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Category Archives: Business

6 Business Ideas for Food Lovers

Jams & preserves maker

There are few foods that are easier to hand-make and package in large quantities than jam. With access to a steady supply of high-quality fruits and mason jars, you can go into the jam-making business in no time. First, build a repertoire of tried-and-true jam recipes. Then create branded labels and sell your goods at local fairs, farmers markets and events. You can even start an online business and ship directly to customers.

Catering

Have you ever hosted a dinner party or holiday meal and found yourself barely able to enjoy it because of all the preparation? If you’re a skilled home cook that can create delicious meals for a large group of people, you can help alleviate the stress of planning and preparing food for parties as a caterer. While bigger events like weddings and Sweet 16s might be hard to handle without a team, you could likely handle smaller home gatherings by yourself or with a business partner. Make sure you have enough kitchen space to prepare the meals and the means to transport the food to your clients. Go the extra mile and offer to help clean up after the party for great customer service (not to mention the fact that you’ll probably earn a nice tip).

Bartender-for-hire

Is liquid food more your speed? Consider launching a bartender-for-hire service. If you love mixing up cocktails and serving parched patrons the drinks of their choice, this just might be the gig for you. Offer to work events or parties to help bring that extra level of luxury and professionalism to your clients shindigs. With a low overhead and a slight learning curve — if you aren’t already a master mixologist — you can get your bartender business up and running in no time.

Food truck

Want to open a restaurant without paying for retail space and tons of kitchen equipment? With a decent set of wheels and a small-scale food prep station, you can. Decreased startup costs, competitive pricing and lower risk of failure are just a few of the reasons why food trucks are a great alternative to brick-and-mortar restaurants. Pick a specific type of food or cuisine you’re familiar with and work on perfecting recipes in that category to sell at your mobile eatery. Focusing on a particular specialty can help you stand out from the competition and aid in your branding efforts.

Restaurant franchise owner

Investing in a franchise is a great way to become a business owner without having to come up with a concept or marketing strategy. With restaurant franchises, the product, brand and audience are already in place. All you need is a good location and some startup money, which is relatively easy to come by: Because a franchise has a proven business model, you’re more likely to get a loan for this low-risk investment.

ersonal chef

Another way to tap into the “busy family” market is by offering personal chef services. This business requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your clients, so strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets (if applicable) are a must. While you don’t necessarily need to have graduated from culinary school, taking a few cooking classes will boost your credibility. If you’ve ever fantasized about working for a celebrity, this might be your ticket in: A lot of high-profile individuals employ personal chefs to maintain a healthy diet with their round-the-clock work schedule.

7 Amazing 3D Printing Startups

XJet

XJet is an Israel-based 3D printing company focused on creating metal parts for manufacturing purposes by employing sealed cartridges of liquid material. Other metal printers rely on dust filings, which are loaded into the printer by hand, while XJet has pioneered the use of liquid metal as a more affordable alternative.

The company’s vision is to revolutionize the manufacturing industry by replacing the current methods of printing metal parts, bringing more cost-effective components to the market. XJet first released its “Nanoparticle Jetting” technology in May 2016.

Shapeways

Founded in 2007, Shapeways is a virtual 3D printing marketplace for making, buying and selling 3D-printed creations. Shop owners- or anyone else with a 3D-printable idea- can build a virtual model of their product and have it printed by Shapeways.

From sterling silver jewelry to the world’s tiniest Rubik’s cube, Shapeways has a host of beautiful- and weird- items for sale. When you order something from a shop, Shapeways prints it, ships it and compensates the shop owner.

This modern marketplace is popular with 3D enthusiasts all over the world and provides a great platform for designers that want to create innovative products or prototypes without spending all their money on manufacturing.

Spuni

No one has ever been accused of being born with a 3D-printed spoon in their mouth — until now. Spuni, the ergonomically designed baby spoon, was created by two MIT grads fed up with the mess that accompanies feeding a baby from a regular baby spoon.

In order to make their Spuni dreams come true, the product’s creators used 3D printing to design and perfect a prototype that they could test on hungry babies.

Clearly the prototype worked well, because Spuni has since raised over $35,000 with its Indiegogo campaign and its first products are being shipped to customers this month.

Pirate 3D

Another startup making waves in the 3D printing world is Pirate 3D, a Palo Alto-based company with dreams of bringing 3D printers into everyones’ home office.

The company’s Buccaneer desktop 3D printer, which has raised nearly $1 million on Kickstarter, can print wirelessly from Android and iOS devices and is allegedly very user-friendly.

The Buccaneer is also very wallet-friendly, with an anticipated sale price of about $350. That’s a sixth of the price of MakerBot’s most recent desktop model, the Replicator 2.

Tecnologia Humana 3D

Viewing their unborn child on an ultrasound screen for the first time is one of the most exciting moments for expectant parents.Tecnologia Humana 3D, a Brazilian company specializing in customizable 3D-printed orthotics, takes this one step further, and offers mothers and fathers-to-be a three dimensional look at their beloved fetus in utero.

That’s right — a 3D-printed ultrasound. The Japanese company Fasotec offers a similar product for expecting parents at a pregnancy clinic in Tokyo. For just over $1,000, customers can take home a 3D printed, key-chain sized fetus of their very own.

Freedom of Creation

Founded in 2000, Dutch design studio Freedom of Creation has long been a pioneer in the field of 3D printing. The company is best known for its innovative home furnishings and lighting fixtures, which have been featured everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art to Hilton hotels.

Freedom of Creation prides itself on being among the first wave of startups to use 3D printing as an affordable and highly customizable manufacturing option. The company already Nike, Nokia, Hyundai and L’Oreal among its clients.

rganovo

Based in San Diego, Organovo is a biotech startup focused on the development of 3D printed biological materials, particularly human tissues. Since the company’s founding in 2007, it has pioneered research in 3D bioprinting, creating synthetic tissues that function just like real human tissues.

Materials printed at Organovo help researchers study diseases and allow them to test the effects of drugs on human tissue without putting anyone at risk. The company is also working on printing materials — like liver tissue — that can be used for medical implants or replacements.

7 Things Every Freelancer Should Know

In the past several years, freelancing has skyrocketed in popularity as a work option. Talented professionals can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, taking on projects for a variety of different clients and companies. But landing freelance gigs isn’t always a simple task. Here are 10 things all potential and current freelancers should consider about the current marketplace and what it takes to get steady work.

Traditionally, startups and smaller businesses hire freelancers for short-term ad hoc projects that the owners and their staff don’t have time to do themselves. This trend has begun to change recently as companies are integrating freelancers into their core business strategy.

“Modern businesses are choosing to run in a very lean fashion,” said Nik Badminton, regional director of North America for Freelancer.com. “Sometimes there are solopreneurs that build everything they need using freelancers and they run the business on their own. It’s such a cost-efficient model. Even large businesses are using freelancers as part of their contingent workforce.”

Rich Pearson, senior vice president of marketing and categories at Upwork(formerly Elance-oDesk) has observed a similar pattern, noting that some freelance positions are for projects extending as long as six months. This is an important trend for freelancers to pay attention to if they are looking for steady, longer-term work.

While just about every industry and profession has the potential for freelance work, some job categories have more opportunities available. Badminton cited Freelancer.com’s Fast 50 report for the second quarter of 2015, which found that mobile development, content creation, e-commerce and data science-related jobs are all on the rise.

“The sophistication of jobs is increasing and we are moving towards employers asking freelancers to build out entries technology and content ecosystems for them,” he said. “Businesses have built a huge amount of trust in remote resources and it’s starting to pay off.”

College graduates and laid-off employees who have difficulty securing a full-time position near their homes frequently turn to freelancing as a means to support themselves. Because most freelance work can be done remotely, you don’t have to stick to jobs that are close by.

“From a business standpoint, companies hiring freelancers can get better talent by escaping the local economy,” Pearson said. “It helps freelancers, too, in areas where there’s not much local work.”

Though competing with a national pool of applicants might be intimidating, you may be more qualified for a job than someone who’s geographically closer to the company. Freelancing ensures that you won’t lose a job because of your location.

One of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is take the time to fully comprehend the project on which you’re applying to work. Can you successfully complete all aspects of the job? Is there something in the description that’s unclear? Don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask before you put your name in for consideration.

“Each job is unique and each employer expects something specific,” Nikki Parker, a former Freelancer.com representative, said in a 2013 interview with Business News Daily. “Before you contact an employer, it is important that you understand the project and that this comes across when you reach out to them.”

Just like applying to any other position, bidding for a freelance job requires a solid résumé and cover letter. Demonstrating your experience and desire to work with the company that’s hiring are surefire ways to get noticed by employers.

“When writing your cover letter for proposals, be excited about the job,” Pearson said. “Have something specific that will get the hiring manager excited, but be sure to stay professional.”

Pearson told Business News Daily that 70 percent of companies that hire freelancers use them to fill very specific skill gaps in their staff. If a job description lists a highly specialized combination of skills and you have them, make sure you focus on that when contacting the employer.

“Make sure you highlight your unique skill set, some success stories, and why you are the best freelancer for the employer’s job,” Badminton added.

Many freelancers create virtual portfolios of their work on websites like Tumblr or About.me for prospective employers to look at. If you don’t have a dedicated online freelancing profile, make sure you have a collection of clips, files and other past projects ready to go in case a hiring manager asks to see them.

“It’s essential for a freelancer to show a portfolio of their work,” Badminton said. “This is a huge opportunity to wow employers and seal the deal.”

Having a rich history of past work can put an employer at ease when considering you for a freelance job, but be careful when choosing which projects to share: Parker reminded prospective freelancers that the sample pieces they provide should be relevant to the task on which they’re bidding.

6 Great Home-Based Business Ideas

Freelance writer

Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you’ll be able to prove to clients that you’re exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you’re naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.

usiness plan service

If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

Massage therapist

Becoming a massage therapist requires proper training and licensing, but if you’re looking for a great career to pursue that you can also turn into a home-based business, massage therapy might be the right choice for you. And with a massage therapy business, you have options: You can either invite clients into your home for appointments, or make house calls for massages.

Interior designer

If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor’s degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn’t feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.

andmade seller

Do you have a knack for knitting, jewelry making or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. In just minutes, you can set up anonline store and start promoting your business.

eb/graphic designer

Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.

6 Game Changing Sports Businesses

From virtual reality sports platforms and game footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.

Whether you’re an athlete or just a huge sports fan, you can turn your skills and passion into a business — just take some inspiration from these companies that are totally changing the game.

EON Sports VR

EON Sports VR is a virtual reality platform that help athletes get better at their sport. The platform simulates different game situations to help players improve their decision-making skills — EON Sports VR boasts an improvement rate of up to 60 percent for players who use the platform. The company offers 3D-playbook and playbook-simulator products for coaches, simulators for athletes, and plans to launch a virtual-reality baseball platform, which you can preview on the EON Sports VR’s website. The company currently offers a simulator, called SIDEKIQ, which is compatible with a headset or projector, and plans to launch a smartphone-powered simulator, too.

i9 Sports

I9 Sports is a company that seeks to make sports more fun — and less stressful and competitive — for young people. According to the company’s website, i9 Sports “offers an alternative to the disorganized, hyper-competitive, win-at-all-cost culture that pervades most youth sports programs today.” The company aims to provide a safe and fun experience that helps kids develop their athletic skills and boost their self-esteem and is more convenient and organized for parents.  I9 operates around five important core principles: fun, inclusivity, safety, good sportsmanship and healthy competition. Started initially as a flag football league, i9 has since expanded, with team sports in soccer, basketball, baseball and cheerleading too. The company offers leagues, camps and clinics for both boys and girls ages 3 to 17 throughout the United States.

Sportsy

Aspiring athletes will love Sportsy, a website and mobile app (available on both Android and iOS devices) that helps people get better at sports. Sportsy members have access to videos to help them learn the proper way to perform drills, special challenges to help them practice the way professional athletes do, and exclusive tips and tricks from professional athletes and coaches. Members can also compete against each other, and upload videos of them playing to get feedback from Sportsy coaches. The company is new and currently only offers these features for soccer. However, Sportsy does plan to launch sections dedicated to several other sports, including basketball, volleyball, tennis, figure skating, surfing, hockey, swimming, skateboarding and even Hacky Sack, among others. Interested users looking for one of these sports can sign up for updates on their launch on the company’s website.

Coachbase

Want to be a better coach? Coachbase is a tremendous resource. The company is part marketplace, part Android and iOS app and helps coaches find, diagram and share new plays. With the app, coaches can ditch chalkboards and whiteboards and switch to using their mobile devices to create new plays for their teams. The app has a step-by-step system for animating your plays, and features automatic backup and automatic syncing so that the plays you create are accessible across all your devices, and easily shared with assistant coaches and players. And through the Coachbase marketplace, coaches can buy, sell and trade plays and drills with other coaches.

Krossover

Krossover is another great resource for coaches and teams. Most teams record their games so they can analyze the footage later and see what went well and what went wrong. Rather than trying to analyze the film yourself, Krossover does it for you. Teams can sign up for a Krossover package for a whole season based on how many games they play per week. Just upload film from your game, and the company’s experts will analyze it and break it down by event, tag it by play and with player information, and extract stats from the footage for you. Athletes can also purchase individual packages to analyze their performance even if their team doesn’t participate in the program. Krossover offers services for basketball, football, lacrosse and volleyball.

Fandeavor

Looking for the ultimate sports fan experience? Fandeavor is here to help. The company aims to help sports fans plan the perfect trip or celebration all at once with sports-based packages that include hotels, airfare, land transportation and game tickets. Hotels are curated based on their distance to the game, their ratings and amenities and things to do nearby, and transportation includes both to and from the airport and the game. Fandeavor also helps customers get the best experience out of their tickets, with unique information and VIP packages for different stadiums. The company can even help you plan a big family sports excursion or gift for a special occasion.

7 Businesses Transforming Travel

Traveling is a rewarding experience. Between food, drinks and sights, there are a multitude of memories and experiences not to be forgotten.

Often, planning your trip and getting to the destination is the hardest part. These 11 businesses aim to make traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.

Snapshots are the best part of vacation; it gives you the opportunity to relive your favorite moments. Flytographer takes that concept and helps you plan a trip. According to the company’s website, you can “meet with one of [the company’s] local photographers around the world, have a stroll together and bring home the best souvenir possible — memories.” Simply search for a photographer you like in the location you’re traveling to and book a photo shoot via the company’s website after you’ve finalized your trip details. When it’s time for your shoot, your photographer will guide you around and take candid photos (though he or she will also take posed portraits, if you prefer).

Love the water but not sure how to properly rent a boat while away?GetMyBoat provides a peer-to-peer marketplace giving boat owners the power to rent their boats and vacationers the opportunity to experience a yacht, speedboat or watercraft of their dreams at an affordable price. GetMyBoat is bridging the gap of boat ownership costs. Boating enthusiasts get the benefits of worldwide inventory without the cost or headache of ownership. And as the average boat is only used 8 percent of the year, boat owners get the chance to make owning a boat more affordable by earning some income from their under-utilized asset, the site said.

Remove the hassle and pressure of planning activities on vacation with Peek. The site curates a selection of fun activities for you that you can book online or via the company’s mobile app. You can also use Peek’s Travel Guides to see an overview of the top things to see or use the “Perfect Days” feature to book a complete itinerary with “insider tips and hidden gems from tastemakers,” according to the website.

If you’re flying solo but would prefer to travel in a group or make new friends while on vacation, The Trip Tribe makes it easy. The company allows members to create a profile and search for trips — they’ll use your profile information to match you with other travelers who share your interests so you can book a trip with like-minded people. When you view trips on the site, you can see which other members are going, as well as the dates, price per person and other important details. Some of The Trip Tribe’s featured trips include an eco-retreat in Puerto Rico, a food and beer tour in Ireland, and a cycling and boating adventure in the Czech Republic.

Welcome Beyond is dedicated to those travelers who prefer to forgo staying in a big-name hotel and would rather have a unique vacation experience. Welcome Beyond strives to curate hotels and vacation rentals that are “truly original.” These exclusive rentals range from quirky to posh and are easy to search for and book. Choose a country and region for your stay, and search by interests like architecture and design, nature and ecotourism, and secluded retreats. You can also refine your search by accommodation type, with selections ranging from boutique hotels to private islands available in more than 30 different countries, including the United States.

If you thought UberBlack made you feel like you were riding in style, try traveling on a jet. Book a seat on a private jet with BlackJet. According to the company’s website, “BlackJet members enjoy the convenience, reliability and private jet experience at prices you would expect from American, Delta or United first class.” As with all flights, costs vary depending on your origin and destination locations and the date of travel, but prices start around $1,000. BlackJet memberships are limited but free until you book your first trip — after that, there’s an annual fee.

Travelers with a spontaneous streak will love Triposo, an app that gives you personalized suggestions for things to do on your trip while you’re on the go. Users can book tours and activities via the app, as well as learn important information about their destination’s history, culture, currency and language. Before you go on your trip, download Triposo’s destination guide to your device, and while you’re there, get real-time updates about what’s going on nearby. Bonus: The app works offline too, so you don’t need to search for Wi-Fi to find your next activity.

7 Unique and Useful Pet-Inspired Businesses

Pets are a part of your family. They play with you, sleep in your bed and gleefully greet you after you’ve had a long day at work. Many pet owners are on the lookout for items to spoil their four-legged friends or that will make their pets’ lives easier. Here are just a few businesses offering unique products and services for your furry family members.

Cats are capable of taking care of themselves for the most part, minus cleaning their litter boxes and getting fed (in some cases, however, they know how to break into that, too). But what if your cat could use a cat-size toilet? Dream no more. The Cat Genie, is a full-size cat box that looks, and operates, similarly to a toilet.

According to the site, Cat Genie is a full-size, automatic cat box that uses permanent Washable Granules. Unlike disposable cat litter, Cat Genie’s Washable Granules never need changing and are 100 percent dust-free, biodegradable and septic-safe. The self-cleaning product rids itself of liquid and solid cat waste without owners ever having to handle cat litter again.

If leaving your felines alone while you go off to work every day makes you sad, Kittyo might be just the thing you need. Cat owners can use the device and app to interact with their furry friends even when they’re not in the same room.

The device, which retails for $249, allows users to speak to their cats, play with them, dispense treats to them and even watch what they do while the owners are gone. The product works by connecting to a smartphone app, which in turn allows you to control the device from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection. You can use the device to shine a laser around the room for your cat to play with and record videos with a few taps on your screen. With Kittyo, you don’t have to work from home to play with your cat on your lunch break.

Do you love your pet so much you want an exact copy? Although actual cloning may not be an option, Cuddle Clones solves this problem by making custom stuffed animals that look identical to your fur baby.

Cuddle Clones creates one-of-a-kind plush replicas of your pets, based on photos and your chosen customization options. You can personalize everything from eye color and ear position to pose and tail position, so that your stuffed animal is as close to the real thing as possible. And yes, you can even get one that’s true to size. You’re not limited to dogs and cats, either; Cuddle Clones will replicate horses, turtles, rabbits, ferrets, birds, pigs and more.

Cuddle Clones also donates to animal-related causes, so while you’re getting a plush copy of your furry friend, you’re also helping Cuddle Clones give back and assist animals in need.

The thought of having farm-fresh eggs at your disposal and an adorable feathered friend to call your own might be appealing to some, but not everyone is equipped to handle a hen. Rent The Chicken gives you the opportunity to see exactly what goes into raising chickens before you bring one into your home permanently.

So how does it work? According to the company’s website, Rent The Chicken provides you with everything you need, including two egg-laying hens, a portable chicken coop, food and water dishes, enough food (with a non-GMO option as well) for the length of your rental time, and instructions for everything. Rental periods are open from May to November, which is when chickens lay the most eggs.

And, of course, if you absolutely fall in love with your chickens, you can adopt them for a fee that includes their supplies.

DoodyCalls says it’s “the nation’s trusted leader in pet-waste-removal services for homeowners and communities.” That’s right — DoodyCalls is the company you call to help pick up after your pets.

Providing dog-pooper-scooper services, cat-litter-box cleaning, patio and deck deodorizing, and dog-waste-station setup and maintenance, DoodyCalls helps keep your yard and community waste-free. According to the company’s FAQ page, DoodyCalls will scoop deer and goose poop, too: “We are happy to help keep any kind of poop off your lawn or off your community common areas.”

Sometimes, you just can’t get outside to take your dog for a walk, or can’t make it home in time to let your pets out to do their business. With The Pet Loo, you don’t need to worry; it brings the outdoors inside, so your dogs can relieve themselves without ruining your carpet.

The Pet Loo is a portable, square pet toilet that has a layer of synthetic grass to resemble the outdoors and drain urine into its base. It also contains a removable waste container for easy cleanup. According to its website, The Pet Loo is ideal for apartments and new puppies, and is a more convenient alternative to pee pads and midnight bathroom breaks. The company also sells cleaning products, odor-eliminating cat litter and more.

Protect your pup’s eyes in a very cute way with Doggles: goggles for dogs. Doggles protect your dog’s eyes from foreign objects, wind and UV light, and come in two different styles that can fit dogs weighing from 3 to 250 lbs. The product features foam face-padding, shatterproof and anti-fog lenses, and adjustable head and chin straps to keep the goggles in place. And, of course, they’re adorable.

According to the website, the pup-friendly eyewear isn’t just for cosmetic purposes, but rather actual protection of the eyes. And Doggles are vet and vet ophthalmologist recommended.

7 Great Examples of Socially Responsible Businesses

In the modern business world, providing a great product and shopping experience will only get you so far. If you really want your customers to keep coming back, you need to let them know that their dollars will be doing some good.

Many businesses recognize the importance of being socially and environmentally conscious, and will often advertise charitable initiatives, such as annual fundraisers for a cause, or a volunteer project their staff worked on. But companies that incorporate social responsibility into their business model prove that a dedication to these initiatives goes a long way, both for the cause and their reputation.

These 22 examples represent just a handful of the countless organizations that put social good at the heart of their business.

Accessibility Partners – Many people take their computers, smartphones and tablets for granted, but for those with disabilities, using these technologies can present significant challenges. Accessibility Partners works with private and public IT manufacturing companies, federal agencies and other organizations to test and review products that make information technology accessible to individuals with a variety of disabilities. More than 70 percent of the company’s employees have disabilities themselves, so the company promotes disability advocacy in all of its operations.

Altered Seasons – Kelly Reddington founded his eco-friendly candle company Altered Seasons in 2003 at age 14 with the help of his mother. When he assumed ownership of the company, he shifted it to a one-for-one model to do more for the community. For every candle sold, Altered Seasons provides a meal to an American in need through Feeding America.

Charitable Agents – Anyone who’s sold or purchased a home knows how cutthroat real estate agencies can be about their commissions and fees. But what if you knew that part of that commission was going to support your favorite charity? With Charitable Agents, a network committed to helping homeowners and Realtors make a positive impact in their community, you can do just that. The company matches buyers and sellers with a top-performing local Realtor, and when the transaction closes, 10 percent of the agent’s commission goes to charity.

Children Inspire Design – Artist and mother Rebecca Peragine began selling her whimsical wall art, cards and posters to promote environmental education for children. In addition to using recycled materials, eco-friendly inks and biodegradable packaging for Peragine’s original designs, Children Inspire Design sells handcrafted paper ornaments made by a women’s cooperative in Mexico, and a special poster whose full proceeds go to Future Fortified.

Cole and Parker – This Canada-based sock company does more than just sell colorful footwear. Through its partnership with microfinance organization Kiva, Cole and Parker donates proceeds from every sock sale to a fund that is used to provide small loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Do Good Buy Us – The mission of Do Good Buy Us is to sell “goods that do good.” This e-commerce website is dedicated to changing consumerism by selling products made by organizations that support social causes. Additionally, 50 percent of the company’s proceeds go toward fighting poverty, hunger, disease and other global issues.

Fashion Project – If you’ve ever donated some old clothes by dropping them into a public collection bin, you know that it’s nearly impossible to discover the impact your donation may have had. Fashion Project, a “re-commerce” platform that allows consumers to donate and shop for secondhand clothes, offers people the opportunity to make a tangible difference with their donations and purchases. Founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk, this company gives up to 55 percent of the net profits from every item sold to the donor’s charity of choice.

6 Delivery Services That Speak to Your Lazy Soul

Delivery is a beautiful thing. You order, you pay, your item arrives. It’s a novel idea that caters to your efficient side, or the core of your laziness. Regardless of why you love these services, it’s hard to ignore how much they have improved our lives when we need them most (busy, don’t want to move from the coziness of the couch) by bringing our items right to us.

Here are six unique delivery services every [lazy] efficient person will love.

Craving food from your favorite restaurant or need to pick up a few things from the store but don’t feel like leaving your house? Postmates, a Web and mobile app, is a unique delivery service that gives you the freedom to get exactly what you want from stores and restaurants that don’t have their own delivery service. Have a craving at 2 a.m. or need something important? Postmates is available 24 hours a day, every day, and allows customers to order everything from pizza and prescriptions to shoes and tech products and have them delivered in under an hour. Deliveries are made by couriers called Postmates, who travel by bike, scooter, car or truck, and the service charges a delivery fee that starts at $5 and varies based on the distance couriers have to travel, as well as a service fee of 9 percent of the purchase price of your items.

Drizly is a business that can come in very handy if you’re throwing a party and just realized you’re out of alcohol, or if you’re hosting a dinner and don’t have enough wine. The app, which is available on Android devices, iPhones and the Web, allows customers to order items for delivery like wine, beer, liquor, mixers and garnishes; and party supplies like ice, plastic cups and bottle openers, so you can stock up without going anywhere. Simply order what you need, pay for it via the app or website and a driver will deliver your items in less than one hour. Drizly does not charge a markup on products, and you can even use the service to send booze as a gift and schedule deliveries up to 48 hours in advance. If you’re in New York, there’s no additional charge for delivery, but in other cities the service charges a $5 delivery fee.

Now that you have the wine, it’s time to create a balanced menu. If ordering food isn’t your thing, Blue Apron will deliver fresh ingredients to your door weekly to create a delicious, healthy meal. Blue Apron offers a two-person for $59.94 per week plan and family-sized plan for $69.92. Meal options consist of Korean pork tacos, crispy salmon or spiced cauliflower among others, which change week-to-week. The website provides a detailed breakdown of the weekly menu. When you click on a specific menu item, it provides an itemized list of what you need, how to prep and videos on cooking the meal. According to the site, you can skip a week or cancel at any time with a week’s notice, and delivery is always free.

Stitch Fix

Hate going to the mall and going shopping but aren’t sure where to start when it comes to online shopping? Stitch Fix is here to assist men and women looking to be fashionable, without having to ever step foot in a mall. After signing up for the service, fill out a profile with your size, style, shape, budget and lifestyle. Next, choose a delivery date that best suits you. When your Stitch Fix Stylist selects your items, you will be charged a $20 styling fee, which will be credited toward anything you keep from your shipment. After you get your items, you have three days to try on the clothes, keep what you want and send back the rest. You’re only charged for what you keep.

Whether you always forget to drop off your dry cleaning, don’t have a washing machine in your home or just hate doing laundry, Washio can help. Washio is a dry cleaning and laundry service that will pick up your dirty laundry and deliver clean clothes to your door within 24 hours. The service is available on the Web and has an iPhone and Android app, and customers can have their laundry picked up any time from early morning to late at night (though the company does have a slightly longer turnaround for weekends, as the staff works reduced hours.) Simply select a 30-minute time window during which a Washio “ninja” will come pick up your laundry, as well as a delivery window for later. For your first order, Washio will give you bags for separating your items along with instructions, and the bags are yours to keep. Bonus: Your Washio ninja will bring you a cookie when he or she picks up your clothes.

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that is perfect if you don’t have time to go to the store yourself or can’t get to the store for other reasons. You can shop online via the Web or mobile app at a variety of stores, from small local shops to big stores like Whole Foods and Costco, and Instacart will then connect you with a personal shopper who will pick up the items on your list and deliver them to your door in less than an hour. The service operates between 9 a.m. and midnight every day, though that can change depending on the operating hours of the store you order from. Instacart uses special tote bags that you can keep or return to your next personal shopper to be reused. If you’re interested in trying out Instacart, you can get your first delivery for free when you sign up. You can also purchase Instacart gift cards for others, or sign up for the service’s annual membership, Instacart Express.

6 Businesses That Put a Unique Spin on Fitness

Getting in shape can be a challenge. It’s not always easy to craft the perfect workout that targets the right muscles and keeps you engaged. Entrepreneurs have been taking new approaches to the way people see fitness and health, encouraging them to embark on a healthier lifestyle by providing fun ways to workout.

These six cool and inspiring businesses are helping people get a better workout and improve their overall health and well-being.

Tone It Up, started by real-life besties Karena and Katrina, offers a lifestyle change for people looking to tone up. They offer a full plan eight-week plan, which includes meal prep and recipe suggestions. If you’re not inclined to pay for a plan, there are simple free daily workouts on their site. The girls encourage a high intensity “Booty Call,” which suggests you do an early morning workout to jumpstart your day. There is also a community to chat about your TIU journey, engaging lifestyle content, and even workout clothes to make you feel confident while you reach your goals.

Wish you could take your workout back to basics? Throwback Fitness, located in New York City, might just be the gym for you. Throwback Fitness takes inspiration from your favorite recess activities like dodgeball and capture the flag to create a fun, more social way to exercise than what’s offered at the usual fitness franchise. You can also participate in fitness takes on college party games like flip cup. For a real feeling of nostalgia, the gym is decorated with retro movie posters and plays music from the ’80s and ’90s.

You’ve probably never thought about attending a rave before heading to the office, but that’s what Daybreaker is all about. The business has locations all over the world, and throws regular dance parties from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The events are alcohol-free, but they do serve coffee and juice, and they’re a great alternative to your usual fitness routine.

If you’ve ever wished you could combine yoga and water sports, Paddle Into Fitness is the answer to your prayers. This business offers yoga classes on paddleboards, which makes this activity a total-body workout as well as a calming, healing experience. Paddle Into Fitness is based in San Diego, but has instructors all over the world, from Ontario and Oahu to South Africa and Hong Kong. Paddle Into Fitness also offers certification classes for those who want to teach classes.

If your usual trips to the gym are starting to feel boring and predictable, try a visit to Brooklyn Zoo, a facility in New York that offers training services in parkour (a discipline involving movement past obstacles and everyday structures), trampoline, tumbling, dance and even ninja warrior training. Some of the classes Brooklyn Zoo offers include breakdancing, aerial silks, contortion and circus class, which includes juggling and unicycling. Brooklyn Zoo spans two floors and there’s something interesting for everyone, whether you’re a total beginner or an exercise expert.

Pound puts a rock-star spin on fitness by including drumming in its workout routines. The business created its own lightly weighted drumsticks, called Ripstix, which are specially designed to amp up your workout. The workouts themselves consist of cardio moves and strength training to go along with the drumming, and sessions set to music that is carefully chosen to go along with the exercises you’re doing. Pound has several locations across the United States and has franchising options for those interested in opening their own Pound venue.