Every successful business strives to meet the needs of its customers by having weird creations, but there are some ventures out there with an extremely unique need they’re aiming to fulfill. From retro arcade games, to innovative socks, to customised romance novels, these are a few businesses so strange you’ll doubt their existence.
1. Prank Scented Candles
These days, scented candles are more popular than ever, which makes them the perfect disguise for a great prank. Brothers Tyler and Mark Ward were evidently inspired by this idea when they founded their business, WTF Prank candles. These great products start off smelling like pine or apple pie, but soon enough give way to the repugnant stench of a skunk or worse. With their convincingly innocent packaging, the person being pranked will have no idea until it’s too late!
2. Shopping Roulette
Ever had the urge to buy something with absolutely no bearing on what that something is? Evidently some people do. Something Store does what it says on the tin, allowing its customers to buy a brand new something for $10. Since being established in 2007, this company has sold people rare books, party games, handmade necklaces, reverse clocks, boxes of gourmet chocolates, portable table tennis sets, and pashmina scarfs, among other things.
3. Sock Triplets
This is a business idea aimed at the massive demographic of people who live in constant fear of having an incomplete pair of socks, and probably have to segregate their Skittles before they can bring themselves to eat them. Throx takes care of this problem by selling socks in threes rather than pairs, so you can sleep untroubled knowing that if you lose one, you’ll have a backup.
4. Custom Romance Novels
I think I had something like this when I was a kid, except I got to ride on Santa’s sleigh instead of the wayward daughter of a tyrannical business tycoon. YourNovel.com lets you insert any couple into dozens of original romance books, each with their own theme and exotic location. The starring couple simply enters a few details about themselves, along with a photo if they want, and soon enough their own personal fantasy is professionally printed and on their doorstep.
5. Mobile Wedding Chapel
If you’ve met your seventh or eighth soul mate but don’t have the money for the beautiful day they deserve, then The Wedding Wagon may be able to help you out. This unique idea was founded (surprisingly) in Las Vegas, and provides a perfectly valid wedding service out of the back of a van for the nominal fee of $129.
6. Outsourced Online Dating
These days, more and more people are turning to online dating, but if you’re too busy to sort through all these profiles yourself, you may want to outsource the task to Virtual Dating Assistants. This firm’s experienced “dating experts” handle every part of the process so you don’t have to, all the way from choosing which dates would suit you best to organising the first in-person meeting. Just go for a short interview with one of these experts, show them some pictures, and after that it’s entirely in their hands.
7. Sofas for Slobs
Do you have a cat who never really took to their litter tray, or a toddler who’s prone to throwing up whenever he sees something funny enough on TV? Well you’ll be happy to know that there’s a business out there founded for people just like you. Slobproof is a furniture and design company based in Maryland, which makes custom armchairs, sofas and ottomans with an upholstering specially designed to withstand spills without staining.
8. The Time Travelling Games Developer
This one’s for all of you who held the high score on your local Ms Pac-Man for years on end, but can’t figure out how beat up a single meth-addled biker on Grand Theft Auto. Dream Arcades is a California-based business, specialised in recreating discontinued arcade games which still totally hold up, no matter what your kids say. They deliver ready-made machines and DIY kits, and have even delivered to an American research facility in Antarctica.
9. The Company Formerly Known as Sympathy Food
If you know someone who’s recently lost a loved one, your first reaction is probably to send them some flowers. Sure, they look pretty, but you may just end up giving the bereaved yet another vase they need to worry about keeping topped up. David Stroke, a former funeral director, was probably thinking along these lines when he created MealGifts, which used to go under the name Sympathy Food, and now delivers soothing meals to grieving families all over the US.
10. The Smashing Place
If you’ve ever intentionally smashed a glass or a plate while angry, you know how incredibly stress relieving it can be. Entrepreneur Kutsaya Hara evidently smelled a niche here, and set up The Smashing Place in Tokyo. This allows customers to buy an inexpensive cup or plate of their choice, then smash it against a concrete wall, sparing their boss’s skull. I’m astounded that something like this hasn’t taken off in New York.
Hopefully we haven’t destroyed your dreams of pioneering an exciting new industry by pointing out any of these unusual ventures. If you think we’ve missed something that deserves to be on this list, why not mention it in the comments below?