Bizarre ideas that proved to be wise investments
Many of us have crazy business ideas, but only the brave (or stupid) actually invest money in making them happen. Here’s our top 5 of the most ridiculous business ideas that made their makers and investors ridiculously rich.
In 1975, former advertising executive, Gary Dahl came up with the idea of selling a hassle-free pet. This was effectively a rock placed on a bed of straw. The fad only lasted for around six months, but in this time it made its investors a massive $15million.
Yellow smiley faces
In the early 1970s, two brothers, Bernard and Murray Spain, bought the legal rights to the iconic yellow smiley face symbol. They added the tagline ‘Have a nice day’, splashed it across everything possible and sold smiley novelties in their Dollar Express stores. In 2000, they sold their chain for $500m.
Wacky Wall Walker
When Ken Hakuta’s mum sent him a Wacky Wall Walker from China, he just knew the sticky spidery blobs would catch on. So he bought the rights for $5,000 and started selling them in the Washington DC area. News soon spread and within just a few months Hakuta had sold 240 million Wall Walkers, turning his small investment into a whopping $80 million.
In the early 1940s, Naval Engineer Richard James discovered the Slinky by accident after dropping a tension spring on the floor. He felt it would make an interesting toy and debuted it at a show in Philadelphia. Within 90 minutes, he’d sold all 400 of them. The Slinky went on to make £250 million – and they’re still sold in toyshops today.
The blanket with arms
The Snuggie, a blanket with arms, is a bizarre idea that went big. Thanks to humorous marketing, YouTube, and appearances on US chat shows, it became an overnight sensation. Around 20 million Snuggies were sold in just one year, making it’s creator Scott Boilen $200m richer. Not a bad investment at all.
Investing proving more interesting than you thought? Then read about 5 successful celeb investors who are clearly more than just a pretty face. Or if talk of investments has you thinking, why not read our What is an ISA guide today.
SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.