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Published on December 27th, 2021 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


5 Famous Brands You May Not Realize Are Still Family-Owned

Private sector companies are not controlled by the government and do not offer investors equity interests. When a business idea proves successful, it can be easy for founders to be lured by investors promising large amounts of capital. However, many entrepreneurs are passionate about their operations, and as such, manage to keep control of their conglomerates for generations to come.

Private and family-owned businesses are incredibly important to the world’s economy, employing billions of people and earning trillions in revenue each year. Here’s a list of five brands you probably recognize that are still privately owned and operated by the families that created them.

1. Dolce & Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana founded their fashion house in Italy in 1985 with a women’s collection. Since then, the brand has grown to include menswear, perfume and home goods. Dolce and Gabbana happens to be one of the few designer fashion brands that remains privately held, which is no small achievement considering the founders were a couple when they started the company. Though the relationship ended, Dolce and Gabbana continue to work together as friends and business partners who employ more than 25,000 workers and earn average sales of $1.5 billion annually.

2. Carnival Corporation

Cruise ships are one of the most popular vacation options for travelers across the globe. Ted Arison, an Israeli businessman, founded Carnival Cruise Lines in 1972. After his death in 1999, his son, Micky Arison, took over as CEO and currently serves as chairman of the board. He shares the company with his sister, Shari Arison, a businesswoman, philanthropist and the richest woman in Israel. Carnival operates more than 100 cruise ships and several brands including Princess Cruises, Holland America and Cunard.

3. Mars

If you love M&Ms, Skittles and Twix candies, then chances are you’re a frequent customer of Mars, Inc. In 1911, Washingtonian Frank C. Mars started his homemade candy shop out of his home. In 1923, he found great success with the Milky Way bar and was able to hire a full-time staff. Today, Mars employs more than 65,000 people worldwide and takes in $30 billion annually. The company remains private and the entire board of directors is comprised of Mars family members.

4. Ford Motors

Henry Ford is known for developing the assembly line manufacturing technique and building the first affordable American automobile. In 1903, he established the Ford Motor Company with $28,000 capital in Michigan. The business managed to survive the Great Depression and remains the largest family-controlled company on Earth. The Ford family shares the company with major shareholders Joseph Henrich and Mark Fields, but William Ford Jr., the great-grandson of Henry Ford, has the majority stake in the company and serves as executive chairman.

5. Wal-Mart

The first Wal-Mart store was opened in Arkansas in 1962, by businessman and entrepreneur Sam Walton. Walton wanted to make shopping more accessible to consumers who didn’t live in big cities and began placing his stores in smaller, more remote towns across America. After Sam Walton’s death in 1992, the Walton family continued to run the company and today, his son, Rob Walton, is at the helm as chairman of the board. Despite some criticism over policies and business practices, Wal-Mart remains a household name and takes in revenues over $420 billion a year.

Becoming a well-known and beloved brand in the global market is a testament to creativity, business acumen and customer relationship management. It’s a huge accomplishment to grow a business that becomes a household name across the globe, but it’s an even greater feat to run that company for a lifetime and hand it down to future generations.

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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