From Discovery to DIY, a look at how Command™ Brand came to be.
For decades, people have been searching for ways to improve, add functionality, and hang up their personal touches throughout their homes, offices, and other spaces without causing damage to walls, ceilings, and other flat surfaces. Thanks to a game-changing innovation by a team of brilliant scientists and inventors at 3M, and the strong belief and vision of one tenacious man, Command™ Brand grew from uncertain beginnings to its current presence in the global home organization and décor industry.
In the late 1980s, Karl Kreckel, a 3M scientist from Germany started building excitement over a new adhesive tape that was super strong until it was stretched. Knowing there was something there, 3M tapped Jim Bries in 1992 to lead a product development team charged with applying this groundbreaking adhesive to a problem that has troubled homeowners since the dawn of time: how to hang items on walls without nails, screws, tools, or damage.
While 3M scientists are a brilliant, tireless, and determined bunch, in the pantheon of 3M’s magnificent minds, few are as tenacious or determined as Jim Bries. To simply call Mr. Bries an innovator doesn’t do him justice. He was a game-changer who saw the unlimited potential for this revolutionary new product that would provide a new way for people to hang things damage-free.
Jim and his team worked tirelessly, working to adapt the product to work on painted walls and release cleanly when stretched. Even though years of breakthroughs were made, and Jim and his team were getting things figured out, 3M shelved the project, much to the dismay of Mr. Bries and the team. He, along with key management advocates in the lab, campaigned hard to keep the project off the chopping block and succeeded in getting the project reinstated.
Once the project started again, Bries and his team knew they were getting close to a market-ready product. But there was still one thing missing, a name. They needed something that would adequately convey its unparalleled strength and convenience. After much debate, the team finally came up with “Command”. It was perfect, making it clear to consumers that the product would not only release on command but would also put homeowners in command of their organization and décor like never before.
After making the impossible possible and with the Command™ Brand name in place, Bries and the team were a go for launch. In 1996, 3M debuted its first wave of Command™ products; medium and large utility hooks, a small cord clip, poster strips, and replacement strips.
It didn’t take long for customers to take notice and get the hang of things. Shortly after the initial release, Command™ Brand launched their second wave; spring clips, picture hangers, and decorating clips.
By 1999, just 3-years after its debut, the Command™ product line was in the black to a tune of $10 million. The people had spoken.
Hearing the demands of their fans for new ways to organize and decorate damage-free loud and clear, Command™ Brand entered the 21st century with innovation in their eyes and ideas on their mind. Knowing and embracing their standing in the new DIY-volution, Command™ launched a line of bathroom-focused products in 2004, picture hanging strips in 2005, metal hooks in 2007, and clear hooks in 2012.
Feeling they’d done all they could do inside the home, for now, Jim and his team switched their focus to the exterior of the home and introduced a line of outdoor products specifically designed to withstand the best or worst, mother nature has to offer; including rain, snow, and extreme heat.
Never resting on their laurels, Jim and his team reformulated their indoor strip to keep up with the ever-evolving paint chemistries in 2015.
While it’s ultimately up to our consumers to help drive our innovation, that doesn’t mean we’re just sitting back waiting. If you were to stop by the Command™ lab today, you’d see thousands of products being tested on hundreds of different surfaces. We’re always innovating, improving, and staying true to the vision set forth by Jim Bries and his team.
In fact, we currently have more than 200 damage-free hanging solutions on the market, with many more ideas in the works. Rest assured, whatever we think of next will help empower you to fearlessly decorate and change your space.