Family-Centered Companies That Started in Basements

In your day-to-day life, you probably purchase things from a variety of different companies at a variety of different times and locations. However, you might not think about how those companies got their start. It’s common for people not to think much about the history behind the companies they purchase from, but many of these companies started out in nothing but a basement — often their own or their parents’ basements. Take a look at some of the most interesting companies that got their start in a basement, then look closer at the ones your family might be most likely to run into.

Tech and Other Successful Companies That Started in Parents' Basements
Tech and Other Successful Companies That Started in Parents’ Basements
Created By: JES

Yankee Candle

Do you love scented candles? Then you probably have Yankee Candle to thank for bringing scented candles into the mainstream. Before Yankee Candle, scented candles existed, but they were more of a novelty than they are today. Michael Kittredge II started the business in his parents’ basement when he was a teenager; he used melted crayons and packed the eventual product full of fragrance. In 2013, the company sold for $1.75 billion, and it’s still around today.

Martha Stewart Living

If you’re looking for home décor and other home products, chances are you’re going to stumble across Martha Stewart products at some point. Martha Stewart is one of the biggest names in home décor, homemade food, and other products. The company has had its ups and downs — Forbes reported that she was in federal prison upon becoming a billionaire for the second time — but it’s remained a household name. In 2019, the company traded hands for $175 million, and Martha Stewart is estimated to have a personal fortune of over $600 million.

Melissa & Doug

This well-known toy company is one that you might use if you’re looking to get toys for your kids, no matter how old they are. It started out in the eponymous couple’s basement, with an additional “satellite office” in Doug’s parents’ garage. Although they initially sold short films and instructional videos, they eventually moved into their current niche of children’s toys, especially educational toys. They now have an inventory of over 2,000 toys and a valuation of $400 million overall.

Epic Games

The name “Epic Games” might not ring a bell, but the name of their ultra-popular game “Fortnite” probably does. Fortnite launched in 2017, but the company started all the way back in 1991, when Tim Sweeney started designing video games from his parents’ basement on weekends. Computer games really started getting big in 1992, and Tim realized how much money he could make in this niche. The company started out with the name “Epic MegaGames,” but later shortened to “Epic Games,” and with its various successes, it has a valuation of $15 billion.

Boolean Girl Tech

It’s always a good idea to encourage your kids to delve into things they’re interested in, regardless of whether they’re traditionally “girly” or “boyish” things. That’s exactly what Boolean Girl Tech does: help introduce girls of all ages to the world of science and technology, which is an industry that few women are part of. The initial Kickstarter campaign brought in much more than the founders were expecting, with only 60 days to fill 180 orders. Co-founder Ingrid Sanden hired some of her 16-year-old daughters’ friends and created an assembly line in the basement to fill all 180 orders on time.


As you can see, the basement was an incredibly important part of these businesses’ eventual success. Some of these businesses now have a valuation of over $1 billion. Even if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll need it, it’s always a good idea to make sure your basement is as healthy as possible. Who knows? You could end up with the next billion-dollar idea coming from your own basement.

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