Entrepreneurship is getting wackier as people look for more unusual ways to make their business pay.

Startups are our bag, so we’ve done some digging and come up with an assortment of the world’s strangest business concepts – from seamlessly cheating on your spouse to making jewellery from your loved one, these businesses prove there really is a market for everything.

Ashley Madison

Life’s short. Have an affair, says the ‘world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters’. Surely no one will buy into that though – it’s debased, goes against every sense and sensibility since the Queen swapped long johns for pantihose. Wrong.

Ashley Madison now boasts almost 25 million members and pulls in annual profits of around $30 million. But the wackiest part of this Stateside startup is that creator, Noel Biderman, is happily married and even managed to get his wife to feature on the company’s adverts. In countless incredulous interviews, Biderman says cheating can save a marriage and, although he doesn’t have affairs himself, he sees nothing wrong with encouraging others. His bank manager agrees.

An affair to remember

 

Pet Rock

For all parents who dread saying ‘no’ to their children after the inevitable ‘can we get a pet?’ The Pet Rock is the perfect alternative. Ok, so it’s not fluffy, cute or affectionate, it doesn’t move and play and get into japes and scrapes but it is a rock and it does have googly eyes, comes in a custom box and doesn’t poop.

This quirky business was started in 1975 by Gary Dahl and within the first six months had raked in $15 million: he sold 1.5 million rocks in the companys year of business. Now Pet Rock is back with a charitable twist, as they have partnered up with pet shelters to help animals in need.

Pet rock

 

Luckybreak

The American wishbone tradition is no longer restricted to one pair of people on one day a year. With Lucky Break Wishbones, you can now buy whole buckets of fake plastic wishbones, ready for when your day needs that little bit of extra luck. The concept was created by founder Ken Ahroni, who, after another frustrated Thanksgiving where only two people could make a wish, decided to create synthetic wishbones with the sound and feel of the real thing.

You may be forgiven for assuming there would be no market for this off-the-wall startup but you would be wrong. The company makes 30,000 wishbones a day, selling custom-designed, imprinted units for personal, corporate and promotional use and brings in sales of over $ 2.5 million a year.

wishbone

 

Purple Cloud

You’ve lost a loved one but are not quite ready to say goodbye. Purple Cloud Studio offers the solution – wear a part of them forever in a piece of hand-crafted glass jewellery made from the ashes of family members and pets.

The artist behind this enterprise, Michele Palenik, asks clients to ship her half a teaspoon of remains, which she then seals in glass pendants, bowls and paperweights.  The concept has proven to be very successful and Michele has appeared on a variety of talk shows to discuss the inspiration for her art.

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Photo by Purple Cloud

 

Morning glory – rave your way into the day

Morning glory encourages Londoners to don psychedelic colours under their business suits, head out a few hours earlier and take part in an ‘invigorating dance experience’ to pump them up for the day ahead.

The doors open at 6.30am and anyone can join – but drunks and drunkettes are not welcome, the company warns – this is not an after party. Tickets are £12.50 in advance and £15 on the door and the events have already proven to be very popular amongst Shoreditch’s hipster elite. Creators say they hope to soon start the morning raves all over the country.

rave

Photos by James KendalInsomnia Cured HereKate McdonaldRoger SmithCuba Gallery and Andrea Wiggins