Murphy's Law: October 15, 2003


The Scottsdale, Arizona-based Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation is branching out into home decor, clothing and jewelry with a new catalog, just in time for Christmas. The parent company of the 151-year-old handgun maker already sells hunting gear such as binoculars and scopes, with licensing deals for products ranging from bicycles to golf clubs. 

The Crossings catalog features cowgirl pillows inset with beaded studs and faux pearls, silk blouses with handmade turquoise and sterling silver buttons, and bedding in a "rustic yet romantic print." Perhaps the catalog will also feature their hot pink anodized, pearl-handled versions of their revolvers. 

Smith & Wesson's move is just part of a general diversification trend throughout the arms industry, as civilian sales now face a hostile environment in most western nations. However, the post-Cold War decline in international weapons sales and subsequent tougher competition was more of a financial driver for many companies. For instance, Colt Industries, parent company to Colt Manufacturing, sold off the firearms branch. Rescued from bankruptcy in 1994, the company is about 83 percent owned by investment firm Zilkha & Co. 

The British government has been actively pursuing their own program since the 1990's, scrambling to get orders for many UK-based businesses but for a truly imaginative spread one has to give the prize to the Russians. In February 2003, the Mikhail Kalashnikov bought 30 percent of the MMI Company. The 83-year-old designer of the infamous assault rifle family never received royalties for his work, but he finally learned to capitalize on his name.

The German company specializes in umbrellas (which Kalashnikov likened to his rifle as "reliable, easy to use and low-maintenance"). Other products, like watches, tennis rackets, surfboards and energy drinks were contemplated for consumers looking for a rebellious brand name.

Vodka Kalashnikov has been around for a while, based on a select recipe approved by Kalashnikov (supposedly the first vodka ever to be created by combining salt, sugar, vanillin and glycerin). Negotiations were also underway with a drinks manufacturer in Dortmund with a view to producing Kalashnikov mineral water and an easier-to-market vodka-based cocktail. - Adam Geibel


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close