The Hall of Fame of Failed Businesses

June 05, 2021

The Hall of Fame of Failed Businesses

Sometimes there are businesses that make you say, "Why the heck didn't I think of that?!" And then there are other times when you can't help but wonder, "What in the world were they smoking?!"

Every year, new businesses emerge aiming to rise to the top, with the ultimate goal of becoming a household name.

Statistic alert: However, the painful truth is that a whopping90 percent of startups fail. Yep, you read that right - 90 percent. And seeing as how over an unbelievable627,000 new businesses open each year-- that's a whole lot of failed businesses!

While we can't help but feel somewhat bad for the aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators who had their hopes and dreams crushed, we would be lying if we said that we didn't find some of their failures spectacularly entertaining. In fact, some of them are just downright hilarious (sorry, not sorry).

Want to learn more about epic business fails and get in a good laugh along the way? We've got you covered. Read on as wespill the tea on some of the most hilarious failed businesses.

Let's go!

But First, Why Do Businesses Fail?

Let's not sugar coat things here, OK? Great! So we'll just come right out and say it; being an entrepreneur is fu*king hard. That said, not everyone enjoys, err... hard ... things…

So, with that in mind, it's easy to see how being a business owner is simply just not for everyone. It often takes years of hard, monotonous work, long grueling hours, and no recognition to become successful.

Many entrepreneurs give up or fail for other very common reasons, like hiring a terrible marketing team or not having the time to really get involved and nourish their budding business.

But that's not all -- here are some of the recurring and less reported reasons why your startup might tank:

No One Needs You (Ouch)

What's the biggest mistake causing startups to fail, you ask? Because the founders create a product that the market just doesn't want. Sure, maybe you figured out an awesome solution to a problem that you think is just the bees' knees and patent that shiz.

But the hard truth is that other people might not have the same problem as you. Therefore, they don't need your awesome new product.

If you're looking to start a business, save yourself from heartbreak and do your research first. Make sure you're putting all of your efforts towards something that will knock people's socks off. Something that has a need. Trust us; nothing is more soul-crushing than putting your blood, sweat, and tears into something with dreams of making it big, only to fall flat on your face because no one needs it.

That said, if you do happen to fail due to a bad business idea, take a deep breath, adjust your crown and try again. We call that: thepivot.

Your Sugar Daddy Ran Out Of Funds

If you have an amazing idea but don't have the cash or creditors to support it, guess what's going to happen? Your startup is going to flop. Initial funding for the majority of new businesses comes from personal income and investments from loved ones or by other means (whatever those may be…). So, you're almost certainly going to need to obtain outside funding.

Lack of capital and resources makes it extremely difficult to grow and can even jeopardize day-to-day operations. And when the operation is compromised, the treacherous death of your startup will be looming right around the corner.

Wassup, bankruptcy?

Your Team Sucks

Another reliable killer for startups is issues and inconsistencies within the team of employees. If the cooperation between you and the crew doesn't work, your startup simply won't stand a chance either, period.

No matter how great your business plan is, poor management means you neednew management.

The Most Epic Business Fails Of All Time

Think you might have the next million-dollar idea and want to try your hand at starting your own business? Go for it! But first, read these hilarious business fails- you just might learn a thing or two.

"Always try to learn from other people's mistakes, not your own -- it's much cheaper that way!" - Well said, Donald Trump, well said.


Remember Juicero? It was a 2013 startup that created a high-end juicer inspired by the uber-popular Keurig coffee cups. The concept behind the $400 machine was to allow its users to easily make their own juice from home.

All you had to do was plug in pre-sold packets of diced fruit and veggies - which were sold exclusively by the company - into the devices and then let it work its magic to produce fresh juice. Juicero was a huge success, especially since juicing became a major trend at the time. But then peak tragedy struck...

The company was left completely humiliated when consumers realized that the pre-sold packets could easily be squeezed by hand to make juice much more efficiently than using the expensive machine.

It didn't take long until Juicero announced that it was pulling the beloved juicer from shelves and repurchasing the products from customers. Yikes.


Do you enjoy falling on your face and the thrill of possibly burning your house down to the ground? If this sounds like you, we have just the product to tickle your fancy.

Enter Hoverboards; one of the biggest flops of the century. User experience was, uh, not really what every advertisement promised.

Laxative Potato Chips

Who's hungry for laxative potato chips?! Anyone? No? Yeah, we didn't think so. Frito-Lay's Wow potato chips were fat-free, thanks to a little compound known as Olestra.

But unfortunately, the molecules of this specific fat substitute are a wee bit too big to digest and go straight through the digestive tract, with a pretty similar effect to a laxative.

Yep, a laxative. The horror stories were quickly all over the news, and sales dropped dramatically, causing the fat-free chip to be removed from shelves almost immediately.

So, what's the lesson learned here?

Make sure your product doesn't stink (pun totally intended) and always test it before releasing it to the public. 'Nuff said.

Ben-Gay Aspirin

What comes to mind when you hear "Ben-Gay?" Most tend to think of the super-strong smell and hot soothing feel of the popular company's pain-relieving cream -- which is probably why Ben-Gay Aspirin didn't take off. Choking down a pill that burns as it slides down your throat? Yeah, no thanks.

Blockbuster Video

Ah, Blockbuster Video, what a blast from the past! Founded in 1985, this beloved home movie and video game rental services giant is arguably one of the most iconic brands in the video rental space.

In its prime back in 2004, Blockbuster had over 9,000 stores and employed almost 85,000 people worldwide -- but then, things took a turn for the worse.

Apparently not sensing a dramatic shift in the coming years, when given a chance to buy Netflix for a cool $50 million at the start of the decade, Blockbuster CEOopted not to. This was a huge mistake as it ultimately led to the company's destruction.

Netflix, on the other hand, completely took off, growing by leaps and bounds, while the home video rental market has since been relegated to Redbox and on-demand content.

Remember when Netflix would mail you DVDs? Yeah, weird, right?

Colgate Frozen Meals

Did you know that back in 1982, Colgate, the famous toothpaste company, thought it would be a good idea to sell -- drum roll, please -- frozen dinners? Yup, it's true.

Obviously, the plan backfired, probably because people couldn't help but associate the food with the flavor of their favorite toothpaste, which apparently isn't what they want their meals to taste like. Colgate took a big L on this one, and rightfully so!

Office Assistant Clippy

If you weremade in the 90s, there's a pretty good chance you remember Clippy, the super happy paper clip. Designed to pop up whenever the software thought that the user needed help, Clippy was described as one of the worst user interfaces ever developed.

Why? Well, for those who don't remember or were born after the best decade ever (just sayin'), Clippy kind of had a mind of his own, popping up to please you any chance he could, which often got really annoying -- especially if you were working with slow internet (rainbow wheel of death for days).

Yik Yak

This anonymous messaging app was gaining major popularity as the team scooped up over an incredible $73 million in venture capital funding. So, what was the problem? Well, Yik Yak's function turned out to be a pretty big issue as it quickly became aplatform for college students to dish out steamy secrets, send scary threats, be cruel to each other, and even commit crimes (yes, crimes) under the protection of anonymity.

Needless to say, Yik Yak was canceled.

Silicon Valley is survival of the fittest for every technology company.

New Coke

What do you do when you're the mastermind behind one of the most popular soft drinks on the planet? Change the formula, duhh. That's exactly what the makers of Coca-Cola did back in the'80s.

But after getting flooded with not-so-nice letters from not-so-happy customers, the company did a major facepalm and announced the return of Coca-Cola "Classic," never to mess with the coveted recipe ever again.

Google Glass

Rocking a computer monitor on your face that records and transmits everything you look at might seem like a brilliant idea-- that is until you factor in little things like safety and privacy.

Soon after being introduced back in 2012, the techy glasses, which retailed for $1,500 big ones, were banned from being worn in places like movie theaters and casinos. Fast forward to 2015; Google decided to pull the plug on their nerdy spy glasses.

Hey, at least the hardware lastest beyond its first year. But we'll probably just stick to the mobile phone for now.

Spray-On Hair

Are you goingbald but don't have the time for Rogaine or toupees? Never fear, "spray-on hair" has you covered, literally. Many manufacturers produced different variations of this bottled bad boy, which promised to fill in sparse spots on your dome.

So, it's pretty much like spray painting your head? Yep. OK, would it be more dignified to just embrace the baldness? 100 percent, yes. But honestly, who needs dignity when your secret weapon is aerosol?

While we saw this product come and go in all its glory fairly fast, it can still be bought from a few manufactures online who can't seem to let bad ideas die.

Ford Edsel

Ridiculously overpriced and surprisingly ugly are usually not hallmarks of a successful product launch. But, that didn't stop theFord Edsel, which debuted in the '50s, and the asset enjoyed only two years on the production line.

The eyesore had reliability and aesthetic issues, and its hefty price tag timed with the beginning of a national recession sent this vehicle on a one-way ticket to the junkyard.

Business Failure: Cruel Fate

If there is one thing that you can take away from these companies - other than pain in your cheeks from laughing so hard - let it be the notion that even the giants fall.

So keep your chin up, work hard to make your dream a reality, and "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again." Facebook DM those investors, pump up the cash flow, and bang out that new strategy.

Remember, for every small business fail, there's an IBM and Kodak and McD's.

Think about Steve Jobs. Your first company can totally start in a garage. Just remember to save us a market share on your version of the iPhone (or Android or Blackberry-we're not picky).

Here atFamous In Real Life, we make shirts with character because life is way too short to wear boring clothes. If you're thinking about starting a new business, we have the swag that you need to look and feel like aboss.

Check out our huge inventory of apparel today and take over theworld tomorrow.


90% Of Startups Fail: Here's What You Need To Know About The 10% | Forbes

Information on Small Business Startups | Chron

Epic Fail: How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix | Variety

Yik Yak, once valued at $400 million, shuts down and sells off engineers for $1 million | The Verge

New Coke - Top 10 Bad Beverage Ideas - TIME

Ford Edsel History: Why the Car Flopped | Time

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