Billionaire Richard Branson has started over 100 businesses since he was 16. Almost all of them were successful, but to date, at least 15 have failed. It’s not surprising that some of Brandon’s businesses failed. After all, the billionaire has always thought big and says that he lost count of the number of times he was told his ideas would fail.
Branson was quoted as saying, “My mother taught me that I should not focus on past regrets, so with regards to business I don’t. My teams and I do not allow mistakes or failures to deter us. In fact, even when something goes wrong, we continue to search for new opportunities.”
The entrepreneur added, “Businesses are like buses: there is always one after the other.” Check out these 15 times billionaire Richard Branson failed at business.
#1 – Virgin Drinks
Richard Branson’s unsuccessful stab at the drinks industry came in the form of Virgin Cola. The business was the billionaire’s most famous failure and also his favorite. While none of the Virgin Drinks launches were very successful, Virgin Cola was probably the worst. The drink was launched in 1994 and the bottle was inspired by Pamela Anderson’s curves. After it failed, Branson stated, “I’ll never make the mistake of thinking that big companies are sleeping again.”
#2 – Virgin Brides
Virgin Brides was launched in England in 1996 at several locations. Branson shaved his beard and wore a wedding dress for this launch. However, the billionaire’s venture into the wedding business was short lived and the store stopped taking orders December 2007. This failure showed that Branson’s brand simply wasn’t meant for the over competitive market.
#3 – Virgin Vie
Virgin Vie launched as a cosmetics and toiletries company that sold products online, in Virgin stores, and at home parties. Stores closed after disappointing sales and Bramson turned to direct selling of the products, changing the name to Virgin Vie at Home. The brand became Vie at Home in 2009 after Virgin got out. The company paid millions in “Brand Protection” money to new management and paid off its loans at the same time.
#4 -Virgin Clothing
Virgin Clothing launched in 1998 as a line of men’s and women’s clothing. It also offered shoes and accessories aimed at the 18-to-35 crowd. The line was sold at U.K. retailers and department stores. Under Richard Branson’s direction, Virgin Clothing hired ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi to work on the line. Unfortunately, not even a stellar ad agency could help the Branson brand, which folded in 2000 with losses to shareholders.
#5 – Student
In 1966, at the age of 16, Richard Branson dropped out of school to start a national magazine called “Student.” Branson explained that he didn’t like the way he was being taught at school, didn’t like what was going on in the world, and “wanted to put it right.” He decided that the best way to accomplish his goal was through a national magazine run by students for students.
Branson’s first business venture didn’t pan out well, but it did give him a stepping stone to launch his record mail-order business. That business became so popular that Branson ditched “Student” for his very own record shop: Virgin.