No niche is too “niche”
If you have already started a business and are finding it hard to scale, or you have hit a wall and aren’t sure how to reinvent yourself, don’t be discouraged. These five niche businesses (and there are plenty more where they came from) are proof that no niche is too small or too weird.
1. Cuddle Party (for the curious socializer)
On paper, putting a bunch of adults in pajamas into a room and asking them to cuddle and make friends seems like the basis for many, many lawsuits. But in practice, Cuddle Party has been incredibly popular. The nonprofit runs in multiple countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, and has been around for 13 years.
The company’s service — a “playful social event designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries and affection” — has remained mostly scandal-free, and even has a bunch of great testimonials from cuddlers. It should be noted that is has had a huge, mostly, scandal free success rate. This niche example goes to show that even if the idea sounds somewhat crazy, if there is a market, and an appropriate supplier, it will work.
Curiosity is a big driver for people who attend cuddle parties, and it is a better way to meet people than going to a bar, getting drunk and spending the night with someone just because of the need for some affection.
2. Throx (three socks are better than two)
Throx’s business model is just as charming as its retro website. Instead of selling socks by the pair, the brand sells them in threes so that you can lose one without feeling guilt. It’s brilliant, and probably the only form of sock insurance ever invented.
The quirky site offers visitors 30 different kinds of socks to choose from and has somehow convinced 35 different stores to carry its offerings.
3. YourNovel.com (customized romance novels)
Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? YourNovel makes them look like penny books. The North Carolina-based service writes custom romance books upon request. Buyers can choose whoever they want to be the characters before filling out what I can only imagine is a very detailed questionnaire.
This seems like a lot of work at a very low price point — until you take into consideration the popularity of romance novels. Romance as a genre is by far the biggest book market, and generates around $1.44 billion per year. Crime and mystery, coming in at second place, makes a mere $728.2 million per year.
4. Rent a Mourner (because, of course)
Rent a Mourner is a U.K.-based firm that helps families whose loved ones have passed, by providing “professional, discreet people to attend funerals and wakes.” In other words, they hire what I can only imagine are semi-professional actors and unemployed gigsters to show up at a designated location and look sad and to ensure your last gathering on earth is a very well attended one.
The professional grieving market is still quite niche in the U.K. according to company founder Ian Robertson, but this type of service has been popular in parts of China in the Middle East for years.
Their goal is help the deceased appear sufficiently popular and beloved, going so far as to cry openly and behave as if they knew the person in front of their friends and family.
The most surprising thing about this niche? It’s ancient. Professional mourning was practiced in the Mediterranean and Middle East thousands of years ago, and is even mentioned in the Bible. Real life truly is stranger than fiction.
5. 3Beds.com (air mattress reviews)
I’ve saved the best for last. 3 Beds is an air mattress-review site that offers objective, in-depth reviews. Most online reviews (like those on Amazon) are too subjective. By adopting a very empiric approach, 3 Beds makes “air mattress reviews a science.” The site even includes a whiteboard how-we-do-it video and are committed to doing the work of protecting good people from bad mattresses.
Having bought some very cheap air mattresses back when I was struggling to make money, I can appreciate what this company does.
Wondering what niche you should be hyper-targeting?
Or, how to pivot towards greater growth? Take a breather. If the above five niche businesses pulled it off, so can you.