Big Ass Fans Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010

Finalist

Consumer Products

Carey Smith realized that he and his employees were churning out a quality product not long after he founded HVLS Fan Co. in 1999. There was, after all, an obvious market for large industrial fans, and the reaction Smith received from customers was overwhelming. The fans were wonderful. But there was something about that name.

During the first couple of years, Smith maintained that original and relatively anonymous company name. It was safe, and it was how customers were able to identify the company and its products. Branding mattered. But so many customers started to ask the same question — “Are you the guys who make those big ass fans?” — that Smith realized branding might matter a little more with a company name that not only reflected the product but also what so many thought when they saw those fans, some as large as 24 feet across, spinning from the ceiling. Thus creating the name Big Ass Fans.

Since the name change, Smith has focused on the product and the company. In 2002, he acquired co-ownership interest in the fan patents, which allowed the company to embark on the manufacturing side of the business, while also continuing to improve technology and create innovative products.

The fans are marketed as a quality product at a high price point, and because the company sells only directly to the consumer, it will continue to have a high margin and a drive to innovate. The company recently developed and has marketed its first residential fan — only a little more than 8 feet across.

The next step is to expand the company outside of the U.S. — and Smith has plans to expand market share in Australia, Europe and Mexico. How do you say Big Ass Fans in Spanish?

How to reach: Big Ass Fans, (877) 244-3267 or www.bigassfans.com