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5 Tiny Companies Making Millions

  • 4. BackJoy
  • 2011 revenue: approximately $8 million
  • Employees: 18
  • Why do all mothers tell their kids to sit up straight? They must be on to something.

    Indeed they are.

    Back pain is the second most common reason why people visit the doctor, according to BackJoy. The company, a maker of products that improves posture, was founded in 2005 to offer products that alleviate back ailments.

    It's mission: to change the way the world "sits, stands and sleeps."

    The products are sold directly through BackJoy's website and through retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBBY) and specialty medical merchants. In the last year, it started distribution in 29 countries.

    In December, BackJoy introduced Posture+ (shown above), a seat enhancement that helps consumers sit more comfortably and correctly, improving posture, strengthening core muscles to prevent back problems, it says.

    The company is launching a new pillow for sleeping that shares similar characteristics to the sitting products, but concentrates on a person's head and neck as opposed to the spine and pelvis.

    By the end of the second quarter, BackJoy will have three product lines -- Sit, Stand, and Sleep -- with multiple products in each category. The company plans to continue expanding product lines and distribution opportunities globally.

    BackJoy founder and CEO Bing Howstein says success has been a combination of the company's clear mission, consumer-centric focus and a management team that previously worked for Crocs (CROX) and has experience with global brands.

    "Our products are simple and our customers are fanatical," he says. "We provide a timely solution that is a no-nonsense, non-pseudoscience ticket to personal wellness through better posture."

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