The Fall Guys
Cashing in on an accident-without litigation
A crisp December morning in 1994 found brothers Chuck and Bob Mellon, 40 and 42, respectively, on their usual dirt-bike route north of their hometown of Fresno, California. It started as a typical journey until Chuck rounded a corner, skidded on some ice and crashed his bike. Chuck rose from the wreck unscathed-his only mar was a few holes in the sleeve of his sweatshirt-but when he donned the shirt later, his thumb poked through one of the holes. The result? Pure bliss. He could move his fingers while keeping his palms nice and toasty.
Within two months, the siblings had crafted a prototype; within four, they had a product on their hands. Manufacturing men's, women's and children's sweatshirts with their special patented feature-cuffs which extend into fingerless gloves-Bob and Chuck launched Handcuffs, selling 1,000 shirts from a rented kiosk that Christmas and opening a retail store the following November. In 1997, they struck a deal with JC Penney and continued expansion in 1999 with the addition of five more retail stores and a mail-order catalog. That and a number of corporate uniform deals in the works have led to projected 2000 sales of more than $10 million.
Memorial Day Subscription Sale- Unlock this subscriber exclusive article and more for 20% off today.
Access all Entrepreneur content with no ads, unlock discounts, and get exclusive advice only available to our subscribers. Plus, our magazine delivered straight to your door.
Get a year subscription today for 20% off. Just use code SAVE20 at checkout.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
James Dyson Created 5,127 Versions of a Product That Failed Before Finally Succeeding. His Tenacity Reveals a Secret of Entrepreneurship.
7 Meaningful Ways Your Business Can Honor Memorial Day
Breast Implants Left This Founder With Debilitating Symptoms, So She Launched an Intimate-Apparel Line That Goes Beyond Buzzwords
Kids in the Hall's Bruce McCulloch Says TikTok Is the New Punk Rock
'I Am Not a Diversity Quota,' Says the Founder Disrupting the Dessert Category
Memorial Day Is a Time for Remembrance, So What's With All the Mattress Sales?
Pharrell Williams, Contemporary Artist Nina Chanel Abney and Brand-Builder Shaun Neff Announce Launch of Game-Changing NFT Platform