Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 11/21/14

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Under Armour, Vegan-To-Go, Fender, Koss, and Disney.

From J.D. Harrison: When we were small: Under Armour

“In a row house in Georgetown, Kevin Plank started a company with about $15,000, some locally purchased fabric, and an ambitious plan to shake up the athletic apparel industry.”

From Jonathan McFadden: Food entrepreneur brings meatless meals to Charlotte’s vegans

“As the weight fell off, an idea caught on. He partnered with a chef to create ‘soulful vegan recipes’ and later open a healthy soul food restaurant in his hometown, St. Louis.”

From Ronald D. White: Made in California: Fender an instrument of change in guitar industry

“Since 1946, the company founded by Leo Fender has catered to the famous and talented, and those who want to emulate them. These days, executives at Fender Musical Instruments Corp. are looking to build on that legacy as they move beyond echoes of an aborted initial public offering, ownership shifts and management changes.”

From Rick Romell: Troubles aside, Koss sounds an optimistic note

“For decades, Michael J. Koss has worn a bow tie pretty much every working day. He’s not about to start putting on a necktie with a half Windsor. And Koss Corp., surveying the path out of business difficulties unrelated to the now-famous embezzlement by the company’s free-spending former finance executive, isn’t about to make any radical changes in its approach.”

From Binyamin Appelbaum: How Disney Turned ‘Frozen’ Into a Cash Cow

“The creators of ‘Frozen,’ Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, told me that they set out to create characters young girls would recognize. ‘I love Cinderella,’ Lee says. ‘Am I anything like her? No. I grew up and became someone more independent.’ Elsa and Anna, she says, ‘are princesses because they’ve got the weight of a kingdom on their shoulders, not as the solution to a happy ending.'”

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