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Vietnam’s Bikini Airline Proves Unsurprisingly Profitable

VietJet Air, Vietnam’s only privately-owned airlines, has worked up quite a stir in the aviation industry with its young, attractive, bikini-clad flight attendants. Female VietJet employees don colorful bikinis and even put up an inflight performance for their customers, mostly during inaugural flights to beach locations. The marketing gimmick has earned the company huge profits, and plenty of criticism to boot.

These ‘bikini performances’ are not a standard practice on all flights – they’re more like a featured bonus on certain routes. One of the earliest shows was staged on a 2012 flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal city of Nha Trang. As reported by ABC News, “Clad in vaporous string bikini tops and sarongs that flaunted the company colors of red and yellow, young, beautiful women filed down the plane’s aisles for a bikini show.”

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New Startup Lets You Buy Shares of a Cow Before It’s Slaughtered

Seattle-based startup Crowd Cow has introduced crowdfunding to the meat industry in a bid to promote the idea of sustainably raised meat. Through Crowd Cow, customers get to place their orders on specific cuts of a cow in the exact quantities they need. The cow is finally slaughtered only when it has ‘tipped’, which means that at least 67 percent of it has been claimed online. It sounds rather brutal to be placing bids on parts of a live cow, but according to co-founders Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry, this system actually promotes responsible and sustainable meat harvesting.

The duo hit upon the idea for the startup when they realised that the average grocery buyer has no real idea of the origins of store-bought packaged meat. “People want to know where their meat comes from and how it’s raised and they want to explore it like wine,” Heitzeberg said. “There’s genetics, how it’s raised, all these aspects. Beef is a complex thing, it’s the centerpiece of the meal and people want to buy local.” But if they were to purchase grass-fed beef from a ranch instead, most people would have to get large quantities of meat that would be very difficult to store.

Heitzeberg and Lowry, both seasoned entrepreneurs, realised that they could use their experience and knowledge of crowdfunding to solve this problem. By having 50 or more people contribute to the purchase of one cow, everyone could have access to high-quality meat at an affordable price. So they set up Crowd Cow, a startup that purchases a head of cattle from independent ranches across Washington. The cows are made available on the website one at a time, and customers are invited to place claims to various shares.

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Posh Interior Design Shop Paints Simple Logs, Sells Them for $14 Apiece

When Sally Bourne Interiors, a posh shop in Muswell Hill, London, decided to paint a few firewood logs for their Christmas window display, they had no idea they were actually creating the latest decor trend that would sell out in just a few days’ time. Believe it or not, they ended up selling about 60 logs of painted wood at £10 ($14) apiece!

“They were used as a window display over the Christmas period, but then we got lots of people asking if they could buy them when that finished,” the store manager said. “We didn’t want to throw them away so we decided to sell them as people thought they could make stools and side tables out of them. We had about 50 or 60 logs in total and most of them were the large ones, which were a good 50cm circumference.”

The logs were apparently sold out last Thursday, with the last one going at a whopping £30 ($40).

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Vitality Air – A Startup Selling Canned Canadian Fresh Air

A couple of Canadian entrepreneurs are capitalising on the lack of fresh, clean air in polluted cities by shipping out some of theirs. They’ve come up with a way to can fresh air from the Canadian Rocky Mountains and are now selling it all over the world under the brand ‘Vitality Air’.

“Essentially, we’re selling air,” said Troy Paquette, one of the co-founders, adding that the idea originated as a joke during a random discussion with his friend Moses Lam. They were discussing pollution when they thought it would be neat if they could just send some of their own fresh air to people who didn’t have any. And then they decided to do just that.

The first prototype was a Ziploc bag filled with Banff air, which sold on eBay for 99 cents. So they made a second bag and started a bidding war, and it went for a whopping $168. Inspired by their success, Paquette, 37, and Lam, 30, created a legitimate business in 2014. They started packaging air from the Rockies in canisters of various sizes, priced between $15 and $46. The $15 can contains about 150 inhalations worth of air.

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The Breakup Shop – A Service That Will End a Relationship for You

Breaking up with someone is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, but, luckily, you can now outsource it to an online company called ‘The Breakup Shop’.

The shop lets you choose from a variety of methods, depending on how much you think the breakup is worth. An email or text breakup will cost you $10, a letter $20, and a phone call will set you back by $29. The full Breakup Gift Pack starting at $80 comes with all the trimmings to help your ex cope with heartbreak – cookies, Netflix gift card, and depending on their tastes, a copy of a weepy romantic film like The Notebook or a video game like Call of Duty. You can also include two wine glasses and a handcrafted sympathy letter.

“The Breakup Gift Pack box can also be repurposed as a memory oven” the website states. “Empty the box and stuff it full of your ex’s photos, jewelry, underwear, or whatever and set it ablaze.”

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The Story of Liquid Ass – How Two Guys Got Rich by Making Things Smell Like Crap

Meet Alan Whitman and Andrew Masters – the guys who refused to grow up but got rich anyway. They’ve made a killing out of marketing a one-of-a-kind spray called ‘Liquid Ass’, which makes anything smell as bad as it sounds!

The product was born several years ago when Whitman was in high school – his parents had gifted him a chemistry kit and he used the ingredients to invent a smell that had a whiff of “butt crack, kind of sewer smell, with a little hint of dead animal in there.” He used it to play a prank on an English teacher he wasn’t very fond of, and that’s when he realised that what he had on his hands was a real weapon.

But the concoction wasn’t useful to him until about 10 years ago, when he was about to get fired from a truck manufacturing company. Things got pretty bad between him and the management, so along with his friend Masters, he decided it was time to bring out his trusty old weapon again.

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Van Girls – London’s All-Female Moving Company

The Van Girls are London’s first and only all-female packing and moving service – mostly hired by women, but sometimes men as well. “Guys who hire us kind of think it’s quite novel… and are really surprised by how strong we are,” said founder Emma Lanman.

Lanman started Van Girls in 2011, when she quit her job at the fire brigade and decided to start a business of her own. She’d seen people get excited about female firefighters, and realised it was something of a novelty for a woman to be seen doing a ‘man’s job’. She also figured that lots of women might feel safer hiring an all-female moving service.

“I thought it might actually be a valuable service,” she said. And Lanman was right – it turns out that plenty of women who live alone or don’t live with men are a lot more comfortable hiring the Van Girls – not just for safety reasons but for that feminine touch! Like 68-year-old Jean Hewitson, who moved down the street with her daughter and granddaughter last year. “We’re an all-female household,” she explained. “I thought, yes I want women packing up my house. I thought they’d be more sympathetic to my belongings really, and I’d get on with them better.”

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New Service Allows NYC Millennials in Need of Motherly Advice to Rent a Mom

Once they reach a certain age, lots of women find motherhood exhausting, but not Brooklyn-based Nina Keneally. The 63-year-old still has lots of ‘mothering skills’ that she’s actually more than happy to rent  out through a unique service called ‘NeedAMom’.  Her motto is “When you need a mom… Just not YOUR mom.”

A former theatrical producer and drug-rehab counselor from Connecticut, Nina now spends all her time using her motherhood experience and her associate degree in counselling to help millennials in New York. For $40 an hour plus expenses, Nina will listen to all your problems, offer advice (free from ‘I told you so’), help you plan and shop for a dinner party, sew your buttons back on, bake you a cake, and do all sorts of other things a real mother might do. She’ll even buy and wrap a present for your actual mother.

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Man Claims He Made $15 Million Fortune by Retrieving Lost Golf Balls

14 years ago, out-of-work thief Glenn Berger was struck by a crazy idea that would turn out to make him a millionaire. He decided to dive in lakes across the golf-course rich state of Florida, looking for lost golf balls. He now fishes out about 1.3 to 1.7 million balls a year, and claims to have amassed a fortune of about $15 million so far!

“I was partially unemployed and I was stealing golf balls out of a golf course lake where I lived and I realised that wasn’t the way to make money,” he said. So he started to sell the balls at a minimum of $1 each – a decision that has paid off handsomely over the years.

One of the reasons the balls fetch so much money is the risk that scouring golf course ponds involves. Berger faces loads of underwater dangers and challenges on a daily basis – he’s encountered tables, golf carts, lawn mowers, snakes, and the worst of all, alligators. He always makes sure to look carefully before leaping into a water hazard, but he still bumps into alligators sometimes. “One time I felt my arm in an alligator’s mouth,” he says. “I couldn’t see anything, but I almost flew out of the water. There was no blood, so I think the gator just mouthed me without biting down.”

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11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Sells Secure Account Passwords for $2 Each

11-year-old Mira Modi is cashing in on her knowledge of strong, easy-to-memorize passwords. She started her own online business earlier this month, selling hand-generated cryptographic passwords for $2 each!

“I’m a sixth-grade student in New York City,” Mira writes on her website. “This is my first business (other than occasional lemonade stands!). But I’m very excited about it and will be very responsible.” She also explains how Diceware, a decades-old password generating system, works: “You roll a die 5 times and write down each number. Then you look up the resulting five-digit number in the Diceware dictionary, which contains a numbered list of short words.”

The result, apparently, is a combination of five to eight words in a non-sensical string that is so random that it’s extremely difficult to crack. While a five-word string is breakable with “a thousand or so PCs equipped with high-end graphics processors,” an eight-word string “should be completely secure through 2050.”

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You Can Now Buy a Handful of Dead Autumn Leaves for $19.99

Not everyone has access to the beautiful autumn foliage that grows in the American Northeast. Which is why there’s a legitimate business that sells three perfectly preserved New England autumn leaves for about $20!

The idea belongs to Boston entrepreneur Kyle Waring, known for trying to ‘Ship Snow’ to warmer places earlier this year. Kyle’s latest seasonal venture is called ‘Ship Foliage’, which according to his website, preserves and ships “gorgeous fall foliage” across the US. 

“All leaves are collected from New England, and undergo a unique preservation process,” the website adds, revealing that their foliage experts (Waring, his wife, and their two Italian greyhounds) hike all over the Northeast in search of the perfect leaves. This is called the collection phase, during which each leaf is hand selected and branded ‘Grade A’ foliage. They venture out every weekend around Hamilton and Manchester-by-the-Sea, and at scenic spots like Lincoln, Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington, and Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Believe It or Not, the Last Audio Cassette Factory in the US Is Doing Better Than Ever

I haven’t seen audio cassettes in use in over a decade, so it’s pretty shocking that a company is still making a profit manufacturing them. In fact, National Audio Company (NAC) – the last audio cassette maker in America – has had its best year since it opened in 1969!

The tapes are apparently high on nostalgic value, and that’s why they’re still flying off the shelves. And NAC’s stubbornness in not quitting when the other manufacturers did has finally payed off. “You can characterise our operating business model as stubbornness and stupidity,” NAC president Steve Stepp said. “We were too stubborn to quit.”

“Probably the thing that really enlarged our business at a faster pace than anything is the retro movement,” he added. “There’s the nostalgia of holding the audio cassette in your hand.”

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Texas Entrepreneur Makes $10,000 a Month Sending People Potatoes

Potato Parcel has got to be the most ridiculous business idea since the Pet Rock. It’s so silly that when entrepreneur Alex Craig told his girlfriend about the idea, she laughed right in his face. But Craig went right ahead with his plan, and now he’s the one laughing all the way to the bank.

The business model is rather simple – anonymous messages sent via potatoes. Users go online to order a potato, add a custom message and send it to whomever they like, anonymously. 24-year-old Craig said that he came up with the idea for the service while having dinner with his girlfriend earlier this year. “She said, ‘You will not sell a single potato. This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.’”

Yet, to everyone’s surprise, Craig’s idea caught on. “On our second day that we were live, and we started promoting it on Reddit, and we got $2,000 in orders, I just knew this was it,” he said. He’s sold over 2,000 potatoes so far and he’s been making a neat profit of $10,000 per month since May.

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The Man Who Made Millions by Selling Rocks as Pets

Gary Ross Dahl, who died earlier this year at age 78, will always be remembered for inventing the ‘Pet Rock’, a 1970s novelty toy craze. The brilliant salesman essentially sold rocks for a living, and managed to make millions through his “ridiculously successful marketing scheme.”

Although he began his career as an advertising copywriter, Dahl quickly turned entrepreneur when his idea of selling rocks as pets took off. It all started one night in the mid-’70s, while having a drink at a local bar in Los Gatos, California. People around him were talking about pets, and about how difficult it was to feed, walk and clean up after them.

Struck by sudden inspiration, Dahl declared that he had no such trouble with his own pet. “I have a pet rock,” he told the crowd. And his response was so well received that he began to toy with the idea, eventually setting up a business around it.

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Enterprising Chinese College Student Sells Girls’ Used Quilts to Their Male Admirers

Chinese student Long Yi recently made a small fortune selling quilts used by female students to their male admirers on campus.

The idea sounds creepy, but Long said that he was inspired by a female graduate who sold her own quilt within minutes of posting it online. He quickly did the math and realised that the market was potentially worth thousands of yuan. So he spent his savings on dozens of old quilts belonging to female students who are graduating this year from Qinghua University, where Long is a junior.

Next, Long posted all the quilts online, and managed to sell a major chunk of them in just one day, raking in a whopping 10,000 yuan (US $1,600). In fact, the demand is so high that he has set up a live stall on campus to complement his online sales. Believe it or not, lovestruck young men are lining up for the chance to cuddle with quilts that once belonged to the women of their dreams.

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