
16 minutes | Mar 26, 2019
Two bored realtors in Calgary, Alberta, kept trying to come up with a “big idea” to make money. One day they were looking at a bottle of Fiji water and wondered, “If people will buy water from Fiji, will they buy air from Canada?” Apparently they will, especially if the air come from one of the cleanest, most beautiful places on the planet, Canada’s Banff National Park.
19 minutes | Mar 19, 2019
21 minutes | Mar 12, 2019
PuckerButt Pepper Co.
Ed Currie was so miserable he wanted to die. Then an angel appeared and told him to live. Now he runs a hellish enterprise, growing the hottest peppers on Earth. How hot? “Stupid hot.” It’s made him rich. It’s also made this reporter sorry she ever took him up on the offer to taste one.
21 minutes | Mar 5, 2019
Cuddle Up To Me
A divorcee in Portland just wanted a hug, but all the men she met assumed that meant sex. It didn’t, and the only way she figured anyone would take her seriously is if she charged money to cuddle. It worked. It’s weird. It’s Portland.
21 minutes | Feb 26, 2019
Apollo Peak Cat Wines
A guy in Colorado working in the pet food industry saw a huge gap, and filled it, with wine. Except it’s not really wine. He also won on “Shark Tank,” except he didn’t really win on “Shark Tank.” It’s strange.
19 minutes | Feb 19, 2019
How two best friends living in a small apartment in LA with dreams of making it big in Hollywood instead came up with a $33 million dollar product to save lives. Hint: one nearly died. Reveal: they still live in the small apartment.
18 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
How a dog lover near Kansas City, MO, came up with a product for neutered dogs to let them keep their “God given look.” Neuticles are testicular implants for dogs, though inventor Gregg Miller has made custom implants for a variety of other animals...including an elephant. It’s made him a multi-millionaire, even though Neuticles are “banned in three countries.”
3 minutes | Jan 29, 2019
Season 2 Preview
CNBC’s Jane Wells is back for more rags-to-riches stories with a twist. “Strange Success” is about people who come up with a crazy idea to solve a problem you may not even realize exists. They take an even crazier journey to success, filled with failures, rejection, and stupidity. If you like weird stories with profitable outcomes, “Strange Success” is for you -- season 2, coming February 12.
22 minutes | Feb 28, 2018
The World's Most Expensive Sex Doll
Matt McMullen accidentally fell into the sex doll business, but he has never regretted it. He makes the Real Doll, the most popular, most expensive, most...realistic...sex doll on the planet. Sales in 2018 could reach $3 million with a new model that has a robotic head. The artist-turned-entrepreneur has strong views about making his dolls in America, and he also believes they have therapeutic value. We interviewed McMullen on camera in his studio in 2016, but we decided at the time that the visuals were a little too graphic. But this is audio! Hear what we wouldn’t let you see. It’s one of the strangest successes ever.
26 minutes | Feb 21, 2018
Elan Lee failed out of several colleges before becoming a legendary video game developer. Matthew Inman started drawing cartoons online and now has over 1.5 million followers on social media. Here’s how two guys from digital backgrounds created one of the most successful table card games, Exploding Kittens. Sales top $80 million, and they didn’t have to spend a penny of their own money to make it. Just don’t point out the typo.
21 minutes | Feb 14, 2018
The Queen of Poo
Suzy Batiz had failed twice in the world of business, but she would not be deterred. A decade ago, Batiz developed an oil-based spray to conquer the one thing she hates more than anything else in the world: the smell of bathroom odor. She named her product Poo-Pourri. Annual revenues top $45 million. However, all that success was nearly flushed away by critical mistakes and a heavily marketed copycat. Learn how Batiz avoided a third bankruptcy. For one thing, she refused to be defeated, but also she believes Poo-Pourri “was already alive” before she thought of it. I’m not kidding, she really thinks that. This is not your typical multimillionaire entrepreneur…
26 minutes | Feb 7, 2018
Hangover Heaven - What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but when you party too hard, a hangover can ruin a weekend of fun. It can mean canceled business at a convention, or networking opportunities at, say, the annual adult video awards show. So an enterprising doctor and his friend—who has a PhD in cell biology—decided to solve the problem by creating Hangover Heaven, a pricey cure which works in 45 minutes. They deliver that cure right to your room, or in the Hangover Heaven bus, once owned by a Christian rock band. Casinos didn’t know what to think at first, and neither did Nevada health authorities. Annual revenues top $1.8 million. But does the cure work? There was only one way to find out...
27 minutes | Jan 31, 2018
GUAC-LOCK: Two best friends were living the good life in Scarsdale, New York. Not good enough! Seeking a challenge, they took on America’s great party problem: how to stop guacamole from turning brown. What followed was a four-year saga to make a container called the Guac-Lock. How two women who’d never made anything before learned about manufacturing—and remanufacturing—and the importance of asking for help.
26 minutes | Jan 24, 2018
You’ve probably heard him on TV; “Hello, I’m Mike Lindell and I’ve invented the world’s most comfortable pillow...” He took his obsession for a good night’s sleep and turned it into a $300M pillow empire, with three factories churning out up to 100,000 pillows a day. But what makes his success especially strange is that Mike Lindell invented his famous pillow when he was a crack addict. Lindell’s path to riches and sobriety is a story filled with crazy detours, near-death experiences and plenty of controversies. His journey takes him from a crack house to the White House. You’ll hear it all in this episode of Strange Success.
17 minutes | Jan 17, 2018
Hawaii panics after a false alarm warning of an incoming ballistic missile. A few days later, the same thing happens in Japan. The alerts were false, but the fear is real. Long before President Trump’s war of words with Kim Jung Un, however, Clyde Scott was helping concerned (paranoid?) Americans feel safer. His Rising S Company builds underground bunkers which can top $10 million. Scott is a tough Texan who wears a black cowboy hat, and he was made for this job. He believes bad things are about to happen. “It’s a strain living the doomsday life, because I live it daily,” he said. But the “doomsday life” has made Clyde Scott a wealthy man. In this episode of “Strange Success,” meet the man who built a business that caters to frightened celebrities, cautious billionaires, and regular Americans who are just plain scared.
27 minutes | Jan 10, 2018
The Squatty Potty was created by an entrepreneurial family in Utah because mom suffered from, well, constipation. Sales in 2017 were close to $33 million, but achieving that figure in six years included a few obstructions (get it?). It started with trying to create some word-of-mouth buzz for a product no one likes to talk about, and it nearly ended when a trusted team member ripped off their idea. The Squatty Potty’s path to riches also includes hilarious detours to “Dr. Oz” and “Shark Tank,” and a Powerball line outside a convenience store in Texas. Here’s the strange success of one family willing to talk about poop.
3 minutes | Dec 27, 2017
Strange Success with Jane Wells
CNBC’s Jane Wells finds rags-to-riches stories with a twist. “Strange Success” is about people who come up with a crazy idea to solve a problem you may not even realize exists. They take an even crazier journey to success, filled with failures, rejection, and stupidity. If you like weird stories with profitable outcomes, “Strange Success” is for you.
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