Monday, 29 November 2010

Capturely.

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You


http://www.capturely.com/

Anyone who's ever launched a website knows how much trouble it can be to create a simple “coming soon” page. Templates can be expensive, and it hardly seems worthwhile setting up a server for just a single page. Enter Capturely, a new online service that lets domain registrants create a custom “coming soon” page in about a minute.

Users of California-based Capturely begin by entering a headline and body copy for their page, along with which analytics service they plan to use. They can then either pick a template for the site's appearance, or they can style their page in real time with CSS. Either way, once the page goes live, it can be used not just for publicity but also to collect the email addresses of potential customers and supporters. Soon, Capturely will also make it possible to export that email list to providers like MailChimp. Using Capturely is free for up to 20 collected email addresses; after that, it's USD 0.25 per email.

Have you registered a domain, but not yet launched your website? If so, Capturely could help you out. Otherwise, it's yet another nice illustration of one of the key principles of Marketing 101: Find an unmet need — however niche — address it well, and customers will follow! ;-)

[Via - Springwise]

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Scratch-and-sniff wallpaper

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You


http://www.flavorleague.com/wallpaper/

Scratch-and-sniff wallpaper. Wallpaper printed with holograms. Wallpaper designed by Lenny Kravitz.

Jon Sherman's cutting-edge company, Flavor Paper, makes all of them and more. Wild patterns, intense colors and designs like the flowery/explosive Kabloom burst from the walls of his newly opened showroom in Brooklyn, N.Y., one floor up from a print studio. His windows are open to the street, so passersby can gawk at his graphic magic. "There's nothing we can't produce other than flocking," he says, and that's only because the glue's toxic.

He may sound a bit like a madman, but his work is showcased in hotels from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas to the new W near Wall Street. These days, he collaborates with the likes of design star Jonathan Adler and does jobs ranging from an 8.5-by-11-inch framed piece to coverings for every room in the W hotel in Atlanta. He created a World Cup wallpaper with a "detailed, scrolling" pattern for Nike and also does backgrounds for photo shoots for catalogs like Banana Republic.

But how he began could be the least expected part of his story. In 2003, he was in real estate development
, looking into redesigning condo interiors in Florida to push up the selling prices, when he heard of an old stock of Mylar and foil wallpaper in Oregon that looked like "pieces of art at a more affordable price." The producer refused to sell them but did want to unload his color screens and equipment--if Sherman could move them within 24 hours. Before long he had a 52-foot, 4-ton screening table installed in a warehouse in New Orleans, where Sherman was living. And from there it was DIY.

"I assumed there were books on making wallpaper," he says. "Boy, was I wrong."

Being clueless had its benefits, though: With Sherman's first line, shown at a trade fair in New York, "we got pretty lucky with the press," he says. "We didn't know the rules on color trends, like 'Mylar's out.'" Against-the-grain Flavor Paper stood out boldly.

In May, he opened the Flavor Lair in Brooklyn, a 1929 parking garage converted, for "a pretty penny," into a production studio on the ground floor, a huge showroom above and apartments for him and two employees. (The New Orleans operation will now produce Flavor Fabric.) Wall-size samples hang on huge spools in the showroom, suitable for flipping to appreciate designs that would not communicate in a mere swatch book.

Sherman's initial investment in New Orleans, $125,000, has grown into a business that produces as many as 600 rolls of custom paper a month. The prices are dear: $150 retail for 15 feet in a single color, plus $50 per screening for additional colors. A seven-color scratch-and-sniff with tutti-frutti would be $550 a roll. (Regular scratch-and-sniff comes in either cherry or banana scents.) Everything is printed to order (in two to three weeks), so there's no waste.

Scratch-and-sniff is not the most out-there wallpaper he has made; he has also produced black-light and glow-in-the-dark ones. A client once asked for a custom bondage theme. ("You'd have to try pretty hard to offend us," Sherman notes.) Bliss spas recently ordered wallpaper with a mustache pattern for its waxing rooms, while a Venezuelan casino that chose the same pattern did not realize it was facial hair.

Sherman's latest move is into digital printing so that he can do photo-mural work; now an 8-by-10 image can be blown up to 7 feet. "We want to cover all bases," he says.

Flavor Paper even hangs in the Smithsonian, in City Park pattern (think William Morris with fire hydrants), at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Which is appropriate considering Sherman is taking his super-modern obsession way back in time, before a world where hotels used wallpaper simply to protect drywall.

"Wallpaper went from historically being the focal point in a room to being the background," he says. "I'm trying to bring it back in the foreground."

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Monday, 15 November 2010

Book Of Cooks

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You


http://www.bookofcooks.com/

Consumers who lack the time, energy or skills to prepare delicious home-cooked meals themselves already have semi-cooking options to help them along—including shopping and delivery services such as I Love Mother—as well as meal prep stores, with or without instruction. When even those are too much, however, BookOfCooks is a new online marketplace that can help consumers find local foodies who are willing to cook for them.

Professional and amateur chefs around the world can use BookOfCooks to set up an online restaurant or bakery that showcases their cooking talents with menus, prices, licenses and videos. Using BookOfCooks is free both for those in search of food and for those who prepare it. Consumers then can search BookOfCooks by city for the dish or food type they're craving, or they can browse the site's online Google maps and archives for links to local cooks and food aficionados, including ratings and reviews. When they find one that sounds good, they can place an order with the cook for pickup, delivery or even in-home preparation.

Meals purchased this way are frequently less expensive than what one would pay in a restaurant, BookOfCooks says, and can also make it easier to find less common cuisines such as vegan or gluten-free. For cooks, meanwhile, BookOfCooks provides a free way to establish a consistent client√®le, whether as a full-time business or—meshing nicely with what our sister site would call the sellsumer trend—for a little extra money on the side. There are, of course, legal issues to be navigated when preparing food for the consumption of others—and the related question of how many consumers will be willing to buy food from amateurs. Nevertheless, with ratings and reviews providing at least a small measure of protection, it seems possible this could spark a recession-inspired anti-restaurant trend.

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

[Via - Springwise]

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sniff The Mold

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You


http://www.1800gotmold.com/

Impenetrable rainforests, palm-studded beaches--Hawaii has many stirring sights. But for Jason Earle, the putrid, mold-ridden Hilton Hawaiian Village's Kalia Tower in Waikiki was most inspiring. In 2002, during a sojourn to the Aloha State after he ditched a nine-year career as a stockbroker, he watched as the $95 million hotel was closed down one year after opening because of ventilation problems. "They thought it was a $500,000 mold problem, then it grew to $5 million," he says. "In the end, it cost $55 million to fix."

The closure got personal after Earle talked to one of the cleanup workers and read about health problems associated with mold. As a child living on a small farm in West Windsor, N.J., Earle had had serious respiratory problems that were eventually diagnosed as asthma compounded by chronic pneumonia as well as allergies to grass, wheat, corn, eggs, milk, cotton, animals, pollen and just about everything else. He had lived like the Bubble Boy, but after moving to a new house nearby, Earle's health problems had miraculously evaporated. Everyone assumed he had outgrown his illnesses, but in retrospect, Earle became convinced mold had debilitated him.

"After reading about the Kalia Tower, I asked my dad if we had mold in that house," Earle says. "He laughed and said we had actual mushrooms growing the basement."

Earle became passionate about detecting dangerous fungi and after traveling, settled in New Jersey to work for a mold-remediation firm. When he heard about a dog that had been trained to sniff out hidden moisture, he flew to Florida and bought the dog, a black Lab named Oreo, and set off on his own, combining traditional detection techniques with Oreo's sniffer.

1-800-GOT-MOLD? was a hit. (An inspection runs an average of $1,200.) And Earle began franchising the concept this year, training a small battalion of mold-sniffing labs in Florida and opening 23 locations in New Jersey and the Carolinas. He expects to open 30 more in the next 12 months and more than 300 in the next three years.

How big is the mold problem?
The mold-detection industry is growing fast, and we're the only national brand. About a third of Americans suffer from asthma, allergies, sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. That's100 million people sensitive to mold issues. According to one website,

80 percent of homes will eventually have problems with flooding or leaks. We also try to market ourselves through doctors and medical services, not real estate companies, and emphasize mold's health effects. That's a huge separator for us.

Why use dogs?
With the dogs, we can offer superior service, and they create a tremendous amount of confidence. The dogs almost validate the human inspector because people naturally trust dogs so much. It's a huge marketing advantage. Plus, scheduling a mold inspection is up there with scheduling a root canal--it's not fun. The dog changes the dynamic. We don't use dogs as a replacement for anything, but they give us an even greater amount of data. They pinpoint problem areas that would be missed, and they reduce the size of remediation to the smallest dimensions, so there's no need for wholesale demolition of a wall.

How do clients react to the dogs?
It can be an emotional experience when homeowners see a dog alert in a room they know is a problem or makes them feel sick. It validates their concerns. They don't feel crazy anymore.

Do you breed moldhounds?
No, we use rescued female black Labs and Lab mixes. We use Labs because they are the friendliest and America's favorite dog. For some reason, black dogs are usually the last to be rescued, so we get them from kill shelters. Females are easier to train, and have a better sense of smell.

Are you still allergic to mold?

I tend to limit my time in moldy houses, and I haven't experienced the symptoms I had as a kid. I think that going in and out of so many houses with mold has reduced my sensitivity, kind of like getting allergy shots. But that's just my theory.

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You

Friday, 5 November 2010

Wheelin'N'Deelin

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You


http://www.bakedinny.com/

On weekends, one of the hippest places to shop in SoHo In New York sits at the corner of Broadway and Prince, with street artists to the west, trendy stores all around and an endless stream of tourists and shoppers flowing past on the sidewalk. Danceable music pulses out of speakers to stop the human stream long enough for it to notice a show window with graphic T-shirts and collectible toys on display. And every few minutes, a passer-by becomes a patron, handing over $35 in cash for a tee and providing a smiling photo op--everyone who buys is snapped with a Canon digital camera, his/her visage to be posted on a website.

But this is no ordinary boutique: It's on wheels, and that window is cut into the side of a converted DHL truck. Despite the name emblazoned on either side--Cookies-n-Cream--it sells nothing edible. The three entrepreneurs behind it are focusing instead on tees and toys pushed to a hip-hop soundtrack while scheming to take boutique trucks to more cities.

As the startup's creative director, Ganiu Ladejobi, says: "We're at the intersection of cool and cooler."

Already food trucks have shaken up the restaurant world, with ambitious cooks no longer confined to kitchens and committed to crippling rents and problematic locations. Now the mobile phenomenon is entering its second phase: retail. A small group of cutting-edge entrepreneurs, often from the art and design worlds on both coasts, is skipping the brick-and-mortar boutique for highly stylized sets of wheels. The movement is literally fashion-forward.

National companies have been sending their wares out on wheels. Designer Cynthia Rowley has a "mobile fashion unit" traveling the country, stocked with her latest styles and equipped with a changing room. Armani Exchange has sold jeans from trucks in Los Angeles, and the Olsen Twins did a similar stunt for their line for JCPenney last fall.

It's not hard to see why vendors would want to hit the streets; the "for rent" signs plastered everywhere are testament to how hard it is to keep a traditional business afloat. Consider the rent advertised on a ready-to-move-in store on Prince Street near the Cookies-n-Cream location: $53,000 a month. Just the rent. A truck can get rolling for only a few thousand. Add in texting plus social media like Facebook and Twitter to keep the clientele posted on whereabouts, and the marketing plan and the cool factor are both covered.

Trucks, whether selling food or fashion, offer "uniqueness and urgency," says Patricia Norins, a specialty retail expert and magazine publisher based in Hanover, Mass. "There's an immediacy factor," she says. "The customer is not sure you're going to be back. And there's a certain level of uniqueness that's important. There's a certain level of homogeneousness in the standardized mix of shops you see other places."

More important, Norins notes, is that "it feels trendy, like the hip new thing--people are interested in different types of shopping experiences and are looking for new venues. Maybe they don't want to go inside, maybe they don't think they're going shopping until they see something that creates an impulse buy."

Beyond the fashion-forward element, mobile merchandise vendors have other advantages. Unlike the ubiquitous food trucksters, they do not need licensing by the health department, their stock is not time-sensitive and at this point the competition is almost nonexistent--even the clothing stores on Broadway where the Cookies-n-Cream partners park are happy to have them, they say, because the truck and the hip-hop make potential buyers slow down to window shop and maybe venture inside.

Vending licenses can be hard to come by, though: New York City approves only 853 permits each year for sellers of general merchandise who are not veterans. (Fortunately, they cost only $100 to $200 a year.) Some cities, such as New Orleans, do not allow the sale of anything except food from a truck.

But with the bar for entry set so low, it's easy to see the allure. The Cookies-n-Cream partners got their showroom rolling for all of $10,000: the cost of the used truck plus refitting it with a sales window, stereo system and vinyl exterior in a design echoed by one of their T-shirts, which are designed by a cadre of artists. For now, the trio doesn't even pay for parking; they store the truck at one partner's grandmother's place in Brooklyn. On a good day, they might sell $1,000 worth of T-shirts and collectible toys; on a slow one, it's more like $300.

Mitra Khayyam, whose Los Angeles company Blood is the New Black sells artist-designed T-shirts both online and wholesale, was buying a taco outside an art gallery in April when she thought "What about selling T-shirts from a truck?" Despite her company's gross sales of $780,000 in 2009, she says she wasn't sure she wanted a brick-and-mortar presence, so "this is a way to test the waters to make sure we want to take a leap into permanency."

Within the month she found an old Aramark delivery truck on Craigslist for $12,000. She soon had two other companies signed on as partners, and by June 6 her Summer Fling truck was on the road around the city. It was even simpler than the pop-up stores she had tried in the past for a month or week or couple of days.

A truck basically needs an eye-catching design--hers is wrapped in wild pink with stripes and dubbed "the party zebra"--and, in most cases, a window either to display merchandise or to handle transactions. Just as with a Mister Softee truck, music is a draw, so an audio system is also useful.

Khayyam's truck carries ice cream sandwiches made by Coolhaus, a high-profile mobile vendor in Los Angeles and New York, because local laws prohibit trucks selling only merchandise. "It has a food truck vibe but mixes it up," she says. "If people are expecting food, they're not disappointed. If not, they might buy T-shirts." Or accessories for BlackBerrys and iPhones manufactured by Case-Mate, her second partner. The truck has a computer monitor on which customers can customize their I Make My Case cases on the Case-Mate website.

The truck parks outside schools, record stores and art galleries in hip areas such as Echo Park, Venice and downtown Los Angeles. "We try to go after the creatives, with like-minded customers who like having us outside their store."

T-shirts sell for $20 to $30 and ice cream for $3 to $5--"at the end of the day we make more with the tees but the margin is better on the ice cream." Her biggest expenses are the (undisclosed) wages for a part-time driver and salespeople and the cost of the truck itself.

Khayyam, who has a degree in design marketing and management from Parsons The New School for Design in New York, intended the truck to stay on the streets only through the summer because "I like the idea of doing something temporary, with a greater sense of urgency." She hopes to sell it after October, and if she doesn't recoup her investment, plans to write it off as a marketing expense.

"Everything I do is a brand extension," she said. "I'm not there just to sell tees; the point of the line is to teach people about the artists" who design them.

For more unusual ways to make money, visit this site.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

The Million-Dollar Idea in Everyone: Easy New Ways to Make Money from Your Interests, Insights, and Inventions

IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide by Dan S. Kennedy

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms & Dads

Make Your Ideas Mean Business

Link of the day - If You Sell Links On Your Site, I Will Buy Them Off You