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New Company Called ‘ManServants’ Aims to Make Men Your Personal Servants

When advertising professionals Josephine Wai Lin and Dala Khajak decided to start a business of their own, they knew it had to be something quirky and original. Their new startup is called ‘ManServants’, and no, it’s not a gimmick. The business is basically a man rental service, giving any woman that can afford it the chance to have a good-looking man attend to her every need.

“A Man, But Better,” declares the tagline for the startup, and this pretty much sums up what ManServants is all about. “We believe personal assistants and pool boys are luxuries every woman, or gay guy, deserves – even if it’s just for a day,” the founders write on the official ManServants website.

Their promo video is really something; it claims that for decades women have had to put up with male strippers that they secretly hated. “Ladies, if you hate your friend, and yourself, get her a stripper,” the video advises. “But if you love your friend, get her a ManServant.” You can’t help wondering if the whole thing is a spoof, but the founders insist that it’s a real service. “It’s not a stripper who gets naked and rubs his greasy body all over you,” the website declares. “It’s a ManServant: a gentleman who treats you like a queen.”

ManServant-service

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Only Girls – A French All-Female Garage for Women Tired of Getting Ripped Off

‘Only Girls’ is a new garage designed to make women feel comfortable, especially those who are tired of being shortchanged by deceitful mechanics. It recently opened in the Saint-Ouen-l’Aumone suburb of northwestern Paris.

The garage opened just a month ago and it has already had around 40 customers, two-thirds of which were women. The concept of an all-female garage stands to be a big hit because Only Girls aims to offer women motorists exactly what they need – respect. Many women claim to have a tough time getting their cars fixed at regular garages, because mechanics do not take women seriously and quote higher prices than they would for male customers.

“When you’re a woman, it’s like you’ve got ‘sucker’ tattooed on your forehead,” said Sandrine Hautenne, 42. “One time, I went round to three different garages, and got three different estimates. Since then, I’ve sent my uncle to get estimates and guess what? The prices have dropped!”

Only-Girls-Garage

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Business Brilliance – Chinese Sell Miniature Snowmen as Cartop Decorations

When snow is free of cost, who’s going to pay for snowmen, right? Wrong! Apparently, people will buy anything if you sell it right. These two Chinese men have hit the marketing jackpot – making the most of heavy snowfall, they’re selling snowmen by the dozen.

The two men (we don’t know their names or who they are), make snowmen for cars in the suburb of Chengdu, in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. A photograph taken on 10 February shows them placing snowmen with orange eyes, noses and buttons, on top of a customer’s car.

According to some reports, they had sold over 100 snowmen before noon that day. Other pictures show several cars lined up in a street, all sporting snowmen on the roof. It certainly made for a festive display. It was as though the frozen figures were cheering on the traffic.

Chinese-snowmen

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Chinese Restaurant Allows Patrons to Pay What They Want, Is Obviously Losing Money

A small, self-service restaurant in China’s Fujian province runs on a unique concept – no bills! The owner expects diners to pay whatever they think is the true price of the meal. Predictably, many people don’t pay anything at all.

The restaurant, called Five Loaves and Two Fish, opened this August in downtown Fuzhou. It is named after the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people by multiplying fish and bread. Patrons are required to wash their own plates and bowls after eating, and place money in a drop-box before leaving.

50-year-old interior designer Liu Pengfei, the majority investor, said he got the idea for the restaurant after heard about the ‘suspended meals’ projects in some countries. These projects allow people to pay in advance for a beverage or meal, for someone who really needs it. “Hearing about it, I was deeply moved,” Liu said. “I felt a heartwarming sense of trust because of it.” And that’s the concept Five Loaves is based on – trust.

While the concept sounds really amazing, things aren’t exactly going as expected for Liu and his team. According to Peng Yong, chef and co-investor, around 20 percent of diners walk out without paying anything. The restaurant has been running losses – 250,000 yuan ($41,170) – even though it is packed every day. Just maintaining the place, which is located in a central location, costs 60,000 yuan a month.

Chinese-food

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Is Your Child Using Drugs? Rent a Trained Sniffer Dog to Find Out

German entrepreneur Reitner Reuther has made headlines in the national media for offering a very unique service. He gives parents who suspect their children of using illegal substances the chance to find out for sure by hiring a trained sniffer dog.

Statistics show drug abuse among youth is an increasing problem all around the world, but parents in Germany now have a new way of dealing with it without involving the authorities. Reitner Reuther believes his sniffer dog Thor is able to find even the most secret stashes of narcotics that can often be “too sophisticated” for parents to discover, so he set up a website where he offers to conduct discreet searches at the clients’ homes, at a rate of €95 ($125) per case. Thor completed his training to become a police dog in Texas, USA and specializes in sniffing out cannabis, heroin, speed and ecstasy. Parents get in touch with Reitner and they set up an appointment. When their child is away at school, he brings the dog by to search the house. According to his owner, no matter how well the drugs are hidden, nothing gets by Thor.

sniffer-dog-service

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Every Minute Counts at Germany’s Slow Time Cafe

Slow Time, a newly opened cafe in Wiesbaden, Germany, is charging clients on how much time they spend there, rather than on what they order. Coffee and biscuit snacks are free, and customers can even bring their own food, but on departure, they have to pay for every minute spent inside.

The “time cafe” concept comes from Moscow, where it has proven a big hit. Locals and tourists there find refuge from the hectic city streets inside one of these peaceful cafes without worrying about high drink prices. The amount of time they spend inside is the only thing that counts on the bill. 24-year-old Daria Volkova, who immigrated from Russia in 2008, recently opened the first time cafe in Germany, called Slow Time. Customers are charged €2 ($2.50) on arrival, which covers the first 30 minutes, after which they have to pay €0.05 per minute, or €3 per hour. The coffee, which is supposed to be delicious, tea and water are offered free of charge, and there are also free biscuits to snack on, but clients are invited to bring their own food and drinks if they want, or maybe have a pizza delivered there. What’s important is the time, although the owners says the several clocks purposely showing different times are meant to make people forget about time and focus on relaxation and the people around them. To pass the time, visitors can use the free Wi-Fi connection to browse on the internet, play social games like Carcassone, Scrabble or Activity with friends, or enjoy a good book from the cafe’s selection.

Slow-Time-cafe

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Hard Currency – Italy’s Unique Cheese Banks

Cash-for-cheese sounds more like a joke that a serious financial agreement, but in some regions of Italy it’s a reality. The famous Parmesan is so precious that some banks are willing to keep the cheese as collateral against loans to local producers.

The Credito Emiliano bank has hundreds of branches and thousands of employees around central and northern Italy. Its central offices look like those of any other banking institution, with cameras watching every angle, security doors to lock down the place and even a big vault in the back. Only you’re not going to find too many diamonds or hard cash stored in there. Instead, there are hundreds of thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels, neatly placed on giant shelves. The bank takes the Parmesan from local producers in exchange for a cheap loan, and charges a 3% interest as well as a fee for looking after the cheese and making sure it matures properly in the air-conditioned, humidified vault. It might seem strange, but Credito Emiliano treats Parmigiano-Reggiano like other banks do gold. And for good reason, as the mountains of cheese locked away in its secured vault are worth around $200 million.

cheese-bank

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It’s No Joke – Man Charges $15 to Sharpen Your Pencil by Hand

David Rees, a cartoonist, humor writer and self-proclaimed pencil sharpening artisan runs a truly unique business. He charges customers $15 to sharpen their pencils to perfections, using a variety of tools, from pocket knives to sandpaper.

I know what you’re thinking – is this a joke? The 39-year-old entrepreneur gets asked that question a lot, so to clarify everything he even created a special section on his Artisanal Pencil Sharpening website telling everyone that he’s actually providing a real service: “If you start a pencil-sharpening business, you can expect to hear this question a lot. The short answer? No, this is not a joke. You pay David Rees money and he sharpens your pencils. It actually happens.” You can supply your own pencil or you can have Rees sharpen his one of his favorite #2 pencils and ship it to you in a in a display tube with the shavings in a separate bag along with a certificate of authenticity that just happens to mention the pencil is so sharp it is considered a dangerous object. To achieve the desired result, the master sharpener uses all kinds of tools, including general sandpaper, pocket knives and even a special $450 sharpening machine. “It depends on what the client wants to use their pencil for,’’ he says. “That determines the most appropriate pencil technique. Some buy them as inspirational tokens, and others for nostalgic memories of classic No. 2 pencils. There also are journalists who prefer my pencils to pens especially in really cold weather because a pen will freeze up, whereas a pencil won’t.’’

professional-pencil-sharpener

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Meet Denis Hope, the Man Who Sells the Moon

If someone tried to sell me the moon, I would dismiss them as con artists. So I was pretty surprised to learn about Denis Hope, a 65-year-old man from Gardnerville, Nevada, who runs a legit business selling land plots on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Io and Mercury. Of course, there’s no legal backing to all this, but there’s nobody stopping him either. As long as he’s able to make people smile, he says he can do anything he wants. He’s been in business since 1980.

Hope is a former-ventriloquist, now in the business of space real-estate. Some people view his work as the selling of ‘novelty items’ such as pet rocks and certificates. Others argue that he’s taking forth the age-old American tradition of land speculators selling plots of useless land. Hope admits that there are several others selling property in outer space, but the difference is that those people are criminal in their intent. He considers himself the legit owner of the Moon, so what he’s doing is all right. How come he is so confident, you ask? Well, he says this is as real as any other property you can buy on Earth, and that’s because he filed a declaration with the United Nations. Otherwise, Hope says he wouldn’t be selling at all.

Dennis-Hope-moon2

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Young Entrepreneur Auctions Off His Last Name for 2013 to the Highest Bidder

Jacksonville-based entrepreneur Jason Sadler has come up with an ingenious way to raise some money- he has offered to legally change his last name for the whole of 2013 to the name of the company who offers hims the most money. The online auction ended yesterday, and starting January 1st, Sadler will be known as Jason HeadsetsDotCom.

The soon-to-be-called Jason HeadsetsDotCom is known for his weird ideas of making money. His original business, IWearYourShirt.com, was launched in 2009 and required Sadler to wear a sponsored T-shirt featuring a company’s logo for a full day or an entire week, for a generous fee, of course. During the first year since the company’s inception, Jason wore a different T-shirt every day, and leveraged the power of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr to get the word out about his clients. “I wore a different T-shirt for 800 days straight. No day off,” he told CNN Money. “I’d make online videos wearing the T-shirts, just going about my daily life.” He also tweeted about the brands, posted about them on Facebook and made a one-hour live video show on Ustream, where he talked about clients. Believe it or not, by 2011, Sadler had hired five people and was earning $250,000 a year in revenue, promoting important companies like Starbucks, Nissan or Zappos. How’s that for an original way of making serious dough?

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Bald Billboard – Man Uses His Head for Advertising Space for $320 a Day

Last month, 27-year-old entrepreneur Brandon Chicotsky launched a unique service called Bald Logo, turning his bald head into a billboard for businesses willing to pay him $320 per day, and walking around Austin, Texas to get as much exposure as possible.

How does the old saying go, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? That’s exactly what Brandon Chicotsky did after he lost most of the hair on his head at a very young age. “Because I didn’t get to choose to be bald I thought I’d bring bald and beautiful back,” said Chicotsky, who also decided to use his head as an actual business. Last month, the young entrepreneur launched Bald Logo, and since then he’s been flooded with inquiries from businesses interested in having their logos temporarily tattooed on his or one of his coworkers’ heads, for a fee of $320 a day. Brandon and his team have perfected the tattoos to withstand any weather conditions, and will spend six hours a day walking the streets of Austin garnering attention for their clients. Bald Logo currently has three “bald angelicals” on its staff, but the ambitious businessman plans to hire more walking advertising spaces and expand to other cities.

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Chinese Companies Renting White Guys to Look Successful

Believe it or not, in China white guys can get a job posing as businessmen for companies who hire them to look more international to their real partners. It’s called “White Guy Window Dressing” and it’s apparently a very popular business tactic.

What makes this such a great job for white guys in China is that it has some really simple requirements: be white, don’t speak any Chinese, or speak at all unless asked, pretend like you just got off an airplane the day before, and look good in a suit. The people who usually go for this king of gig are part-time models and actors, English teachers and expats looking for a quick and easy paycheck. It’s called “White Guy Window Dressing”, “The Token White Guy Gig”, or simply the “Face Job” and it’s so popular in China these days that there’s actually a company called Rent A Laowai (Chinese for “foreigner”) that helps businesses improve their image by providing fake white employees or partners.

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Successful Businessman Selling His Whole Life on eBay

After working hard to build a business and achieve millionaire status, a Florida entrepreneur is selling it all on eBay. This includes his successful video game stores, two beachside condos, several expensive cars and three kayaks. All for the small price of $3.5 million.

Some people work their whole life and don’t even get close to amassing a fortune as large as 29-year-old’s Shane Butcher. The Tampa Bay gamer owns a thriving video game business as well as several houses and cars and lives a life most of us only dream of, and yet he is ready to sell it all and start over. “My name’s Shane, and I’m putting my American dream up for sale,” the young businessman says in his eBay ad. Butcher got the idea to pass on his success to somebody else after he heard about other people who made similar sales on eBay. He and his family are in search of a new challenge, and want to visit the world, so they decided to sell everything they’ve built so far. “If you build a castle, it’s awesome to sell it and then start building another one, hopefully bigger and better,” Shane said.

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Dog Poop Removal Company Proves Big Hit

Who knew that scooping up dog poop could also rake in the big bucks? DoodyCalls is a company that does just that. They make an annual revenue of $4.5 million, with about 6.6 million poops disposed of in the last year alone. 55 franchises currently exist in 22 states of the US, and there are plans to expand the number to at least 250 in the coming decade. That’s a huge success for an idea as simple as cleaning up behind a dog. Co-founder and CEO Jacob D’Aniello says that the only way his business could fail is, “If one day, everybody in the world woke up and decided they loved picking up dog poop.” That sure is quite unlikely, given that most people with dogs are hard pressed for time. D’Aniello agrees that his customers aren’t necessarily lazy people, but need quick solutions to the mundane tasks in life, so they can have more time for themselves. DoodyCalls allows customers to pay for more leisure time.

D’Aniello first came up with the business idea for DoodyCalls when he was driving home from work in late 1999. On a popular radio show, he heard a man talking about his love for his career – picking up dog poop. The more D’Aniello thought about this, the more he realized how much that guy loved his job, made a great living out of it, did not have to commute, and worked his own hours. Soon, he was talking about the business plan to his future wife, Susan. She wasn’t too enthusiastic at first, but once he presented her with the business pitch, she was quickly on board. DoodyCalls was soon created and ads went live in the local papers. Their first order was a housewarming gift for a friend – a six months dog poop cleaning service for the new home. Since then, there was no looking back. At $15 per week per dog, their service is affordable and popular.

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