(Article updated February 6, 2016)
Business ideas can come from everywhere. It can come from observing other people – what they like and what they need — that are not currently being addressed in the marketplace. Some business ideas are born out of frustration after not finding a suitable solution to a particular problem. Even if a solution exists, it may not do the job well enough, and there are opportunities to improve the products or services.
I’ve listed below some interesting and creative business ideas that I’ve come across recently. Some of these business ideas have proven their worth and earn millions of dollars, while others are just new to the market. But they all share a common element: they address a particular need.
Here are 10 unique business ideas:
1. BungoBox http://www.bungobox.com/
Ever tried to dumpster dive just to find cardboard boxes that you can use for packing and moving? BungoBox offers an alternative to cardboard boxes, plastic crates that makes it easy to haul items and belongings while keeping them safe. Their products are a better alternative to cardboard boxes as BungoBoxes are durable, stackable, sustainable plastic containers aimed to better protect items being moved, as well as reduce the cost of packing supplies. The boxes are available for rent, though they offer the option to buy the boxes as well.
2. We Rent Goats http://werentgoats.com/
Goats have long been promoted as a possible alternative to herbicides to clear out weeds. WeRentGoats.com offer goats to clear fields, acreage, ditches, embankments, and others. Currently operating in six states (Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington), they come to the property the owner wants cleared, bring the appropriate number of goats and then clear the weeds and vegetation on the land.
3. BlackSocks https://www.blacksocks.com
Swiss entrepreneur Samuel Liechti was invited to a meeting with Japanese customers, after which he was invited to attend a tea ceremony. Japanese tea ceremonies require that shoes to be taken off, and Leichti at that time was wearing two different socks, one of which had a hole in his big toe. That embarrassment made him think of how to manage his sock problem, and that’s how his sock subscription service was born. Sock subscribers can get 3 deliveries of 3 pairs starting at $89, 4 deliveries of 3 pairs for $118, 1 delivery of 12 pairs for $118, or 6 deliveries of 3 pairs starting at $175.
The company has since expanded to offer t-shirt subscription, underwear subscriptions, and shirt subscriptions. For $87, underwear subscribers can receive 3 deliveries of 2 briefs.
4. PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com
As the company’s blurb says, “A wedding dress is too beautiful to sit in a closet.” While some prefer to keep their wedding dresses forever, other women opt for the practical route and instead sell their wedding gown. Founded in 2004, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com is a listing service that connects buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses. It has become the go-to destination of brides looking to sell their gowns, and would-be brides looking for their perfect gowns (albeit used).
5. Something Store http://www.somethingstore.com
For those who love mystery, shop at SomethingStore.com and you’ll get — something! Shoppers pay $10, but they won’t know what they bought until the package arrives at their doorstep.
6. Butch Bakery http://www.butchbakery.com
Cupcakes have become massively popular nowadays. But instead of the frilly pink confections, Butch Bakery creates aesthetically masculine cupcakes made with beer, bacon and other manly ingredients that caters to men.
7. Lucky Break Wishbones http://www.luckybreakwishbone.com
Many American families celebrate holidays by eating turkeys, with family members waiting in anticipation as to who will get the lone wishbone. To appease dinner table fights over the breaking of the lone wishbone, a Seattle entrepreneur created plastic wishbones that allow all members of the family to have a wishbone to break. Seems like a niche holiday business, but Lucky Break Wishbones have proven to be a very successful business.
8. SoleMates http://thesolemates.com/
Make your expensive Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik shoes last. Two Connecticut young ladies created the SoleMates High Heeler for those who want to protect their high heels especially in outside conditions (grass, gravel, cobblestones sand).
9. Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Product http://www.mumbani.com/
Prevent the “morning face”, or the lines and wrinkles that becomes more prevalent when waking up with the Mumbani Fresh Face pillow. This pillow keeps the face from getting smooshed in the pillows, thus avoiding wrinkles and lines.
10. RentMaternityWear.com http://www.rentmaternitywear.com/
Maternity is an exciting but temporary moment, that some pregnant moms don’t want to invest good money to buy a new wardrobe, particularly formal wear or gowns to wear during pregnancy.