Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. For understandable reasons, the stocks that tend to get the most attention are big technology conglomerates and high-street retailers. These are the companies, after all, whose logos adorn our cellphones, our coffee cups, and our clothes. Even if a start-up generates buzz, it is usually in the hope of becoming such a ubiquitous presence.
Some companies, however, have quirkiness built into their very being, and are unlikely to lose their unique edge no matter how big they get. Here are three of the more unusual businesses you can invest in.
The success of Crocs ( CROX 2.10% ), the maker of the original ugly but-fun fashion item by the same name, remains one of the strangest and most inspiring in the history of branding. The first batch of the now-iconic foam shoes were unveiled by entrepreneurs Lyndon Hanson and George Boedecker at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, where a very predictable 200 pairs were sold. Since then, customers across the globe have bought more than 300 million pairs in various styles and colors.
Although the company's signature product seemed to peak around 2006 -- with an explosion of attention contributing to sales tripling that year -- it seems that the controversial shoe is making something of a comeback. Shares of Crocs are up about 30% so far in 2019, partly due to a resurgence in popularity among female teenagers.
World Wrestling Entertainment
If teenage girls are sponsoring the return of the Croc, then we can thank -- or perhaps blame -- testosterone-charged young men for the continued popularity of World Wrestling Entertainment ( WWE 2.98% ).
While the sport of wrestling is a noble and time-honored one -- its origins going back to antiquity -- the noisy theatrics we associate with the WWE only really began in the 1980s. Following its IPO in 1999, the stock performed relatively poorly until 2017, when it began to soar. Much of this turnaround can be attributed to canceling unprofitable live shows, as well as a growing cult fanbase that corresponded with the rise of interest in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the massively popular fight-promoting company.
Although WWE has been trailed with doom-and-gloom forecasts throughout its life on the stock market, the company actually beat Wall Street estimates in July's earnings report as it continues to sign on a host of rising stars.
Step into any one of a hundred Chuy's ( CHUY 6.98% ) locations and you'll be sure to see something strange. You may find an Elvis shrine surrounded by floating wooden fish, a ceiling made out of hubcaps, or a meal served from the trunk of a vintage car. These quirky elements have been a part of the Tex-Mex chain's branding since it launched way back in 1982.
Indeed, the company's unofficial motto is "Keep Chuy's Weird," drawing on a phrase associated with its home city of Austin.
A public company since 2012, Chuy's has avoided the blandification that comes with expanding operations by furnishing each new location with unique decor. This approach has been paying off. The company saw revenue climb 9% to $102.1 million in its most recent quarter, while it managed to triple its same-store sales.
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