How I Built This with Guy Raz Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.
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How I Built This with Guy Raz

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Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.More from How I Built This with Guy Raz »

Most Recent Episodes

Wayfair: Niraj Shah & Steve Conine
Angie Wang for NPR

Wayfair: Niraj Shah & Steve Conine

After selling their first small business and shuttering their second, former college roommates Niraj Shah and Steve Conine thought about getting "normal" jobs. But in the early 2000s, they stumbled across an unexpected trend: people were buying furniture online to get a wider selection. Within a few years, Niraj and Steve launched 250 different websites, selling everything from barstools to birdhouses. Eventually, they consolidated these sites into one giant brand: Wayfair. The company now carries more than 10 million items for home and last year brought in more than $4 billion in sales. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Carin Luna-Ostaseski fell in love with scotch and became the first American woman to create a Scotch whisky company.

Wayfair: Niraj Shah & Steve Conine

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FUBU: Daymond John

Daymond John, founder of FUBU Phuong Nguyen for NPR hide caption

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

FUBU: Daymond John

Daymond John grew up during the 1980s in the heart of hip hop culture: Hollis, Queens. In his early 20s, he was working at Red Lobster and trying to figure out how to start a business. Eventually, he stumbled on the idea of making clothes for fans of rap music. In 1992, he started FUBU (For Us By Us) and began selling hats outside of a local mall. Three years later, FUBU was bringing in $350 million in sales. Today, he's a judge on Shark Tank, and a motivational speaker and author. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how Len Testa created an app that uses real-time data to help people avoid long lines at theme parks.

FUBU: Daymond John

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Stitch Fix: Katrina Lake
Phuong Nguyen for NPR

Stitch Fix: Katrina Lake

In 2010, Katrina Lake recruited 20 friends for an experiment: she wanted to see if she could choose clothes for them that accurately matched their style and personality. That idea sparked Stitch Fix, an online personal shopping service that aims to take the guesswork out of shopping. Today, it has over two million customers and brings in nearly a billion dollars in annual revenue. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how Brian Sonia-Wallace built "Rent Poet" — a poem-on-demand service for weddings, corporate gatherings, and other events.

Stitch Fix: Katrina Lake

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Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell

Before he turned 40, Nolan Bushnell founded two brands that permanently shaped the way Americans amuse themselves: the iconic video game system Atari, and the frenetic family restaurant Chuck E. Cheese's. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Andrew Holder for NPR

Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell

Before he turned 40, Nolan Bushnell founded two brands that permanently shaped the way Americans amuse themselves: the iconic video game system Atari, and the frenetic family restaurant Chuck E. Cheese's. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," an update on H2OPS, a non-alcoholic take on craft-brewed – a fragrant sparkling water made with hops. (Original broadcast date: February 27, 2017)

Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell

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LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken

Lara Merriken is the founder of the energy bar, LaraBar. Marcus Marritt for NPR hide caption

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Marcus Marritt for NPR

LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken

In 2000, Lara Merriken was 32, recently divorced, and without a job when she decided to make energy bars by mixing cherries, dates, and almonds in her Cuisinart. Eventually, she perfected the recipe and launched her company: LÄRABAR. After just two years, the company was bringing in millions in revenue. In 2008, she sold to General Mills, but stayed on to help grow LÄRABAR into one of the biggest energy bar brands in the U.S. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how two brothers from Guinea, West Africa founded a company that makes Ginjan, a spicy-sweet juice from their boyhood, which mixes pineapple and ginger.

LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken

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The Knot: Carley Roney & David Liu

Carley Roney and David Liu are the founders of the wedding planning site, The Knot, and the lifestyle company XO Group. Phuong Nguyen for NPR hide caption

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

The Knot: Carley Roney & David Liu

When Carley Roney and David Liu got married, they had a seat-of-the-pants celebration on a sweltering Washington rooftop. They never planned to go into the wedding business, but soon saw an opportunity in the market for a fresh approach to wedding planning. In 1996, they founded The Knot, a website with an irreverent attitude about "the big day." The Knot weathered the dot.com bust, a stock market meltdown, and eventually grew into the lifestyle brand XO Group, valued at $500 million. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Michael Dixon's business, Mobile Vinyl Recorders, uses portable record lathes to cut vinyl at parties, weddings, and music festivals.

The Knot: Carley Roney & David Liu

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1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore

Brian Scudamore, the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Andrew Holder for NPR

1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore

Brian Scudamore didn't dream of a life hauling away other people's trash. But when he needed to pay for college, he bought a $700 pickup truck, painted his phone number on the side, and started hauling. Now 1-800-GOT-JUNK? makes close to $300 million in annual revenue. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," an update on Bloomerent, an online service that helps couples save wedding costs by letting them share flower arrangements on the same weekend. (Original broadcast date: April 17, 2017)

1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore

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Live Episode! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni Britton Bauer

Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Phuong Nguyen for NPR hide caption

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

Live Episode! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni Britton Bauer

Even as a kid, Jeni Britton Bauer knew she was going to start a business one day. But she had no idea that her love for perfume would inspire her to start experimenting with ice cream. After years of hustling, she eventually launched Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, a company that now has more than 30 stores nationally and touts unique flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Lemon Buttermilk. Recorded live in Columbus, Ohio.

Live Episode! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni Britton Bauer

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Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales launched Wikipedia in 2001. Connor Heckert for NPR hide caption

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Connor Heckert for NPR

Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales

During the dot com boom of the late 1990s, Jimmy Wales was running an internet search company. That's when he began to experiment with the idea of an online encyclopedia. In 2001, Wales launched Wikipedia, a website where thousands of community members could contribute, edit, and monitor content on just about anything. Today, the non-profit has stayed true to its open source roots and is the fifth most visited website in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Florence Wetterwald created Blabla dolls – eco-friendly knitted dolls made in Peru.

Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales

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Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal

How the billion dollar company Warby Parker was born out of a simple frustration with eyewear. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Andrew Holder for NPR

Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal

In 2008, it was nearly impossible to buy a fashionable, affordable pair of glasses online. That simple frustration inspired the idea behind Warby Parker – and disrupted the eyewear industry. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," an update on Bellyak, a kayak where you lie on your belly and paddle with your hands. (Original broadcast date: December 26, 2016)

Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal

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