Is Technology Blurring the Line Between Idiot and Ingenious?
It’s a brand that generates over $1 million in revenue. It often works without any electricity. Its employees are regularly seen rushing to collect their…
It’s a brand that generates over $1 million in revenue. It often works without any electricity. Its employees are regularly seen rushing to collect their goods by foot or on battered motorcycles. The floor of its homebase cannot even be seen for all the hair that lines it.
No, it’s not because they don’t like to clean — for Arjuni, hair is their business. And, like many of the new ventures constantly sprouting up, the e-commerce site that sells hair extensions is harnessing the latest Internet tools like Twitter and social media to build a loyal customer base.
Customers are encouraged to describe their orders on home videos that they upload on YouTube, with segments on topics like hair design, delivery, and grooming. Clients are also encouraged to send in pictures of starlets they want to emulate, like Catherine Zeta-Jones or Beyoncé. And Arjuni also floods Facebook with testimonials and promotions.
By dealing directly with customers, Arjuni eliminates the added cost of working through another retailer or site. And when extensions can cost thousands of dollars, every dollar makes a difference.
So while most people are wondering, “All this for hair?”, Arjuni’s profits are steadily growing. As are the profits of a number of other bizarre but seemingly obvious startups like Picky Domains, which for a small fee will constantly suggest domain names for your website until you find one you like. Ridiculously simple — but it’s worth $5 million.
Another cool $3 million is being raked in by SantaMail, where someone gets a postal address somewhere around the North Pole or Alaska, pretends to be a Santa Claus himself, and charges parents $10 for every letter he sends to their kids. Yes, it’s for real. As real as the $2 million a year DoodyCalls, which cleans up after your pets, or Doggles, which provides premium eyewear for your dog.
Moral of the story: with the advent of Kickstarter, the prevalence of social media, and the incredible spread of crowdsourcing , there is no idea too small or too ridiculous. All you need is a little bit of faith and the relentless charm of a used car salesman.