Some businesses are here to stay. Restaurants, hotels, taxi cabs, music… These are the businesses that have been with us – in one form or another – for hundreds of years. People need to eat and sleep, after all, as well as get from point A to point B. And almost universally people like listening to music. But beyond those necessary forms of business is a world of oddball ideas that most wouldn’t dream of ever becoming successful.
Think about it: do most people ever need to do something like rent a chicken? Probably not, right? Yet, inexplicably, there is an audience that must say “You know what? I’d like to rent a chicken just to see what it’s like.” Apparently, there are enough aspiring farmers, or people who want chickens as temporary pets, to keep this unique business idea afloat. But it still comes off as strange, doesn’t it?
Of course, there are weirder ideas out there. What about a business that makes necklaces out of human remains? Or silly services that, while allowing people to live out little fantasies, really do seem like a waste of money. Then again, if enough people are interested in an odd business, it must be meeting a secret need within society.
Here’s an interesting selection of businesses that have experienced an unexpected – some would say undeserved – amount of success. They might not be sustainable, but for they have managed to make a decent amount of money, and have proved that there truly is no telling what a person will spend their money on.
10. Pet Rock
Of all the business ideas in the world, this one probably comes off as one of the worst. Who in their right mind would buy a pet rock? Apparently in 1975, founder Gary Dahl was able to convince millions of people that it was good idea, earning him an estimated $15 million in the process. It turns out people are willing to buy into a new idea, no matter how silly it might be.
9. Reserve A Spot In Heaven
How would you like to guarantee your spot in heaven? What if you’re not sure heaven exists, but think it would be nice to have a “just in case” backup plan? That’s the idea over at “Reserve A Spot In Heaven.” It’s a funny little gag gift that people can buy for about $15. Some people love it, and others think it’s a mockery of religion. Regardless, they’ve been at it for some time now and are still going strong.
8. Snuggie Blankets
These have become infamous; really, who hasn’t heard of these? It’s a blanket with sleeves on them, and while it’s not exactly a groundbreaking invention, Snuggies have become extremely popular. The ridiculousness of them seems to be exactly what has made them so successful, and among the devout, surely the comfort of armholes trumps the ridiculousness. It’s actually kind of funny that it took so long for this idea to become popular.
7. Sympathy Food Delivery Service
Founder David Storke has worked at a funeral home for over 27 years, and there’s one thing he’s seen time after time: recipients homes flooded with flowers that go to waste. Although the flowers are a nice gesture, what’s the point in receiving so many which end up in the garbage? So he came up with the idea that people would prefer a nice home cooked meal to help console them, rather than the sea of flowers people usually receive. The service offers nationwide delivery, so it’s pretty convenient, if a little pricey.
6. The Fantasy Dating Game
This neat business idea is for women who need to add that extra oomph to their dating lives. It’s basically fantasy football, but for women. You earn points by playing the dating game, so things like:
Calling each other
Going on dates
…will earn a ‘player’ points in their league (group of people you play with). It’s a silly, but fun way to gameify your dating life.
5. Maker(s) Of Wearable Human Remains
Remember this oddball business from the intro? Here’s how it works: you send in a tiny bit of the deceased one’s cremated remains and the companies will seal it into a glass pendant. Pretty simple, right? Keep in mind, that’s “companies.” Evidently there’s something to this idea, as there are a bunch of places looking to craft jewelry from the cremated remains of your loved ones.
4. A Cheese-Sculpting Business
Sarah “The Cheese Lady” has somehow turned her creative skills into a thriving business. What kind of person needs a giant cheese sculpture? It turns out that giant cheese sculptures are perfect for festivals of all kinds. For example, food and wine festivals, state fairs, and sporting events all love to have her pieces there. Her cheesy skills have garnered national attention, making this weird idea into a success.
3. I Do, Now I Don’t
This business idea was born from the misfortune of a man whose fiancé left him after being engaged for three months. When he went to return the ring, he was offered about $3,500 for the ring he had paid $10,000 for. Flustered by the dramatic decrease in value, he created “I Do, Now I Don’t,” which works kind of like an EBay/Craigslist for wedding rings. The site only takes 15 percent as a seller’s fee, which is significantly better than what lonesome ring sellers would get at a pawnshop, or by returning their items to a jewelry shop.
2. The Anger Room
Do you ever get so angry that you could just break something? Have you ACTUALLY broken something in anger? Then you’re the perfect customer for the “Anger Room.” The idea is simple: you pick the blunt instrument of your choice (a bat, golf club, etc.) and are thrown into a room with a few pieces of junk furniture (televisions and other breakables in particular). And then… You smash to your heart’s desire. It’s $25 for every 5 minutes, but that’s probably as long as most would need. Properly smashing things should wear most people out pretty quick.
Remember these guys from the intro? Still wondering who’d do business with chicken renters? Here’s the answer – urban farmers. Well, to be more specific, those who are interested in urban farming. Basically, interested parties get a few chickens to take care of for six months, a trial period that allows them to see how raising a chicken works for them. It costs $350 to do this, but there’s no substitute for chicken farming for those wanting to, well, farm chickens. This service at least guarantees enough time to see if it’s really a good fit.