Friday, February 27, 2009

Paul Newman

Paul Newman will always be best known for his work as an actor. But since 1982, he also made his mark as an entrepreneur with his Newman’s Own line of food products. A company that started as a joke between two friends, and never expected to turn a profit, has turned into a fixture in grocery stores around the country. Newman’s Own finds its success from accessing a niche market that, to that time, had been under-serviced. The food products they provide are created with organic ingredients – a strategy which hardly seems revolutionary today, but in the 1980s, was somewhat novel.

Another part of the Newman’s hook was the notion that buying into the Newman’s name would mean that you were contributing to a charity. The novelty of this approach certainly drew some customers in, just as the organic ingredients did. Starting with salad dressing and branching out to a variety of foods (including popcorn…I seem to have popcorn on the brain these days), Newman’s Own generated over $250 million in profits in its first two and a half decades.

What makes Newman unique among entrepreneurs is that he then donated all of that wealth to charity. So although Newman was creating wealth, he was not creating it for himself, instead giving it directly to others. Capitalism is often associated with greed, but as you scroll through the entries in this blog, take note of how many of the known capitalists are also well-known philanthropists. This is not just a coincidence, is it?

The Story of Newman's Own

1 comment:

David said...

Newman's Own Lemonade is incredibly delicious.