Richard Branson is a flamboyant British entrepreneur with a seemingly insatiable appetite for starting new businesses. His internationally recognized brand "Virgin" is splashed across everything from credit cards, to airlines and music "megastores". Branson is continuously seeking new business opportunities and loves a good challenge, especially when he enters a market that is dominated by a few major players.
Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950. His entrepreneurial ways began early when he was publishing a student magazine at just 16 years. Branson did not go on to graduate school but in 1970 the now famous Virgin brand had its beginnings in the form of a discount records mail order venture that he and his friend Nik Powell worked on.
Soon after opening a record store on Oxford Street, London, Branson began a recording label in 1972, Virgin Records. This was to be the first major success for the British entrepreneur as he started the label with a hit record. The instrumental artist Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" released in 1973 was a cash cow for Branson's Virgin Records and it stayed in the UK music charts for 247 weeks. The record label went on to sign top music artists like "Genesis", "The Sex Pistols", "The Rolling Stones" and "Simple Minds". The Virgin Records Group was sold in 1992 to THORN EMI for $1 billion USD.
Richard Branson obviously wasn't finished with the music recording business as he went on to start V2 Records in 1996. The V2 Music brand has a stable of artists that include "Stereophonics", "Powder Finger", "Mercury Rev" and "Tom Jones".
The Virgin Brand
Richard Branson has created one of the most recognizable brands in the world. In Britain where he focuses much of his attention, Branson has managed to "Virginize" a very wide range of products and services. The variety of businesses he controls is as vast as the geographical coverage the brand has, with business located throughout The United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Asian, Europe and South Africa.
Some of the businesses Branson has collected include:
Virgin Atlantic - An international airline flying to many major destinations.
Virgin Megastores - Music Super-markets located in major locations in the UK, USA and Australia.
Virgin Books - Publisher and distributor of books.
Virgin Credit Card - Branson's attempt to provide credit card at a reasonable price.
Virgin Holidays - Book a holiday and fly Virgin Atlantic?
Virgin Trains - Virgin making trains sexy in the United Kingdom.
V2 Music - Largest UK based independent recording label.
Virgin Active - Chain of fitness clubs throughout the United Kingdom.
Virgin Galactic - Branson's planned affordable flight to space venture.
Ulusaba - Luxury game reserve located in South Africa.
Necker Island - Branson's own private island located in the British Virgin Islands.
There are plenty more businesses that wear the Virgin name throughout the world and there will probably be more to come as Branson is always looking for an interesting business to start. On the Virgin.com website there is even a section to submit your new and exciting business venture that Branson may consider pursuing.
Richard Branson Adventures
Branson is passionate about life and living every minute to its fullest. Since 1985 he has been getting his adrenaline rushes through world record breaking attempts by boat and hot air balloon. Several distance and speed records have been attempted and achieved, but his attempt to be the first person to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon was never achieved. Branson makes each record attempt a media event with his Virgin logo prominently displayed during every launch, which has been an excellent source of free advertising and brand placement for the Virgin Group.