How Ford created the planet’s largest charcoal manufacturer.

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The year is 1919. Henry Ford is shelling out Model T’s left and right to keep up with demand, giving America its faster horse.

However, manufacturing them requires wood.

And, lots of it.

Ford talks to a real estate developer by the name of Edward G. Kingsford (by that last name you should know where this is heading).

Together, Kingsford and Ford secure a stretch of timberland to keep churning out those faster horses at an electric pace.

Ford soon takes notice, that between his sawmill and his plants, much of his wood is being wasted.

He builds another plant.

The plant is dedicated to collecting the wood scraps and waste and processing them into charcoal briquets (this is just a fancy word for charcoal).

Ford starts a charcoal manufacturing company and names it Ford Charcoal which he later renames Kingsford Charcoal in his friend and business partner’s honor.

Today, Kingsford Charcoal is one of the largest (and certainly the most well-known) charcoal manufacturers on the planet, converting more than 1 million tons of wood waste into charcoal briquets each year.

How does that saying go again…?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Ford’s charcoal is a brilliant lesson is getting creative with the products you offer. Many of the companies I’ve featured in Stranger Than Fiction have found success selling products outside the ones they’re known for.

AirBnb sold cereal.

Away sold coffee table books.

Mailchimp sold cat hats.

If you look hard enough, there is probably a lucrative product or service opportunity hiding right underneath your nose.

Or, in Ford’s case… littering the floors of your plants.

But, I digress.

Stranger than fiction by Honey Copy is a curation of stories about bat shit crazy marketing ideas that have made brands some serious cheddar. If this story made your mouth water, why not let me tell you when I write the next one?

Written by

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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