If anyone’s ever told you your business idea was silly, stupid, or flat-out crazy, don’t despair.
In a world where blankets with sleeves, foam noodles, plastic singing fish, pet rocks, and grass-growing planters that look like animals can make millions, it’s proof that crazy business ideas can sometimes be the smartest.
We did some research to find examples of crazy business ideas that made millions. The results we came up with are interesting, sometimes laughable, and encouraging.
5 Crazy Business Ideas That Made Millions
These are 5 crazy business ideas that turned into big bucks. Take notes, entrepreneurs!
1. The Snuggie
In 2008, a crazy product entered the market that would change lazy days forever: The Snuggie. A fleece blanket with an important update – wizard-esque sleeves – turned out to be not so crazy. After noticing that a similar product, The Slanket, wasn’t performing as well as it could, the makers of Snuggie went to the drawing board and came up with a thinner, sleeker product. They also marketed the heck out of it.
You’ve no doubt seen commercials for The Snuggie on TV, and you probably own or have been gifted one at some point. Today, The Snuggie boasts revenues in the millions. Who’s the crazy one now?
2. Pool noodles
Is there a swimming pool out there without the prerequisite brightly-colored foam tube floating around? Probably not. The story of its invention is pretty interesting.
Steve Hartman, an engineer and entrepreneur, started a company with his father in Ontario, Canada about 30 years ago. Their company fabricated foam backer rods for the construction industry.
Boring and gray, the foam rods didn’t look like pool toys, but they acted like them. Hartman noticed his nieces and nephews using the rods in their pool and was struck with an idea. He made brightly colored versions and began marketing them as a water toy in the mid 1980’s.
When the Canadian Walmart, Canadian Tire, placed a large order in 1987, the rest was history. Today, the not-so-silly foam pool noodles are an international hit that have made millions since their inception.
3. The pet rock
When Gary Dahl, an advertising executive, came up with the idea for marketing a pet rock, it’s very likely that those closest to him began to doubt his mental stability. He didn’t care. Ignoring the naysayers, he bought a load of stones from a local quarry and packaged them in a unique way: Boxes with air holes that included a straw and tongue-in-cheek pet care instructions.
It didn’t take much to propel him to millionaire status. Because his overhead was unbelievably low – he paid pennies for the rocks and materials. The low selling price made the product a fun gag gift, and the pet rock made millions in just a few months.
With a retail price of just $3.95, Dahl made his product available to everyone, and for a while, everybody wanted one. That’s all it took, as Dahl was able to retire comfortably (with a pet rock for companionship, of course).
4. Chia Pets
How many Chia Pets have you personally owned? It seemed like everyone had one during the Chia Pet heyday of the 80’s and 90’s.
Although you may not see or hear much about them these days, the craze for this crazy business idea is still going strong, with new models and planter styles coming out every year.
The idea was simple: Create a planter that looks like an animal (the first Chia Pet was a ram) that you can plant grass seeds in to create the illusion of hair or fur.
Ridiculous, sure, but it struck a chord with Americans and rakes in millions each year to this day.
5. Big Mouth Billy Bass
Perhaps one of the most annoying crazy business ideas on this list, the plastic singing fish known as Big Mouth Billy Bass took America by storm back in the early 2000’s.
More than 1 million of these vocal plastic gamefish sold in 2000, earning millions of dollars in revenue for the Texan toy company that produced it.
You could scarcely enter a store or home during that time without the realistic-looking bass-on-a-plaque turning its head to you and singing either “Take Me to the River” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Weird, wild, but wonderful.
If there’s a market out there, you can sell your product no matter how trivial, silly, or crazy it may seem to others. Even if it only makes millions because people are laughing at it, you can laugh with them – all the way to the bank. What crazy business ideas have you seen do well? Share your insights in the comments!