Oprah and Anna Ginsberg

Anna Ginsberg of Austin, Texas, is the $1 million grand prize winner of the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. Her recipe for Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing wowed the competition's panel of judges, who evaluated culinary creations from 99 finalists for appearance, creativity and of course, flavor.

The special ingredient in Anna's savory dish is a surprising, sweet treat—Pillsbury Dunkables Waffle Sticks. After experimenting with other products, Anna says the novel idea to use waffle sticks in stuffing came to her in a flash. "I literally went in my kitchen and I just started chopping up stuff!" she says.   Watch Watch Anna and Oprah make the million-dollar meal.
Margherita, Rosita and Angela Missoni

Meet three generations of one of the most talked about clothing lines in the world: (from left to right) Margherita, Rosita and Angela Missoni.

The Missoni fashion empire had its start back in 1947 when Ottavio Missoni designed his first tracksuit for the Italian Olympic track team. When Ottavio, known as Tai by friends, married Rosita in 1952, the couple intended on earning a simple living with little more than a knitting machine. Instead, their colorful dream turned into a multi-million dollar knitwear company that evolved from simple sweater sets to include a lightning bolt zigzag that eventually became the label's signature design.

See styles from the 2006 Missoni collection.

All three of Tai and Rosita's children—Luca, Victorio and Angela—help run the family owned business out of the Missoni headquarters, located on their country estate in Sumirago, Italy. A typical workday involves hard work and endless decisions about color, style and runway shows. The Missonis know how to enjoy life's simple pleasures, too. Angela, the company's creative director and mother of three, says the convenient on-site factory allows the entire family to work closely together and spend quality time with each other.
Post-it Notes

In 1968, 3M scientist Dr. Spence Silver was working on a new kind of adhesive. However, the substance wasn't sticky enough and the product was shelved. Years later, Dr. Silver's co-worker, Art Fry, found the perfect use for the glue. While flipping through the pages of his church choir hymnal, Art became frustrated that the scraps of paper he used to mark certain pages kept falling out. Suddenly, Art had a brilliant idea. What if Silver's not-so-sticky substance was applied to paper—a bookmark that literally stuck in place without damaging the page? The Post-it Note was born, along with a whole new way of communicating.
Sally Putnam Chapman

According to Sally Putnam Chapman, great-granddaughter of Crayola co-founder Edwin Binney, the iconic crayons were borne out of necessity. Edwin's wife—Sally's great-grandmother, Alice—was a schoolteacher who needed a colored pencil for kids that was long lasting, brightly colored, and inexpensive. After Edwin created his signature paraffin wax crayon, all they needed was a name. Alice came up with "crayola"—a mix of the French word craie, which means "chalk," and ola, a Latin root for "oil."

The first boxes of Crayolas were hand-made and sold for five cents in 1903. They're now made in automated factories. First, the paraffin wax is melted. Then it's mixed with the pigments that give the crayons their vibrant colors. A secret ingredient is added, "That gives it that wonderful smell and heartiness," Sally says. Finally, the melted wax is poured into crayon molds and cooled. This process results in 650 crayons made every minute—that's 13.5 million crayons a day.

In more than a century, Crayola has sold more than 200 billion crayons, but none of those have ever been like this...Sally stopped by with a special delivery, a box of crayons in Oprah's favorite color—"the color purple!"
Adam Lippis of Adam+Eve and Oprah

Adam Lippes, creator of the Adam+Eve clothing company, just may have crafted the perfect white T-shirt. "I sleep in them and then I get up and I work out in them and then I go shopping in them," Oprah says. "It's a tee that will take you anywhere."

Before setting out on his own, Adam trained with some of the best in men's fashion, including Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta. "The idea behind the company was to create the perfect white T-shirt," Adam says. "I had trouble finding the perfect T-shirt for me—one that I could wear to work to a very dressed-up workplace, and also out at night."

To ensure his shirts' quality, Adam uses only fine materials like silky pima cotton imported from Peru. He says he finds inspiration in vintage photos and beautiful Indian embroidery and fabric.

Take a look at Adam+Eve's line of fashions.

Oprah says she loves the T-shirt, but wishes Adam+Eve would make some pants out of that same silky T-shirt cotton. Adam surprises Oprah with the perfect pair of "travel pants!"
Russell Simmons, founder of Phat Farm clothes

Russell Simmons first made his name in the 1980s as a co-founder of the hip-hop record label Def Jam, home to old-school rap pioneers like Run-DMC and L.L. Cool J. Then in 1992 Russell decided to expand from music into fashion, opening a storefront in Manhattan's trendy SoHo district. "I watched the Tommy Hilfigers and others who were growing their businesses at the time [being] inspired by the street," Russell says. "I thought, 'We could be on this.' And also, 'Who knows the street better than us?' So we created Phat Farm." Now, Phat Farm makes everything from suits to sneakers.

There's one question that remains: What does the name mean? "Not 'heavyweight' fat. [It's] like 'fly' or 'fine' or 'attractive'...'cool,'" Russell explains. "'P-H-A-T'—cool. 'Farm'—a place where you make cool things."

In 2005, Russell sold a portion of Phat Farm for over $100 million!
Michael Stefanos, heir to the Dove bar fortune

Leo Stefanos immigrated to America from Greece when he was 35 years old. After he learned to make candy working in a Chicago candy store, Leo eventually opened his own store and named it Dove Candies after the symbol of peace.

When Leo saw his sons run after the Good Humor truck instead of staying in his candy store, he set out to invent his own ice cream bar. Leo kept the recipe top secret and used his sons and daughter as taste testers. "It was absolutely the greatest job in the world," says Michael (above), one of Leo's sons.

The year was 1957 and the Dove bar quickly became a customer favorite. By 1977, Dove was selling as many as 3,000 handmade bars a day! When Leo passed away, Michael—who learned the secret Dove bar recipe when he was 10—took over and began selling the ice cream bars to local stores in 1984. The bars became so popular—selling 100,000 bars a day—Mars Inc., the makers of M&M's and Snickers, bought Dove for tens of millions of dollars.

The new Dove bar production plant is close to the very spot where Leo Stefanos invented the original. It now takes 3,700 cows to make enough milk to produce the 350,000 Dove bars made every day. They use 4 million pounds of milk chocolate a year. They freeze the bars in a freezer that is 20 degrees colder than the North Pole.

And only one person in the plant knows the still-secret recipe!
FROM: The Big Idea That Made Millions
Published on May 04, 2006


Next Story