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Arts & Crafts

Gift Basket

Create crafty and beautiful gifts with a gift basket business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

  • Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

If you’re the type who goes nuts at holidays and birthdays, choosingoh-so-special gifts and then dressing them up in creative packages,you’ll get all wrapped up in a gift basket business. You can give giftsall year long and get paid for doing it! This is one of the hottestbusinesses going, with recent annual sales of $800 million.

If you setyour creativity on high and develop your own special niche, you can bevery successful. Gift basket entrepreneurs buy gifts and tuck them intobaskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags for their customers to give tothat certain someone.

Each basket of goodies is designed around atheme, which can be anything from romance to travel to new baby to newhome to just about anything you can dream up. There are even divorcebaskets!

The gift basket business’s advantages are that you can startpart time, your startup costs are relatively low, and if you’re acreative person who likes conjuring up unique themes and packaging andputting them all together, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Plus, the businessis gratifying–everybody’s delighted to receive a fancy basket full ofgifts. A gift basket can be elegant, whimsical or sporty, but make sureit looks smart–you can’t just toss in a hodgepodge of objects andstick on a bow. You’ll need a flair for the creative and the designability to pull it all together into an attractive package. You’ll alsoneed to be a savvy marketer who can sell those unique baskets to avariety of clients and customers.

The Market

The quintessential consumer gift-basket customer is the middle-toupper-income female baby boomer, but you can sell to just aboutanybody. Be sure to tie up business accounts. These will keep your cashflow going during slower retail seasons and can be a terrific source ofrepeat sales.

Wrap up travel and real estate agents, innkeepers,apartment complexes, car and boat salespeople, public relations firms,or any other corporate clients who’ll want to thank, wow or woo theirown customers. And don’t forget clubs and organizations–they’re alwaysthrowing dinners, teas, parties and assorted awards banquets for whichgifts are a necessary ingredient. You can attract these clients andcustomers with creative marketing.

Send brochures to businesses andorganizations, then follow up by setting appointments to show yourbaskets or a professional portfolio of your designs. To reap retailcustomers, place ads in local newspapers, host home parties à laTupperware and exhibit at crafts fairs. Send press releases to localand national publications, offer yourself as a guest on a local radiochat show, and donate a few baskets to other businesses’ grand openingsor for fund-raisers in return for free publicity.

Needed Equipment

In most states, you’ll need a liquor license to add that swanky bottleof champagne or fine wine, and you’ll want a resale license so you canbuy gifts and supplies at wholesale prices. You’ll also want ashrink-wrap machine (or use a heavy-duty hair dryer or paint peeler);that indispensable crafter’s tool, the hot glue gun; and a work spacelarge enough for you to spread out your materials and assemble yourbaskets. (Keep in mind that a business client may order 100 or morebaskets at a time.)

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Arts & Crafts

Designer Pillows

A couch isn’t a couch without a decorative pillow. Create pillows that help decorators differentiate themselves.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

  • Startup Costs: Under $2,000
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Turn your sewing machine into a part-timeprofit center by creating custom designed pillows. The pillows can becompleted on a made-to-order basis, or you can develop standard designsand themes and sell the pillows on a wholesale basis.

Be sure toestablish alliances with interior decorators, as these decorators couldbecome your best customers for custom pillows.

Additional income canalso be earned by designing and manufacturing custom pillow and cushioncovers with elaborate themes. Stick with standard sizes or custom,made-to-order designs for this side of the business.

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Arts & Crafts

Lamp Shades

Create unique lampshades and watch customers’ faces shine.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

  • Startup Costs: Under $2,000
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Are you searching to start a part-time business that has virtually no competition? If the answer is yes, then consider starting a business that manufactures and markets custom-made lampshades.

The key to success in this very unusual manufacturing business is to ensure you create really unique lampshades, not only in appearance and design but also in your choice of raw materials used in the construction.

Market the lampshades by contacting local interior decorators and setting appointments with them to introduce them to your unique product. Additionally, aim to sell the lampshades to retailers on a wholesale basis or place the lampshades into retail stores on a consignment basis.

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Arts & Crafts

Portrait Photography

Capture your clients’ perfect poses as a portrait photographer.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

  • Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Calling all hobby photographers! Why not profit from your skills bystarting a portrait photography service? As with pet photography, youcan work at it full-time or part-time and operate the service on amobile basis by going to your client’s home, office, or business, orfrom a homebased studio requiring clients to come to you.

Also, likepet photography, you can easily increase profits by simply offering toplace images on a wide variety of products including greeting cards,calendars, mugs, and T-shirts. Photo greeting cards and calendars areespecially popular. Promote the business by utilizing print media suchas fliers, newspaper ads, and Yellow Pages advertisements, as well asby working with local retailers who will allow you to set up a weekendportrait studio in their location on a revenue-splitting basis.

The Market

Families, schools and don’t overlook potential clients at sports clubs,charity organizations, social clubs, and corporations, as most puttogether an annual yearbook featuring photographs of employees,members, and volunteers.

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