The following reproduction of an Australian two inch display ad and a circular from England indicate that there is a world wide interest in good luck charms or anything to do with luck, good or bad.
Many American firms have been making money selling such charms by mail, and usually from small display ads inserted in newspapers coast to coast. The fact that several of them have been appearing regularly for years shows that the interest is as great here at home as it is abroad. One ad has been running in all the nation's papers since 1937! Must pay.
All that is necessary to start such an enterprise is to import some sort of stone that has a "history". That is, a legend built up over the years to the effect that said stone or loadstone, has some supposed attraction for good luck. Naturally you cannot claim in your ads that such charms will absolutely bring good luck. You can only quote what history or legend is supposed to have claimed for such charms and you must state that you do not make any such claims yourself. I believe there is a similar ad now appearing in the papers that "Guarantees Luck", but it would be best to study all such advertisements, particularly the old-timers, and see how they word their claims. Their ad-copy must be right or they wouldn't have been running their ads for so many years!
It is an odd business but the possibilities seem to be promising because there is always the opportunity to sell your customers many, many additional booklets, lucky rings, odd shaped charms, lucky tokens, etc. There are scores of them and if a person believes in this sort of thing he is apt to buy a great many of them in order to have super, super luck!
Incidentally, the Australian dealer claimed to have made $75 a week selling direct from this ad. Less than one in 400 asked for a refund. At about intervals of three months after the initial order is received, he circularized the buyers, offering other lucky charms or luck bringers, using a different firm name each time. The response to these follow-up circulars was supposed to be amazing. He claimed that his day's work was finished in an hour or two!
It is said that there are millions of rabbit's paws floating around. Up until 1931 nobody could find a use for them. At that time a brief vogue for putting the things on ladies' hats took place. A Mr. Brown stocked up on the paws a bit too extensively and ended up with 25,000 when the fad was over. He remembered that they were supposed to bring good luck, so he sold them as good luck charms. In 1938 he sold 300,000 at 3½¢ a piece and it is said that he later sold two million of them to a large canvassing firm.
The same idea could be revived once again today, in my sincere opinion, with a little thinking and enterprise. How about selling "The World's Luckiest" surprise box! Here you could offer a mystery box containing, let us say, around 50 DIFFERENT lucky pieces. Every lucky charm, lucky piece, luck bringer, luck token, etc. that can be located today! It folks love this sort of thing, why not give them a run for their money! Why, one could offer them 50 such items for a couple of dollars while the competition is selling just one luck bringer for a buck! You could pick out, say, a luck charm from every country in the world. Many of them possibly could be located right here in this country, or a reasonable facsimile. You'd have to study the history of each so-called luck charm, and the fairy tale surrounding it, so you'd be able to give these interesting tales in your literature or ads. #365-368
U.S.A. . . . . TRUCK DRIVER AGENTS
A Chicago firm, selling cleaners and disinfectants to the farmer, makes use of the many local milk trucks and their drivers. Milk is the number one cash crop of the farm. Nearly all farmers keep cows and ship milk to dairy processing plants by means of local truckers. This company gives these drivers a supply of literature and samples and lets the truck drivers distribute the stuff for them. Some of the drivers go a step further and act as agents for the company, taking orders and earning commissions. #369
Jewelry made from foreign coins seems to be making a comeback. This ties in nicely with the story about foreign coins which you have already read. One disabled vet is making earrings and other types of jewelry out of French coins. He also makes bracelets, belts and necklaces.
Requests for other kinds of jewelry are also pouring in, claims this chap. Today he has correspondents in many countries keeping him well supplied with the right kind of foreign coins. Several local jewelry stores are buying his creations. A spare time business for this man…perhaps a full time deal for someone else. #399-A
U.S.A. . . . . ROVING ENTERPRISE
A "Sea-Going Diner" is the answer to the wants if this class of folks and provides soft drinks, coffee, ice cream and hot dogs. Bathers or fishermen in certain waters aren't surprised when a slick cruiser draws alongside with a musical horn-toot. This floating "hotdog" will provide "float-alongside" service to anyone desiring it and who will signal the boat with a wave of the arm.
The new enterprise pays no rent and no local taxes. This applies to the New York waters where this cruising oasis covers a dozen harbors, refueling many a dry fisherman. Inland lake waters might have local taxes covering them.
Business has been so good that this man launched six 20-footers. Look over that little lake or chain of lakes near your community. There might be possibilities for a summer-time "business and pleasure" project that will make someone, maybe you, a small fortune if successful. #282
U.S.A. . . . . ARTICHOKE FLORIST
One young lady clips the flowers off of her father's artichoke plants and sells them from a roadside stand. Passing tourists buy the odd blossoms out of curiosity…Something to show their friends and neighbors.
Each blossom is fairly large and resembles a large blue thistle. The leaves are of an olive green color. All in all, the plant is attractive and there is something about it that makes people ask what it is, admire it, and want to buy it. At least that was the experience of this pretty girl when she first decorated her father's produce stand with the artichoke flowers.
When she saw how the customers wanted to buy some of the blossoms she decided to do something about it and it wasn't long before her stand had piles of the blossoms on hand for sale. Her profit amounted to $5 to $10 each day and the total for the year amounted to almost $500. Pretty good from a waste product that all farmers throwaway. Thousands of farmers raise artichokes and other flowering shrubs. #283
I'll cover the new facts briefly. Kokichi Mikimoto annoys oysters in order to make a profit. His strange enterprise was started in Japan many years before the war and consisted of the raising of cultured pearls in special controlled beds in the ocean just off shore. The process is simply the implanting of an irritant in a baby oyster. Over a period of time the oyster tries to overcome this irritating factor by coating it will layers of nacre, and thus a pearl is formed. Few amateurs can distinguish cultured pearls from the natural ones. Jewelers place a high value on cultured pearls although not as high, naturally, as on natural pearls.
His success was immense and over a period of time he was able to take over the whole Ago Bay and also construct a plant there. Just before the war he was shipping to this country an odd "canned" variety of oyster, guaranteeing a pearl in every oyster. I ordered a can and had the thrill of actually prying open an oyster and finding a pearl therein! The pearl has little, if any, value, but there was always the chance that one might find a pearl of considerable value.
The canned pearls sold for around $3.00 a can and were used by some theaters down south as bank-night premiums and many hotels and businesses used them in certain promotion stunts or as a means with which to entertain their guests or customers.
At one time small metal images of Buddha were used as the irritating object to be placed in the oyster, the result, after several years…a pearl-covered Buddha! #284-285
With a supreme confidence in himself, Sam decided to take the chance, to see if there was anything to this fantastic rumor. After many days of travel, he herded his burro into the first Jivaro town. Why these Jivaro natives didn't kill him right off or during his long stay with them, he'll never know. Perhaps they were so surprised to see a lone white man walk casually into their town that they decided to see what he wanted and what he was like, to let him stay alive!
It wasn't long before Sam found out that the tale about gold was true! He found great quantities of gold in the nearby rivers. He came out of the jungle, bought himself a better outfit and came back to settle down for good. The years have gone by and Sam is now 84. Today he has a farm in the jungle covering thousands of hectares (2½ acres to the hectare). 144 natives live on the land and work for him. He grows all of his own food, including every type of tropical fruit from the naranjilla to breadfruit. He has been able to grow rice, coffee, tea, vanilla. He has a large stand of balsa which was in great demand during the war as it is used in life rafts and preservers. He can still go to certain streams and pan about $11 worth of gold in an afternoon! His home is made of bamboo. Servants wait on him hand and foot. In fact, during his first years there he actually had a small harem as is the custom of many white men in off-the-beaten track places. He's too old for that sort of thing now, but he can certainly look back on an unusual and interesting life, to say the least!
Sam claims to be one of the most contented and happy men in the whole world!
Nevertheless, my readers should remember that his case is most exceptional and I would not recommend that anyone should try to duplicate his experiences, especially in or near the Jivaro territory. The natives are still wild and uncontrolled by the state.
Other areas in Ecuador are being offered free to the settler and are comparatively safe. In fact, Ecuador's new law sets aside a tract of 50,000 hectares in the rich Santo Domingo de los Colorados area on the western slopes of the Andes for the EXCLUSIVE use of American and British citizens. Even natives and Europeans are barred from this section. Soil experts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture claim that the land is comparable to the richest land in the world, or Java!
U.S.A. . . . . ODD
These freaks and curios make up a most unusual collection and you may be sure that many more people stop at his service station than would ordinarily stop if he were just offering gasoline alone! I'm not inferring that one should go out and hire a collection of freaks in order to attract trade, but I'm sure you have the general idea of what I am getting at. Ralph happened to have an interest in such freaks, had been forming a collection as a hobby for years. He simply made his hobby a part of his business.
While I'm on the subject of service stations, I must mention the station in Ohio that prominently displays a sign telling the customer "If we fail to Clean Your Windshield, your gas purchase is FREE!" The sign is large, it attracts attention and is more of an advertisement or a form of showmanship than anything else, because the service is always good at this gas station!
While I'm on the subject, I'll also mention the station that has purchased a small ferris wheel for children. The wheel makes a big hit with the children, who talk their parents into stopping there! The owner of the station also capitalizes on the advertising space afforded him by the ferris wheel passenger compartments. #312-314
At the same time I received information that indicated that, in San Francisco, a similar new and unique system has been tested out. This report claims that the service may eventually revolutionize shopping habits for the American housewives. The American plan carries the Cuban plan a step further and works in this manner. Large supply trucks from the enterprise or store working the plan will go out to strategic locations throughout the city, and act as field headquarters for perambulating salesclerks loaded with baskets of goods. If the clerk can't fill the order, he "walkie-talkies" the truck. If the truck can't fill it, the store is radioed and special delivery is made by motorcycle. Fast service is their aim!
No doubt the fact that each salesman is wearing a "walkie-talkie" (probably Army surplus) would get the immediate attention of the housewife and would probably open the door, so to speak, for the canvasser!
Here is a system to supplement your retail trade in your store, if you are now operating a retail establishment. Here is a way to double your sales, a way to reach the folks who will not come to you. And here is a plan that could be worked into many other types of enterprises, now in operation or being contemplated. You may get a better or different sort of idea from this story! #336-337
U.S.A. . . . . POST PADS
He secured a large quantity of old discarded felt hats and other discarded apparel or objects made out of felt. He cut this felt into pads, dipped the pads in old discarded engine oil. This to make the pads more effective in preventing corrosion. Two of the pads were then packaged in cellophane envelopes and retailed at 25¢. A clever postcard was created which described the item and these were mailed to motorists. A sample package of TRI SODIUM PHOSPHATE, with directions about how this simple powder, when mixed with water, will clean the upholstery in the car; clean the windshield and other glass; also an excellent flush for the radiator, was offered free of extra charge. Later on a larger size package was offered to the regular customers. Also other items of interest to motorists were featured in follow-up literature that went to the customer names. #338
U.S.A. . . . . BARTER BUSINESS
So in the long run the average little shopkeeper just forgets about the small due accounts. Individually they don't amount to much, but collectively they really amount to a fair size total over a year's time. Perhaps some of the customers didn't mean to neglect paying up their bills, but things happened, some of them moved away and forgot all about the bills, other just kept putting them off, etc. Probably all that any of them need is a little prompting by letter.
A good series of collection letters will probably collect 75% of these due accounts. As a beginner you can afford to set your collection fee at only 25% of the total collected. And here is where we inject a new method. Instead of asking to be paid in cash, you offer to accept your fees in "trade". If you are collecting for a grocery, you'll take groceries, if it's a druggist, you'll accept his merchandise, if it's a furniture store, you'll accept furniture, if it's a beauty parlor you'll accept credit slips for your wife…and so on. With the high cost of living nowadays you'll probably welcome the material things even more than cash. And at the same time you'll really be giving the small businessman a break. You see, the merchandise itself will cost the storekeeper less than the amount he would pay out if the fee were to be paid in cash.
Therefore, even though you ask for 25% the merchant will actually only be paying around 15% and that is an extremely low fee for collections. A most attractive offer to any "little fellow". An offer like that could act as a stepping stone to a bigger and better collection business in the future when you could accept a number of these "trade" accounts and also a number of "cash" accounts. This could be a spare time proposition at the start. See if this idea can be worked in with some of the ideas outlined in story #399.
Because living costs were going up and his profits weren't keeping pace, another man, a printer, decided to "take it out in trade". He approached a neighborhood grocer, offered to print a weekly circular for him in exchange for some meat and groceries. Then he contacted a dairy with a similar proposition. Then came a coal dealer, an architect, a landscape gardener, automobile repair garage, gasoline stations, two dentists, furniture store, a painter, a doctor, a diaper laundry service, etc. This printer has had his lawn mower sharpened, had an automatic hot water heater installed, a driveway laid, secured gravel and cement, flagstone rock, outdoor furniture…all with printing!
Practically every tradesman that he approached was glad to swap for printing…they all needed his service, every businessman can use some sort of printing service, you know.
Printing for two coal dealers brought in enough coal for the whole winter. When the baby arrived he was able to exchange printing for all services. In fact the doctor needed a great deal of printing such as form letters, envelopes, invoices, etc. for the purpose of collecting many of his bills.
The diaper laundry man came around himself for a personal chat, he was that anxious to make a swap for printing.
All of this took place during the depression inflation of the 30's and worked extremely well for this family and their basement printing shop. The printer head of the family is now considering the possibility of having to try to switch from a present cash basis to the bartering method again…that is, if prices keep going up! He thinks it'll work again. Both sides profit because each gives the other his merchandise or services at cost, or near cost.
If you are planning on starting a "service" type of project, consider the possibilities of the bartering system. A "service" has an intangible value and you will have a slight advantage when bartering with business men who are offering merchandise. If such a service enterprise could secure all of its necessities by this manner, any other business they may do will be clear profit that can be put in the savings account! The high cost of living won't eat up everything you make, if you follow this plan! #339-340
This company has its drivers hand out numbered receipts when the customer pays his fare. Drawings take place every week and if you are the lucky one, you'll win several thousand pesos. This company's motto is "Every Cab a Monte Carlo".
U.S.A. . . . . MAIL ORDER
She is a shut-in so the production end of the business is ideal for her needs. Most of the orders come by mail as she keeps up quite a correspondence with a large group of pen pals. Her spare time idea might be turned into a fine full time business that can be worked from the home. The stationery could be sold through agents secured by newspaper advertising and also by mail.
A Mrs. Yates living in a small New Hampshire town, creates a similar unique stationery. She also appeals to the children by making tiny pieces of stationery decorated with cut-out cloth animals. She fashions some of the children's stationery after the nursery rhyme figures.
Both ladies paste these cloth flowers and designs directly on to the stationery and then draw the stems to the flowers, or other necessary lines, with green ink and a drawing pen. #446-447
You'll also be able to fit the following tip into another story to be found on another page. It comes from Antwerp, Belgium. This dealer tells me that he has started an odd enterprise over there and that it is a tremendous business at this time. It is the embedding of a lock of hair taken from the just born child or the just deceased person into a clear plastic medallion. This can be hung on the wall, worn by the owner, put near a photograph or treasured in a secret place. Sounds like an ideal mail-order business. #399-B
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.