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 Red Wing, Mittlestand, EnvisionTEC, Custom Robotic Wildlife, and PiperWai.
“There have been other tipoffs that the boots, for decades a symbol of rugged masculinity, are reaching a new audience. On Instagram, for instance, women have posted hundreds of pictures posing in the boots, often paired with rolled-up jeans or dresses, tagged under the hashtag #redwingwomen. Now, after seeing that women account for as much as 10 percent of its Men’s Heritage collection sales, Red Wing is giving women more of what they want.”
“Called the Mittelstand in German, this class of highly specialized, often family-owned businesses makes up the backbone of the national economy. Germany is ranked fourth in the global economy, but it’s home to only 28 companies in the Fortune 500. Great Britain and France each have more. But when it comes to little-known leaders in their market, Germany has 1,307 ‘hidden champions,’ nine times as many as those two countries combined.”
“Detroit used to be rich in tool-and-die shops, the small family-run firms that created specialized tools and gadgets to cut and shape metal in the automotive and other industries. Many of the hundreds of such small tool shops have gone out of business, but their modern equivalent is 3D printing, an industry that could thrive in Detroit with the metro area becoming a leader. The Detroit area’s entry is a company called EnvisionTEC, based in Dearborn. Founded by Lebanese immigrant Al Siblani, the firm makes printers ranging in price from $10,000 to $1 million.”
From Jackie Crosby: Wisconsin taxidermist makes robotic decoys used to help nab poachers across the U.S.
“Taxidermist tinkerer builds lifelike robotics used by game wardens across North America.”
“Today, after an extended, post-show supply-and-demand hiccup, founders Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner have attained sweet-smelling stardom. Here, the pals – Edelstein lives in South Philly, Ribner’s now in NYC – dish with writer Lauren McCutcheon about the success of their product that’s strong enough for a woman, but made for a man, too.”