Do you have an insane business idea and are unsure whether it would work? Maybe you should back yourself after seeing what’s possible in the increasingly peculiar business world…
So how weird can you get and still make money? Check these oddball small business ideas that are killing it.
“Don’t underestimate a stupid idea” – Mat Carpenter
Sage words from the creator of a service that consists entirely of stuffing an envelope with glitter and mailing it to someone you despise. The stuff gets in every cranny, is impossible to clean and is generally considered a lame thing to do.
People are far more strange and vengeful than you could ever imagine.
Australian Mat Carpenter, 23, founded this beacon of idiocy on New Year’s Day as a drunken joke. It cost him 30 bucks to set it up whilst imbibing his favourite beverage. After creating the site Mat went on to focus on his hangover and promptly forgot about it.
2 days later whilst on holidays… BOOM. Reddit grabbed it by the horns and the thing went viral. Mat was beyond unprepared.
“There were no envelopes, no glitter, nor had I even started writing the letter that was supposed to go inside. Just to reinforce how badly I was prepared, I had setup the user to be redirected to a /thankyou page after making payment and that freaking 404’d because I didn’t even set up the page.”
Yet another 2 days later after fielding thousands of orders, he sold the site for $85 000 in pure profit. Apparently he had no intention of building a weaponised glitter empire, unlike the shiny new owners. It continues its success today and has even spawned a bevy of rip offs. Go figure.
Consider the following:
“Why, at traditional Thanksgiving meals, served all across the country, when there is a bounty of food, is there but one lonely wishbone?”
This was the lightbulb question asked by Lucky Break Wishbone founder Ken Ahroni, which resulted in a very profitable little business indeed, although certainly a little bizarre.
So essentially what they have done is design and patent a breakable plastic wishbone.
Why? So that when you have your Christmas or Thanksgiving feast, you don’t have to pop a lone wishbone on the kitchen counter to dry so that one set of people can quietly and unceremoniously make a wish, long after the event itself. That’s like mailing people their Christmas bon bon crackers a week after Christmas lunch. Lame.
So now you can just grab a pack of these bad boys with your poultry of choice and everyone at the table gets a turn to snap that lucky breastbone with their pinky finger.
So how is business? Booming. Six figure booming. In fact they even recently won a $1.7m case against American retailing giant Sears who tried to rip off their idea in a holiday promotion. Sears definitely got the short end of the wishbone on that one.
This one is for the gullible, the exceptionally bored and the insultingly wealthy.
So what do we have here? A devious and highly popular app from Norwegian artist Petr Svarovsky – a clever man with no semblance of a conscience – and his development company Carrot Pop, which boasts over 1 million downloads.
The successful app often referred to as ‘SMTH’ is essentially a very craven form of performance art or social trolling… cleverly disguised as a throwing game.
“The original idea was to have very expensive gadgets, which people in certain societies buy just to show off, and to get them to throw it”
So how do you play? You turn it on and peg your phone at the sky. No really, you just haphazardly toss your smartphone into the air, like a two dollar football, as high as you can and the app will calculate your smartphone’s altitude. Hopefully you catch it.
Your phone’s height is then scored and shared around the world on an ever expanding leader board alongside the scores of other bright young things – I believe over 40 metres is the current world record.
In creating his app, Petr intentionally set out to convince as many people as humanly possible to shatter their own iPhones… It was a hit.
Let’s hear from some savvy and satisfied buyers out there who are fully enjoying this lovely app:
“I don’t get it… I opened the app threw my phone but it measured inaccurately. Then it made my phone land on concrete and it smashed to bits ☹️… These people should be sued a lot of money and refund all the broken phones caused by this app”
“Such a awesome game. My phone is now a cricket ball, I am becoming a good catcher now days because if this app.”
“Prepare for a lawsuit”
Unsurprisingly Apple was none too thrilled with the destructive purpose of the app and eventually withdrew it from the app store, despite its popularity. Android however is less concerned with such things and still allows you to be as irresponsible with your gadgetry as you please.
4) Baguette Bag
You really are a clever crew – so clever I bet you already know this is a bag designed purely for the transportation of baguettes. So Frenchy, so chic.
So Cyan, a small Ukrainian clothing label run by Victoria Panyukova, decided they were sick of schlepping around with naked baguettes open to the cool chill of a November in Paris (or Kiev). So what was to be done?
Of course! They created a start up project of sorts called the ‘baguette bag’ – intended to keep your sceptre of bready goodness warm, fresh and unmolested on your commute home.
From the creator:
“Made especially for the baguette fans, the Baguette Bag protects the fluffy loaf while keeping your hands free. Place your just purchased bread into this stylish accessory and sling it over your shoulder – now you can bike or walk and carry other groceries in your hands without damaging the baguette.”
For such a naff product, they certainly seem to be pre-selling well on the project platform ‘wowcracy’, so here’s to your yeasty success Cyan!
After assessing these bizarre and successful businesses, perhaps you too should take the leap and make your idea real? If these guys are killing it, why not you? Check out how to start a small business plan.