Business: Selling Tumble Weeds
Like many a person who found their way online in the ’90s, Linda Katz is a Web entrepreneur. The thing is, she joined the ranks by accident. Back in 1994, Linda was teaching herself how to build a Web site. As a joke, she assembled the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm page. To Linda’s surprise, people began ordering tumble weeds — that’s right, giant, dried-out dead bushes.
The Prairie Tumbleweed Farm web page hasn’t changed much since 1994, and it shows. But there is something charming about the extremely basic page that should have died more than 10 years ago as the joke of an HTML novice.
$15 for a small tumbleweed, $20 for a medium, and $25 for a large have let the likes of Barney the Purple Dinosaur, Johnny Depp’s ‘Neverland,’ and even NASA help this accidental business woman, as they have all needed her wares for props. Linda won’t divulge how much she makes, but she says her site makes more than $40,000 a year
Source:Woman Finds Accidental Success Selling Tumbleweeds Online by Terrence O’Brien Nov 27th 2007 at 1:45PM: http://www.switched.com/2007/11/27/woman-finds-accidental-success-selling-tumbleweeds-online
andrew.spriegel’s blog comment:To order organic tumbleweeds from Linda Katz go to http://www.prairietumbleweedfarm.com/
Business: Rock on Trucks
andrew.spriegel’s blog comment:This is a story about a woman that used her prior work experience and expertise to start a business that took off.
Krystal Vierkant was the office manager of a trucking company some years back when she overheard one rock-hauling trucker ask another via CB radio, “What kind of rocks you got?” There was something about the sound of that line that she liked. In 2001, when a buddy urged her to buy a repossessed semi and trailer and hire him as the driver, she named her fledgling operation Rock On Trucks.
She had purchased the semi solely to earn extra income to replace the $4 an hour she lost by moving from a trucking-company job in Rogers to a teller position at a St. Cloud bank, which was closer to home.(emphasis added) She had no intention of expanding her business. But as other independent owner-operators saw that Vierkant was skilled at landing business and maximizing load capacity, they asked her to find loads for them, too. By the end of 2001, she was finding business for six drivers; a year later, that number was up to 28. Drivers were either using their own trailers or renting them from Rock On.
Nineteen months after buying the semi, she was still working full time at the bank while struggling to stay on top of her growing business. “I did billing at night and called customers during my lunch break,” Vierkant recalls. “I was draining myself, so I made the leap to run my business full time.”
Source: December 2007 | by Phil Bolsta, Read the entire article at: http://www.tcbmag.com/superstars/superstars/90172p1.aspx
andrew.spriegel’s blog comment: To order rock or aggregate from Krystal Vierkant go to http://www.rockontrucks.com
Business: Making Note Cards out of the Pictures You Take
Pine Needle Card Company, Leveraging NH’s natural and business resources
by Frank and Leslie Grima, Pine Needle Card Company, Franconia, NH
My wife Leslie and I believe that capturing a moment in time and spending some quality time in the great outdoors is an excellent way to keep healthy and in our case, to earn a living. It only seemed natural to us to try our hand at making note cards out of the pictures we had taken. So, Pine Needle Card Company was born in November 2003. With over 80 retail stores now selling our note cards, we are pretty busy around here these days. However, Leslie and I always take some time during each day to “stop and smell the roses”.
We are the owners and photographers for Pine Needle Card Company here in Franconia, NH. Living in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, nature’s splendor and beauty surrounds us. There is so much to do and see in this beautiful area or Northern New England. It doesn’t matter what tickles your fancy, walking, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, all these things are common place and quite doable here. The natural majestic beauty of the Presidential Mountain ranges will make any photo enthusiast giddy with delight. There is so much to see and experience if you take the time to relax and get in touch with nature.
That being said, my wife Leslie just loves to photograph and an excellent photographer, she is. She started photographing nature years ago and she is the main photographer for our note cards at Pine Needle Cards. I started photographing a short time ago in comparison to her. I truly love to get out and spend some time exploring new places and capturing some of nature’s best with her. It doesn’t matter where we go, Baxter State Park in Maine, Wells Beach, ME, or just outside our door yard in Franconia, New England is beautiful.
Anyone around the World can see our note cards and order some if they’d like on our website at www.pineneedlecards.com.
As you can see in the photos, the subject matter is diverse and we only put the best of the best pictures in note card form. All of our note cards are blank inside as to facilitate one’s own interpretation of the picture when sending it to a loved one or friend. Travelers to our area and World Wide Web enthusiasts just love the pictures and much to our delight, they can’t seem to get enough Pine Needle Cards.
Our cards are sold in over 80 retail stores. Now it wasn’t easy getting our Pine Needle Note Cards in all these stores, it took some work. (emphasis added) We hooked up with and joined http://www.nhmade.com which is a group of folks who make NH products that bear the NH MADE LOGO. We are very proud of the fact that our note cards are printed on NH paper by a NH printer. These folks at NH MADE were a valuable resource to us at Pine Needle Cards. The integrated network of NH Craftsmen and NH Artisans was an ideal market for our cards to be introduced to…after all, who wouldn’t want to send a nice note card in a gift basket or to someone you love whom you’ve bought a excellently made NH craft? I should also mention that NH Made has two Retail outlet stores on I-95 North and South in Hampton, NH right next to the State Liquor Stores in a main corridor used by millions of folks each year on their way to and from the beautiful State of Maine. The uniting of our businesses seemed destined.
There are other organizations that we looked into and joined such as WREN. The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network which has a retail store where our cards are sold and a huge network of valuable resources for other entrepreneurs who love working for themselves and have a zest for running a business in the North Country.
These resources are in every community and prove valuable to folks just starting a business as well as folks who may be running a more established business. Many of these type of organizations provide an excellent venue for key Courses and “think tanks” for making your business a success.
One key point to make is the fact that all of these resources seem to have done lots of your “homework” for you, already. We were able to do press releases and public announcements for free with the click of a button. All the resources were at our fingertips and ready for us to use and use them, we did. Press releases announcing new products or business’s are very welcomed in most newspapers and trade magazines. (emphasis added) Use the tools you have… as my Mother used to say, “given lemons? Make lemonade..” !
We encourage everyone with a love of nature and a zest for the best Mother Nature offers to get out and take a hike, walk, bike, fish, canoe, and spend some time to… as our motto says, “…live, love, and celebrate life…”
Frank and Leslie Grima
“.. live, love, and celebrate life…”
Pine Needle Card Company
112 Coal Hill Road
Franconia, NH 03580
603-823-5907 – Office
603-616-5668 – Cell
andrew.spriegel’s blog comment: Order their beautiful cards at: www.pineneedlecards.com
Business: A Virtual Assistant
Small Business Success Story – Clerical Advantage, Sunday, February 15 2009 by Denise O’Berry
Tina Hilton is a survivor of the real estate melt down. In 2007 she was working for a local title company as a title processor. When the real estate market plummeted, the doors slammed shut on the company she was working for. At that time, the industry was falling fast and Tina’s job prospects were slim.
Luckily the Maine Department of Labor had a suggestion for her. Tina recalls, “I received a notice from them pretty much saying ‘So sorry you’re not going to find a job, but we might have an idea.’ They said that if I had an idea for starting my own business they had a program to help. They would continue to pay my unemployment benefits while I worked on getting my new business up and running. The notice came just days after I’d done research on virtual assistance, something that I felt would allow me to use my experience, background, training and love of computer technology. And that’s how my virtual assistance business, Clerical Advantage, was born.”
Source: Read the entire article at: http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/company-structures-ownership/11783175-1.html
andrew.spriegel’s blog comment: Contact Tina Hilton at: http://clericaladvantage.com if you require a virtual assistant.