10 Famous Brands And What Their Founders Actually Look Like


If you’ve ever shopped at a major grocery store, market or department store, you’ve likely seen some of the same popular brands repetitively. These brands become like household names and many times, we don’t think twice about the origin of their names. Ever wondered where the name Adidas came from, or even Barbie? Some of these brand names may seem random and arbitrary, but in most cases, they are named for an actual person. There are several of these household names which were created from the founders of the companies, and some were not. Regardless, the inspiration behind these brands may look totally different than what you could ever imagine. Read on to learn more about 10 famous brands and what their founders actually look like. 


The brand Knorr was founded by Carl Heinrich Knorr. His dealings began in 1838 when he first began supplying chicory to the coffee industry. He then moved on to learning how to dry vegetables and seasonings. This led to Knorr launching the first version of dried soups in 1873, for distribution across Europe. This is how Knorr developed the products his company is now known for.

Harley Davidson

The iconic brand Harley Davidson Motorcycles was born from the minds of childhood friends William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. They started working on a model of a small engine in 1901, not knowing that they would eventually go on to become the powerhouse company they built and are known for today. They were later joined by William and Walter Davidson, and went on to create the new loop-frame Harley Davidson prototype – all assembled in a shed in the backyard of the Davidson family. 

Fred Perry

This clothing brand was created by Fred Perry, a professional tennis player. In 1940, Perry and Australian footballer Tibby Wegner created the first sweatband. The duo went on to create their first version of a tennis shirt. 

Alexander McQueen

This brand was founded by Alexander McQueen, a luxury designer from England. McQueen started out as the head designer of the Givenchy fashion line for Louis Vuitton. He then broke out on his own in 2004, founding his own menswear line. One of his very first inspirations came from his formidable years, when he worked in a tailor shop helping to create costumes for theater. 


Vans are a very popular skateboarding shoe and apparel company that was founded by two brothers, Paul and James Van Doren, as well as Gordon C. Lee. They founded the “Off the Wall” logo in 1876, which was slang for skateboarding tricks done in empty swimming pools. 


Adolf “Adi” Dassler is the inspiration behind the name and founder of the company Adidas. He was a cobbler and worked with his brother and fellow cobblerRudolf, but the two eventually split to do their own separate things. Adolf founded Adidas, and Rudolf eventually went on to found Puma. 

Tiffany and Co.

Tiffany and Co began in 1837, when Charles Lewis Tiffany and his friend opened up their first shop, selling stationary and gifts. Later, they added glassware, jewelry, clocks and cutlery – eventually incorporating in 1853 as Tiffany and Company. 


William Boeing is the name behind this aircraft company, but he actually got his start selling timber wood. He became inspired to go into the aircraft business after seeing a man flying a machine in 1909. 


The Barbie doll was named after Ruth Handler’s daughter, who was named Barbara. Ruth Handler is credited as the creator of this iconic doll.


Lipton tea was created by Sir Thomas Lipton, who was quite the entrepreneur. Before joining the tea industry, he was an accountant, door to door salesman, and grocery clerk. He went on to open up a chain of grocery stores.