How a business would flourish is still a tough riddle to solve for some aspiring entrepreneurs. Sometimes despite of careful planning, close monitoring and targeted goals, other businesses still miserably fail. On the other hand, there are businesses that thrive unexpectedly. Probably, other than the obvious factors for business success, such enterprises grow due to a handful of luck. True stories prove that even the most bizarre business can bear good fruits. To give you good examples, here are the 7 weirdest business ideas that actually worked!
#1 Bottled Water
Back in the XVth century, water was free for all the people in the UK. If it’s free and accessible to all, how would a person make a profit from it. Apparently, this group of crazy-genius individuals thought to bottle water and sell it. That’s when water bottle business started to bloom. At first, skeptics doubt how such business would flourish. One man who received a water bottle business proposal even called the inventors insane. Why would people buy water that they can get it at home for free? The answer is timing. Around the 17th and 18th centuries, spas and water therapy demanded for water bottles. This was the start of the proliferation of water business across the world. In fact, it has become one of the biggest merchandise in history.
If you’re European, white and male, congratulations! You have a career in China. If you’re lucky, it could even be across Asia. One of the most bizarre businesses in some parts of Asia is commonly known as rent-a-European. Particularly in Shanghai, club owners pay foreigners $35/hour to hang out and entertain customers. A similar story was told by an exchange student in Shanghai who claimed, besides a regular pay every weekend, other perks of his job include an access to the VIP lounge, food and drinks. The business idea is actually brilliant. Foreigners-for-rent are paid to hang out in clubs as a social proof that the place is good. In return, Chinese customers will be enticed to check out the place. Local women typically end up flirting with male Europeans. Thus, men will spend more. It’s a win-win deal between business owners and foreigners-for-rent. It’s no surprise that no matter how weird this kind of business is, it continues to thrive.
#3 Make-Up for Korean Male Soldiers
Selling cosmetic products to male soldiers? We were baffled too the first time we heard about it, but once you know the reasons, you’ll realize it makes total sense. First, we have to lay out those questions you have in mind: why would male soldiers need make-up, and more importantly, why would they even bother buying? It’s weird and confounding, but actually it’s a well-thought-out business idea. In Korea, men are required to serve the military for about two years. As part of the training, soldiers are required to put on some military grade camouflage cream. Camou creams are difficult to wash off because it serves a purpose. It must stay on the skin during battles despite of rain and sweat – but not during trainings. Thus, the cosmetic company, Innisfree created the perfect camou cream for young soldiers in training. Compared to the conventional creams, the camo crème products from Innisfree are easier to wash off. Plus, it also works as sun protection. But why would male soldiers buy them? We know men are not into cosmetic products because let’s just say, it falls off the manliness grid. The answer is, they don’t. Their moms, sisters, girlfriends/wives buy these products for them. It has been a typical gift when sending off male soldiers prior to entering boot camps. That is the reason why the products had grown huge that even popular celebrities market them. No wonder why Innisfree’s camo creams ignited the launch of 1+ billion USD male cosmetics industry in South Korea.
On top of rent-a-European, rent-a-chook is also a thriving weird business. Particularly in Australia, you can rent a chicken for a reason you’re free to choose. However, people are renting chickens mainly because they want to start a livestock biz. Rent-a-chook is for people who want to venture on a poultry business, but are not completely sure about it. This Sydney-based company provides everything you need to raise chickens for a few months. For just a couple of hundred bucks, you can get a real feel of being surrounded by fowl friends.
#5 Canned Air
Consider yourself fortunate if you’re living in a country with free air. In some parts of the world, you just have to buy yourself some clean air. Sadly, we have reached that age of the Earth where we have to trade money for oxygen that we obviously need to continue living. However, not everyone is unhappy about it. Some people saw this phenomenon as a business opportunity. The Canadian company called Vitality Air is selling canned air to people in China. It was in December 2015 when they shipped 4,000 bottles worth of oxygen to the country in just a week. A single 10L can of oxygen costs about $23. Imagine how much profit they got from shipping air! Chinese businessman Chen Guangbiao also took advantage of this, and sold over 10,000,000 cans in 10 days. Bottles of air were selling like hotcakes, and it kind of gives us a mixture of emotions.
#6 Human Bed Warmer
Who knew, you can actually consider a career in bed warming — but Viktoria Ivachyova saw what everybody else didn’t. After reading a book with a character who was a human hot water bottle, she decided to do the same, and hell yeah it worked! This entrepreneurial Russian knew that no one likes to sleep on a cold bed. So she charged her male customers £65 per night or £1,350 per month to get in between the sheets, and make it all cozy-warm before they hit the bed. Viktoria says it’s also about leaving positive energy that gives her clients a good night’s sleep. In a few years, her customers piled up that she had to gather a team of lady bed warmers to keep up with the demand.
#7 Tumble Weeds
Have you ever been enthralled about the idea of tumbleweeds and its importance to human existence? Of course not, and us, too. Linda Katz of Kansas probably felt the same. So she made a mock website advertising tumble weeds as a joke. To her surprise, the site went viral. Linda’s initial aim is to learn HTML and make a website. She created the tumble weed page as her ‘dummy’ site, but eventually, people wanted to know more information about it. Linda never thought she would sell enough, but it ended up her selling an average of 15 orders per week. This resulted to her annual income reaching around $40,000! The tumble weed went enormous that she even sold some to NASA. They used tumbled weeds for building and testing obstacles for Mars Rover.