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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

Ice Sculpture Classes

It’s very posh to see bars made of ice. If you have the skills, it’s never been hotter to be surrounded by ice.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

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

Business Overview

Who would possibly want to learn how to makeice sculptures? The answer is thousands of chefs and caterers.

Providing you have the skills and abilities to produce ice sculpturesand can teach other people, then you have overcome the first hurdle inestablishing a new business venture that teaches students how to makeice sculptures.

Ice sculpture classes are best suited to being marketeddirectly to restaurant and catering company owners by arranging apresentation appointment to display and demonstrate your service. Thebusiness does not require an operating location, as you can travel toyour client’s business location and teach the ice sculpting classeson-site.

This is an inexpensive business to establish and there shouldbe no problems charging clients $40 to $50 per hour for the classes.

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Arts & Crafts

Junkyard Sculptures

Turn trash into treasure with your artistic skills.

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

There are two ways to make money in a junkyard sculpture business.

The first, create and sell art sculptures made from junkyard items.

The second, supply art schools and artists with interesting junkyard items. In both instances a little bit of innovation can make you a lot of money.

When my wife and I were first married, like most newlyweds money was tight. Out of 50 percent inspiration and 50 percent desperation my wife decided to try and remedy the situation by creating a part-time income to supplement our family income. Her choice was to go to auto recycling yards and purchase old car springs for about 25 cents apiece. Once home she sanded and painted the springs lively colors and placed silk flower arrangements inside.

The recycled car springs became known as “Spring’s Springs.” She sold “Spring’s Springs” to gift shops, garden centers, and interior designers on a wholesale basis, and it didn’t take long until it became a full-time and very profitable venture. There are a great deal of business opportunities available or that can be created.

Sometimes, it just requires us to open our minds to imaginative ideas.

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Arts & Crafts

Bookbinding and Repairs

Don’t be bound to just one job–try bookbinding and repairs for another source of income.

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

Working right from home you can bind books in small quantities andrepair antique books. Bookbinding equipment is very inexpensive topurchase and there are even construction plans available that willenable you to build your own bookbinding equipment.

Marketing theservice can be as easy as establishing alliances with secondhand bookretailers and book collector clubs. Likewise the ability to bind andrepair books can also pay off in terms of finding valuable collectorsbooks yourself, carrying out any needed repairs, and selling the booksfor a profit.

The Market

You’ll find steady work by establishing a working relationship with local secondhand book retailers and book collector clubs.

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