Back in 1988, Sam Farber believed he was retiring. He'd spent three decades in the kitchenware business as the founder and chief executive of Copco, a maker of colorful utensils. But while relaxing in the South of France, Farber watched his wife Betsey, who has arthritis, struggle while peeling vegetables. The peeler's grip, they realized, wasn't wide enough for her to achieve a steady grasp. So in 1989, he launched a new company, OXO International, to create ergonomically correct household gadgets for people of all ages, not just the young and strong. In 1995, he sold OXO and retired again. But in 2001, after realizing there was a market for inexpensive yet stylish plastic tableware, Farber and his son John launched WOVO, which makes elegant yet sturdy bowls and plates. Currently, he works with Product Development Workshop, John's 11-year-old consultancy. They advise the companies Farber founded and devise brand extensions, such as a line of Copco pots and pans created with celebrity chef Mario Batali. "I try hard to get away, but I'm still involved," Farber says with a laugh. "The world is full of bad design, so there is a lot to do." And he's writing a book on OXO with Betsey. In it, they plan to discuss the now-mythic vegetable peeler story, as well as management strategies, such as getting rid of traditional hierarchies so all employees feel secure enough to pipe up and share fresh ideas.