New Years Eve is not a time when you would normally expect to stumble across a money making opportunity. While leaving a friend's house slightly the worse for wear, I saw something in their kitchen which took my eye.
They have a five year old daughter. Hanging on the kitchen wall was a tea towel. But it was no ordinary tea towel. Printed on it was around 50 children's drawings, each one around three inches high. The drawings were very special - each one was created by a child, and was a 'self portrait'. Underneath they had each written their name. I'm sure you can imagine that the drawings themselves were very amusing, but can you see what a great keepsake this would be?
Can you imagine any parent not buying one? On asking a few questions, I found that the tea towels were not the only things on offer. In addition to a tea towel with the classes' drawings printed on it, you could also get a T-shirt adorned with your own child's individual drawing.
Give this a little thought, and I think you'll start to see the potential. The children themselves provide the artwork. All you need to do is organize the printing of their designs onto the relevant textiles. Tea towels and T-shirts are just two possibilities. There may be all sorts of other items you could print the designs onto.
The sales potential is enormous. I would see the target group as children in the infant and primary school age group. Schools and pre-school groups are the obvious target.
Let's start with a simple example. An individual school will have in excess of 100 children who fall within the relevant age group. Let's say that just 50 participate in any one school. Assuming you have a selling price of 4 - 5 per towel the potential sales are extensive. Your marketing would stress the 'usability' of the product as well as its value as a keepsake.
What you should be aiming for here is a minimum of two sales to each parent, one to use and one to keep for posterity. Then there are the grandparents. Most of the children will have two sets - more potential sales.
On this basis, do you think it unreasonable that you could generate an average of two sales per child - between 400 and 500 in revenue? You haven't sold any T-shirts yet! Let's say you sell one T-shirt to every fourth child. It may be more, but let's look on the downside. That would be 12 T-shirts at say 7.50 - another 90 in revenue.
In this simple pessimistic example, you've generated almost 600 from a group of 50 children, and provided them with products which they are absolutely delighted with.
What about costs?
T-shirts and tea towels can both be bought for less then 1 in bulk. Check out the Trader Magazines for sources for supply. Printing prices vary greatly. Ring round a few suppliers in Yellow Pages. Your marketing costs will be minimal, because you will approach the schools and other organizations directly.
There is one more cost to consider. It is an important one, because it's going to help you persuade the schools and other organizations to participate. As a thank you for allowing you to offer the service you're going to make a contribution to school or organization's funds from a percentage of the revenue. This gives the school/organization an incentive to participate, and an incentive to maximize revenues.
Allowing for all costs, you should aim for a net profit of 40 to 50 per cent. So sales of 600 to a 50 strong group could net you in excess of 250 clear profit for very little work on your part.
Where To Take The Small Business From Here?
Obviously, there is a fair amount of work to be done. Cost up your products and printing before setting your prices. When you have all the details in place, draw up a list of suitable schools and organizations, and approach them directly. Once you've put the system into operation in one school, ask for referrals.
Head teachers in one school invariably know their counterparts in other local schools, and will be happy to recommend you if their school funds have been swelled and the parents are satisfied with the product. The business can be built from there.