Dean Becker lives in Florida where, as he puts it, “there are no basements.” But when his two children, ages 20 and 23, head for the beach to surf, they are often sporting boxers and T-shirts brandishing the logo of a St. Louis-based firm whose business is repairing cracks in basement foundations. That’s right, foundations.
“All the kids are wearing the clothing,” says Mr. Becker, of the Palm Beach office of Chicago-based merchant bank Ocean Tomo. “It’s wild. We’d probably never need their services, but we’re just glad they sell the apparel.”
As for what’s so special about the logo, more on that in a moment.
Amid the millions of dollars poured into branding each year, comes this story of how of a tiny business with little sex appeal — or even appeal for that matter (who likes to think about cracks in the basement?) — managed to achieve national recognition, half a million dollars in apparel sales, appearances on “The Tonight Show,” Fox News and ESPN radio, all without hiring a single ad agency, focus group, brand consultant or PR adviser. Instead, the owners just did what entrepreneurs with nothing to lose tend to do before they get big and worried about losing what they’ve got–they went with their gut.