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Category Archives: Business

8 Inspiring and Creative Cosmetics Companies

The beauty business is a huge industry, and with a seemingly endless supply of brands large and small covering hair, nails, makeup and skin care, it can be hard to stand out. But some companies find a way to make a name for themselves or do what no one else has done before. Whether they’re taking products typically laden with chemicals and turning them all natural, putting a scientific spin on skin care or creating products more colorful than you’ve ever seen, these eight creative beauty businesses are sure to inspire you.

Manicure lovers know that most nail polishes contain some not-so-natural ingredients. Habit aims to change that so you can enjoy beautiful nails without all the toxic ingredients. According to the company’s website, Habit’s polishes are vegan, cruelty-free and free of toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and camphor. The polishes are made with myrrh, an extract that helps strengthen nails, and the bottles are made with a bamboo overcap to be more sustainable.

Science nerds will love NER:D Skincare, a company that grows — yes, grows — bio cellulose face masks. Bio cellulose is a thin woven structure of polysaccharides (aka sugars) that develops from acetic acid bacteria (AAB), which can be found naturally and in products like balsamic vinegar. NER:D Skincare’s masks use an AAB family called Acetobacter xylinum, and the company has bred this strain to create a smooth, even pattern of microfibrils, or fiberlike strands that adhere easily to the skin. The masks have a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) rating by the Food and Drug Administration and are marketed by the company as having hydrating, soothing and anti-aging effects.

Many cosmetics come in containers that are too big to travel with, and expire before you can use up all the product inside. Stowaway Cosmetics is a brand looking to change that. With essential makeup products ranging from beauty balm and concealer to mascara and lipstick, Stowaway Cosmetics has everything you need in minimalist containers, all of which are small enough to travel with and use up before the expiration date, so you never have to toss out a half-empty bottle again.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is a perfume company that creates handcrafted scents with a dark, romantic, Gothic tone. According to the company’s website, the company specializes in scents that are inspired by pagan and mythological blends, as well as medieval, Renaissance and Victorian formulas. All of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s perfumes are hand-blended and cruelty-free, and though some products are honey-based, the rest are completely vegan. All of their products use essential oils that are safe, therapeutic and as natural as possible. The company also works with charity programs like Green Power for a Green LA, the Red Cross and the Humane Society.

Your favorite bath products might smell good enough to eat, but what if you had soap that looked as delicious as it smelled? Soapopotamus — an Etsy shop that sells soaps, body lotions, perfumes and other handmade skin care products — can help. Soapopotamus is known for its incredibly realistic food-shaped soaps, with bath products in everything from cinnamon rolls and donuts to sushi and pizza. You can even buy mini soaps that look like roasted chickens, carrot cake, toast with jam, macarons, Rice Krispies treats, fortune cookies and gummy bears.

Shaving creams and other hair-removal products can contain a lot of chemicals, but Pacific Shaving Co. is all about keeping things natural and sustainable. The company makes affordable shaving essentials that are all-natural, eco-friendly and good for the skin. Pacific Shaving Co. has products for men and women made with ingredients like avocado oil, aloe, shea butter and green tea, and sells everything from shaving creams and postshave moisturizers to exfoliating scrubs and blade oil for razors.

Looking for makeup to express your personality beyond the usual red lipstick and black mascara? Lime Crime is the brand for you. With unapologetically colorful makeup options that are highly pigmented for the lips, eyes and nails, Lime Crime has a shade for everyone. (That even includes mint-green lipstick!) According to the company’s website, Lime Crime is run by an independent team of makeup lovers from Los Angeles, and all of their products are true-to-color and cruelty-free. Lime Crime also makes it a point to give back some of their proceeds to charity.

Melbourne, Australia-based Frank Body harnesses the power of coffee to create skin care products that target stretch marks, scars, cellulite and skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. All of the brand’s products are formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, silicones, mineral oils, glycols or other additives. Rather, the products are made using natural and naturally derived ingredients like coconut oil, mint extract and cinnamon — along with coffee, of course. According to the company’s website, because coffee has the same PH as your skin, it won’t dry it out — plus, ground coffee is a natural exfoliator, and caffeine helps stimulate blood flow when applied topically to the skin, which aids in the treatment of many of the aforementioned skin conditions.

6 Gaming Startups Poised to Be the Next Big Thing

The video game industry is seriously big business. If you have any lingering doubts about that, Amazon.com’s $1 billion purchase of Twitch — a video game streaming website that’s one of the Web’s most-visited pages — should put that argument to rest. But even in a multibillion-dollar industry that has already eclipsed music and movies as the top-grossing entertainment medium, there’s still plenty of room for the little guys. With the advent of crowdfunding and online video game distribution services like Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, even a sole entrepreneur has a chance to break into the gaming industry — at least, if they can make a great product. Here are six up-and-coming video game startups to watch out for.

Alien Trap

Who says a team of two can’t produce some of the most anticipated and visually striking indie games of the year? Alien Trap was originally founded in 2002 by Lee Vermeulen, but didn’t really get off the ground until 2009 with the release of “Capsized,” a 2D sci-fi shooting game with lush, hand-drawn graphics. Now the studio is prepping “Apotheon,” an action-platforming game set in Ancient Greece that’s also notable for its art style, which is inspired by the painting style of ancient Greek pottery. Vermeulen and artist Jesse McGibney, who met in college, are getting ready to launch Apotheon later this year.

Sean “Day[9]” Plott

Here’s a gamer who turned his passion for competing into a thriving business. Plott, known on the Internet by his gaming handle Day[9], got his start as a professional gamer playing a sci-fi strategy game called “StarCraft” on his PC, raking in cash prizes for winning big matches. He later turned his focus to commentary, providing in-depth analysis for the game’s biggest tournaments and becoming one of the most-recognized voices in competitive gaming. Later he launched his own channel on Twitch.com, where thousands of players pay for subscription access to “Starcraft” strategy video. And last year, Plott announced that he had joined a small game company called Arillery, where he’s helping develop a browser-based strategy game. With someone of Plott’s expertise at the helm, the new game — titled “Project Atlas” — is one to watch.

Pillow Castle

Pillow Castle’s mind-bending new puzzle game is one of the most unique video games of the year. The tiny development studio created “Museum of Simulation Technology,” a game that’s all about forced perspective. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to the way that objects look bigger when you’re close to them, and smaller when you’re farther away. The game challenges you to solve puzzles by manipulating camera angles to create optical illusions, which you can use to reach previously inaccessible areas. “Museum of Simulation Technology,” created by five students from Carnegie Mellon University, raked in a slew of awards in the past year when it appeared as a demo at big game shows around the world. The Pillow Castle crew is currently developing another first-person puzzle game called “Muse,” but not much is known about it yet.

Virtuix

What if playing games could give you a workout? They can if you’re playing with the Virtuix Omni, a special gaming apparatus that lets you actually walk or run to control your character in a video game. Virtuix founder Jan Goetgeluk launched a Kickstarter for the project last year and raked in more than $1 million to create a mass market version of the device. To use the device, gamers strap themselves into a special harness, then walk, run and turn while their game character mirrors their movement.  But it’s not a treadmill — players wear slick-soled shoes and essentially slide about on a fixed ramp. With plenty of upcoming games to support the device, and native integration with Oculus Rift, the Virtuix Omni is one device to watch.

Campo Santo

This small team of seven developers and artists is preparing to launch “Firewatch,” an eerie first-person mystery with a strong narrative hook. The player takes control of Henry, a man working as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness who wanders into the woods one day. He must rely on help from one person on the other end of a radio to guide him to safety in the new game, which puts the focus on exploration and story instead of action or combat. The small Campo Santo development team, based in Portland, Oregon, is composed of developers with a strong track record in the industry, having worked on popular games like “The Walking Dead” and “Mark of the Ninja.” Now that they’ve set out on their own, they’re producing what looks to be one of the most promising and hotly anticipated indie games of the year.

Oculus VR

OK — Oculus VR isn’t exactly the scrappy startup it once was, after the company was acquired by Facebook last March for $2 billion. But founder Palmer Luckey might be the poster child for how a good gaming idea can pave the way to serious success in a very short period of time. Luckey founded Oculus VR in 2012 to develop a head-mounted display for immersive “virtual reality” gaming.  The headset, dubbed Oculus Rift, racked up nearly $2.5 million in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for the project, allowing for the development of the first device that could display PC games in full HD right in front of your eyes, and react dynamically to your head movements. Now that Facebook owns Oculus VR, the company has nearly limitless resources to push the tech in new directions.

5 Wedding Businesses to Help Couples

Anyone who’s ever attended or hosted a wedding knows that these events are big business. Engaged couples often seek out the best vendors in the industry to ensure their day is perfect — and they’re willing to pay a hefty price for it. According to the 2016 American Wedding Study, the average wedding cost of a wedding is $26,522, nearly as much as a year of tuition at some private universities.

Brides and grooms are (understandably) picky about the services they choose to make their nuptials special and memorable. These unique businesses help couples make their pre- and post-wedding plans as stress-free as possible.

Though not all couples choose to have one or both spouses change their last name after marriage, those that do often find the legal process intimidating.MissNowMrs.com makes it simple by streamlining all the paperwork you need in one place for one flat fee. Newlyweds looking to make the switch answer some questions about their current and married names and various accounts they hold. Then, these answers are used to complete the appropriate forms. Proofread, print and file, and your legal name change is well underway.

Kristen Rocco, founder of Love Notery, has always been a communicator. Her passion for storytelling led to a fruitful public relations career (even working with Gary Sinise, better known as Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump). Like any good romance, she took a leap of faith with Love Notery to tell great love stories. Rocco’s journalistic skills help her craft a customized “love story” through in-depth interviews with couples. The stories are then printed out as an heirloom keepsake.

This app is a multilayered wedding tool, with checklists for the engaged couple leading up to the wedding, vendor lists, ways to stay on budget, and tools to create a wedding site and registry, the site said. The Knot, which also published a print bridal magazine, even has answers to various social and etiquette questions answered by experts. In addition, the app provides a countdown to the day, so nearly-newlyweds can stay excited.

The quality of smartphone pictures has greatly improved, making collecting guests’ wedding photos worthwhile — and a pain. WedPics is a free app that aggregates wedding photos captured by guests. Users can keep photos organized with the albums feature, which is great for capturing photos of all wedding events such as the engagement party, wedding shower, rehearsal dinner, reception, ceremony and more, the site said.

Registering for wedding items often means signing up with multiple brands to create the best registry. Zola consolidates the process by allowing couples to register for a variety of brands, curated experiences and cash funds on a single page, the site said. Zola goes a step further by giving you autonomy with shipping: Each time you receive a gift, the site notifies you to ship now or later, or in the case of cash gifts, transfer to your bank or convert to a Zola store credit.

5 Businesses Disrupting the Online Fashion World

The world of online shopping is evolving, and a number of new startups are bringing new ideas and innovations to the online fashion business. Here are five companies taking a new approach to online shopping.

Fovo is a new, highly personalized website focused on changing the way women shop for clothes by focusing on body shape rather than size. Shoppers visiting the website will see a five-question survey. They are asked to click on a body shape closest to their own and to provide their dress, pant and blouse sizes. The site calculates a result from the survey responses, which is used to provide shoppers with a personal feed of apparel that will look good on them. This feed will advertise only clothes that are in-stock and appropriate for the customer’s body shape.

Lab No25 says its behind-the-scenes fashion content, which includes videos of fashion shoots and the process for selecting featured items, sets it apart from other e-commerce websites. The site showcases a mix of well-known and up-and-coming brands while also incorporating European designers, making them more accessible to U.S.-based shoppers.

Garmentory offers shoppers a boutique shopping experience in the comfort of their own homes. This website takes the work out of bargain hunting by offering a curated selection of sale items from a variety of boutiques. Once customers find a piece they like, they can make an offer on the website. The website then sends those offers to the boutique selling the specific item. Once offers are accepted, boutiques send the items to the buyer for free.

Fynd is a fashion search engine that makes online shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers. The website serves as the user’s personal shopper, making it easier for people to locate the specific items they want, rather than getting overwhelming with pages of content. Once a shopper has liked an article of clothing, a feed will show up with similar items.

Le Tote is one of the few fashion websites that charges customers a set, monthly price for unlimited clothing deliveries. Shoppers can add clothing to their “totes” to rent; the items then get shipped to them, and shoppers simply need to ship the clothes back once they are done. Customers can also choose to keep some of the clothing and be charged by the website. Each user also gets a personal shopper, who sends surprise additions to each customer’s tote based on previous orders.

8 Spooky Small Businesses Cashing In on Halloween

October 31 might only come once per year, but for many retailers, event planners, and costume designers Halloween is a full-time business. The holiday has grown into a multi-billion dollar annual industry, and while many companies are happy to simply seize on the marketing opportunity, these eight companies have built their entire business around the season of spirits.

“You have 60 minutes to escape the room. There is 1 hungry zombie chained to the wall. Every 5 minutes a buzzer sounds & the chain is released another foot from the wall!” That’s the description of Room Escape Adventure’szombie-themed escape room. You’ll have to gather the clues and solve the puzzle if you want to avoid being eaten by the undead.

Three Muses Clothing has been selling women’s Halloween costumes and accessories online since 2005. Four years later, owner Candy Keane opened a retail boutique in Florida to sell her one-of-a-kind sexy (but not NC-17) outfits year-round. In addition to carrying popular costume brands like Leg Avenue, Three Muses also sells handmade items from local artists.

This online store features made-in-the-USA items and vintage collectibles from Halloween past. Vintage Halloween sells party supplies, ornaments, clothing and accessories, stationery and other products related to the holiday. While the Arizona-based retailer sells throughout the year, special sales and giveaways are reserved for October.

Larry Kirschner owned and operated several haunted houses in the 1980s and ’90s before founding HauntWorld, the largest global database for Halloween resources and activities. Part discussion board and part directory, HauntWorld’s website and magazine allows members of the haunted house industry to connect and share their insights, while haunt seekers can locate attractions like haunted houses and trails in their area.

For more than a decade, The Horror Dome has been providing animatronics, props, masks and costumes for homeowners and Halloween attractions. The online retailer’s products have been featured on TLC, “Mythbusters,” Jay Leno, and even in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

Ever wonder how to get unnatural-looking eyes like you see on monsters, vampires and other Halloween characters? Try ordering special effects contact lenses from Haunted Eyes. Based in Wyoming, this e-commerce startup sells high-quality prescription and nonprescription lenses in colors, special patterns and even full-eye black (sclera) for that spooky, theatrical effect.

Halloween Adventure is a year-round retail store for costumes and accessories. A landmark for all costume and Halloween enthusiasts in New York City’s East Village, the two-story shop spans an entire block (it cuts through from Broadway to 4th Avenue) and sells a wide range of outfits, from pop culture icons to unique, offbeat characters.

This haunted house empire has been running for more than 20 seasons.SpookyWorld, which also owns Nightmare New England, operates seven attractions in New Hampshire, each more frightening than the last. Every year, SpookyWorld strives to change and refresh its haunted houses to keep its visitors terrified.

Find Your Dream Business Ideas

Starting a business takes, before anything else, a great idea.

Inspiration is everywhere, all around us just waiting to be articulated. Sometimes, that inspiration comes from looking at existing businesses and thinking about how they succeeded where others might have failed. New and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a lot from other companies, especially those who saw a unique need and filled it with an innovative product or clever service.

If you need some serious inspiration for your business ideas, then check out these stories. They profile companies in industries from food and travel to art and music, and everything in between. You may even find some to be quite out of the box, exactly the way you need to think to create a truly successful company.

For when you’re searching for holiday gifts for your clients and co-workers, shopping for the perfect birthday present for your boss, or just looking for business inspiration, here are five companies with unique business models that can help. From mobile gift cards to personalized sweet treats, these businesses put a whole new spin on gift giving.

Now more than ever, the best food often comes from tiny carts, stands and trucks. These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.

These companies don’t just give children and young adults something fun to do after school or when school’s out for the summer. They also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, improve their health and further their education in other ways — keeping parents everywhere happy, too.

The legal cannabis industry is rapidly growing as more states adopt both medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. An industry research group projects that cannabis will be worth more than $20 billion in less than 5 years, meaning now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fledgling business.

Back-to-school season isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of businesses out there that can help make starting a new school year a lot less stressful for students, parents and teachers.

From facilitating new ways to display art in your home or office, to giving artists new mediums to showcase and sell their work, these businesses put the “art” in “startup.”

Whether you’re looking for products or want to start a business that brings it back to basics, you need to check out these inspiring all-natural businesses.

Beyond record labels, major streaming services, equipment retailers and concert venues, there are a lot of ways business and music intersect, and these music businesses are really changing the game.

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.

Fortunately for all you vegans out there, more and more stores and brands are dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, covering everything from food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories.

While many organizations do their part by increasing recycling efforts, sourcing local materials and using energy-efficient equipment, some have taken their eco-friendly efforts to the next level by basing their entire business models on these principles.

Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don’t book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!

From afterlife preparations to unique burial methods and memorials, there are more businesses related to death than you might expect, including these seven totally killer businesses that will probably give you the heebie-jeebies.

Successful businesses all have one thing in common: They solve a problem for their customers. But some problems are less pleasant than others, and some are downright disgusting.

From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are seven unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t know existed.

These breakup-inspired businesses know what it’s like to get dumped and are taking advantage of it. But don’t worry, unlike your ex, they’re not really taking advantage of you.

Whether they’re making use of a critter’s natural behaviors or pampering your pet to the fullest, these 10 companies have your four-legged friends in mind.

While most companies simply run Halloween-themed promotions during October, these eight startups have built their businesses entirely on the season of spirits.

Your wedding day should be flawless, and these services are here to help. To make sure your big day goes off without a hitch, take a look at these businesses that are dedicated to helping couples like you plan the best day ever.

7 Crafty Culinary Businesses

The restaurant business isn’t the only entrepreneurial option for food lovers. The desire to offer people a unique culinary experience has spawned interesting food trucks, subscription services and green eateries, to name a few.

These 7 businesses have succeeded because of their off-the-beaten-path approach and delicious delicacies.

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and Philly pizza jointRosa’s Fresh Pizza truly lives up to its hometown’s name. The restaurant is decorated with a wall of colorful sticky notes worth $1 (or one slice), which feeds its homeless visitors.

“One day, a customer asked to buy forward a slice for a homeless person,” Mason Wartman, the owner of the shop, said in a video for the Ellen DeGeneres show. He then purchased sticky notes, which now cover the wall of the restaurant. “Then a homeless person takes a sticky note and trades it in for a slice of pizza.”

According to the video, Rosa’s feeds approximately 40 homeless persons a day. Visit for a slice of pizza and the gift of giving back. If you’re not in the Philly area but still wish to help out, the restaurant has set up a donation page.

Since the growth of subscription services, items for dogs (made by the humans obsessed with them) have gotten really popular. The Farmer’s Dog is a subscription service which delivers healthy farm-to-dog bowl dishes carefully formulated for your dog’s breed.

Answer a questionnaire about their breed (mixed or otherwise) weight, activity level, current dog food, and The Farmer’s Dog suggests the perfect combination of healthy ingredients, all of which are sourced from restaurant suppliers and human food purveyors. According to the site, the dog food is never frozen and delivered days after it is cooked. Furthermore, the recipes are tested on humans, for a happier and healthier pup.

If basic, store-bought ice cream isn’t unique enough for you, Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will likely meet expectations. Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery is an Oregon-based ice cream parlor that serves liquid nitrogen ice cream, and every order is custom, so you can have any flavor you want.

According to the company’s website, the liquid nitrogen “freezes everything so fast that ice crystals don’t form,” making its ice cream extra smooth and creamy. Customers choose a base — premium milk, nonfat sugar-free milk, or vegan coconut milk — then from more than 30 different flavors like caramel, cheesecake, coffee, gingerbread, and mint. From there, customers can choose from dozens of different mix-ins like almonds, bacon, cereal and chocolate chips. Mix ‘n’ Match makes the ice cream right there in front of you, with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

Opaque, a restaurant in California, promises to change your view of going out to eat by wining and dining you in the dark. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like—you eat your meal in a pitch black dining room.

When you arrive at Opaque, customers look through the menu in a lighted lounge and order food. The restaurant’s staff will then check coats and bags, and lead you to your seat. According to the restaurant’s website, Opaque is staffed by blind and visually impaired servers who have been specially trained to serve food in the dark.

Dining in the dark may seem like a strange concept, but according to Opaque’s website, it’s all about having a more in-depth sensory experience with your food. Opaque has multiple locations in California.

The food truck trend has hit its stride. Popular trucks in major cities have long lines of eager customers waiting outside on their lunch breaks. But Drive Change, a hybrid profit/nonprofit organization, is taking food trucks to a new, socially-responsible level by giving back to the community.

The organization hires, trains and mentors formerly incarcerated young adults, and the food trucks serve as a form of transitional employment with the ultimate goal of preparing these young people to go back to school or start full-time employment.

Drive Change currently operates only one food truck, located in New York and called Snowday. It farm-fresh foods prepared in their kitchen in Brooklyn and served at the truck. Drive Change plans to open more food trucks in the future, and each truck “employs and empowers 24 young people per year.” All food truck sales go back into the organization’s re-entry program to help more former inmates get on the right track.

Back to the Roots was started by two college students who were inspired by something they learned in a class: You can grow mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. Co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez wrote of their experience, “After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers.”

In an effort to get people more connected with their food, Back to the Roots created an easy, 10-day grow-your-own organic-mushroom kit. Their organic mushroom farm comes in a small box (the mushrooms grow right out of the box) and simply requires watering twice a day.

The company also sells a “garden in a can” product that makes growing organic herbs at home even easier, a self-sufficient water-garden aquarium (the fish feed the plants and the plants keep the water clean), and ready-to-eat organic cereals.

Do you love cheese? Bet you don’t like it as much as Sarah “The Cheese Lady” Kaufmann, who makes her living as a traveling cheese sculptor.

She creates cheddar-cheese carvings for grocery stores, sporting events, festivals, photo shoots, and any other business or event that needs a giant hunk of cheese. Kaufmann has carved everything from a scene of the first moon landing to the Chicago skyline.

Though she makes most of her money carving cheese, Kaufmann also hosts seminars, where she informs audiences about the art and traditions of cheese making.

7 Places to Find Businesses For Sale Online

 Want to be an entrepreneur? You don’t necessarily have to start and build your own brand-new business; sometimes the best move is to buy and grow an already-established company.

Aspiring owners who don’t know where to start should consider looking into websites, which direct you to the best businesses and properties for sale. From there, you can decide which best fits your entrepreneurial goals and budget.

Here are seven companies to find a business to take over:

BizBuySell.com boasts that it is “the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace” and offers users options to buy a business, buy a franchise, sell a business, get help with financing and more. Users can search for businesses by category, state and country, and even set a minimum and maximum price. You can also search franchises by type, state, and amount of capital you have available to invest. Or, you can search for a business broker near you.

Search on BizQuest.com for your desired businesses, franchises or business brokers by location and business type or industry. And perks for sellers are good, too: BizQuest.com allows you to post ads in just five minutes. The ads are then shared on the company’s partner websites, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. BizQuest.com also gives you the option to browse listings in top cities as well as the most popular franchises and industries.

BusinessBroker.net has more than 30,000 business-for-sale listings just waiting for you to sift through. As with the other websites, you can search for businesses and franchises, find brokers and see listings by industry and location. BusinessBroker.net also has a finance and loan center that offers professional help to guide you in your business purchasing decisions.

MergerNetwork.com has more than 15,000 active business-for-sale listings around the world. It allows sellers to post ads for their business for free and connect with over 14,000 entrepreneurs, investment bankers and business brokers.

This website currently has more than 62,000 business listings in the United States and around the world, including available franchises. Users can search by business sector and location to find the perfect business for them.BusinessesForSale.com also has features like email alerts and a services directory for those who need accountants, brokers, lawyers and more.

With more than 800,000 listings available, it’s easy to understand whyLoopNet.com is a reliable resource for discovering businesses for sale in your region. If you’re already a business owner or an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, LoopNet is available in app form (on Google Play and in the App Store) to peruse listings on your schedule, from wherever.

Additionally, the site is partners with commercial real estate firms like Century21, Chusman & Wakefield, CBRE, Sperry Van Ness, and Re/Max Commercial.

On the other end of it? If you’re looking to sell your current business, LoopNet provides the opportunity to list your business.

BusinessMart.com, like many of the other websites, has both businesses and franchises available as well as resources and services to help you get funding. It also allows you to search by location and business category, or search franchises by your available capital.

How to Launch Your Own Clothing Line

 Have you ever dreamed of being a fashion designer? Maybe you could never find clothes you liked so you made your own, or maybe you fell in love with your home-ec class in middle school. However this path started for you, it has the potential to end in a successful fashion brand.

You might not be showing your line at New York Fashion Week, but you can still create and launch your own line. The founders of independent clothing lines shared their secrets to success.

Matthew Johnson, owner and designer at Seventhfury Studios andSeventh.Ink Shirts and Apparel, founded Seventh.Ink in 2007 as a way to showcase his artwork on clothing. Before he began producing and selling his shirts, hoodies and accessories, which includes patches, pins, and art, he took the time to learn everything he could about the fashion industry.

“It really does pay to do your research,” Johnson told Business News Daily. “Read articles and interviews from your favorite brands, talk to those brands and check out websites like How to Start a Clothing Company (HTSACC) to get as much insight as you can.”

In an article for Entrepreneur, contributor Toby Nwazor said that knowing where to produce the clothing line is an extremely important decision because the clothing line’s initial quality will be what the business’ reputation is based on, for better or for worse.

The fashion market has always been a crowded one, so to stand out, you need something truly unique. Albam Clothing, a U.K.-based menswear brand started in 2006, started with co-founder Alastair Rae and his business partner designing with eight original styles, which would become Albam’s line of high-quality men’s fashion.

“The idea was borne out of a joint frustration that we had over the price and quality of men’s clothing available at the time,” Rae said.

Albam’s success stems from its founders’ dedication to producing something different than what was out there on the market. Similarly, Johnson stressed the importance of bringing something fresh to the table.

“If you squeeze out the same thing that everyone else is making, people are going to go with the existing brand instead of you,” he said.

To build up your initial inventory, you’ll need the money to produce it. HTSACC defines an “indie” clothing line as one that wants to produce high-quality products and plans to expand in the future once the brand grows. The site estimates that indie brands need a minimum of $500 to get going. If you want in-house production, it could take as much as $10,000 in startup costs. Five hundred dollars to $2500 is usually where most indie brands land.

“I ended up doing preorder designs once I got the hang of the business,” Johnson said.  “I was able to get an idea of what was selling and have the funds up front to pay for production.”

Nwazor wrote that to ensure a profit, the entrepreneur must establish wholesale and retail rates higher than the expenses. A target for these rates would be to earn a profit margin 30 to 50 percent higher than associated expenses, he said.

Making your own clothes by hand is fine when you only have a few customers, but as your brand grows, you may need to outsource in order to scale your operation. Johnson enlisted the help of a screen-printing friend to produce the clothing for his Florida-based company. Rae, on the other hand, was developing new fabrics for Albam clothes and wanted to find local manufacturers right off the bat.

“A big challenge for us was convincing factories that we were serious about manufacturing in the U.K.,” Rae said. “They were not used to new businesses approaching them.”

To prepare for manufacturing, Nwazor suggested securing capital through investments from others, typically loans, or from the entrepreneur’s personal money. The initial investment will range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending upon inventory and quality.

Knowing how to market is critical for success. Having a good website for you brand makes it easier for customers to shop for your products, but advertising is what drives them to the site. Johnson quickly learned that paid advertising just wasn’t worth it.

“I realized that word of mouth was the best way to spread the news about my brand without dropping a lot of money,” he said.

Nwazor agrees that a great online presence is important.

“You have a lot to lose if you don’t move your business online, because the online commerce market is more important than brick-and-mortar location,” he wrote.

“Listen to your customers’ feedback,” Rae advised. “Don’t be afraid to remake old styles that customers are asking for, or kill a best-seller if it feels like the right thing to do.”

Johnson also recommended getting customer input before making major changes, and if you do modify your brand, do it slowly.

“A sudden switch is not only going to make customers question [your brand], but it’ll likely cause sales to plummet because people have a tough time with major changes when they have a good thing going,” Johnson said.

Like any startup, clothing lines take a lot of hard work and dedication. You will meet some challenges along the way, but if you believe in yourself and your brand, you’ll succeed.

“Owning a clothing line isn’t an easy or glamorous endeavor,” Johnson said. “It’s tough work that pays off successfully if you give it your all and enjoy what you do.”

Tips to Start a T-Shirt Business

 Thanks to online marketplaces and the many shoppers looking to buy products over the web, selling online is easier than ever. One of the possible avenues for entrepreneurs, especially those looking for a design-oriented or artistic business, is the T-shirt market.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start an online T-shirt business, you could purchase an expensive T-shirt printer or screen printing equipment. But you don’t have to; you can get your business off the ground with minimal startup capital — as low as $50, according to some experts. Compared to other types of startups, an online T-shirt company is low-priced and simple to launch, and you don’t even have to manage order fulfillment.

Your t-shirts can contain simple words, fully printed designs or a combination of both. Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop can be great tools to help you create your designs. Adobe offers low-priced monthly subscriptions; Adobe single apps are available for $19.99 per month. Adobe and online education companies such as Lynda.com offer a wide variety of Adobe classes to help you develop your design skills.

If you have ideas but don’t have the skills to produce your designs, you may find affordable graphic-design freelancers through sites such as Guru, Fiverr and Upwork. Rates are often affordable and negotiable. If you want to start designing without Photoshop, T-Shirt Magazine contributor Ana Gonzalez recommended Placeit, which offers clothing mock-ups for as little as $29 per month for nine images.

Whatever your idea is, do your best to make sure you are not infringing on another designer’s ideas. You can do this by conducting an online search of trademark databases like U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and/or hiring a patent lawyer to help you determine whether your design is similar to one that has been copyrighted or trademarked.

Printing equipment can be expensive and requires you to purchase inventory. You may ultimately want to do your own printing, but when you are first starting out, you can use an on-demand T-shirt printing company, such asPrintful, Print Aura, Scalable Press, Teespring and Amplifier — all you need to do is submit your designs and they’ll take care of the rest. Many printers, including these five, offer order fulfillment services, so you never have to worry about inventory and shipping.

Most of these types of services offer features specifically for small businesses, including no minimum purchases, no inventory requirements, no monthly fees, volume discounts and mock-up generators. Based on our research, other factors to consider when choosing a printer include t-shirt selection (colors, sizes, styles), print quality, turnaround time, cost, integrations with e-commerce platforms and return policies.

You can easily create an e-commerce website using a service such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, Square Space, Big Cartel or Amazon. Many of these services will allow you to use your own domain for an additional cost, and many will work with the print company of your choice. You’ll want to verify how well the printer works with your website or shopping site technology before you purchase.

Besides the basic business website standards like your company logo, product listings and contact information, you’ll also want to include specifics such as sizing charges and fit information. Your customers will want to see detailed color variations as well. When you are first starting out, you’ll likely just start with T-shirt mock-ups and then evolve to real-life images using models as you grow.

Lindsay Craig, a social growth expert at Spaces, a website builder offered by Shopify, said most of the initial planning and creation process of starting a T-shirt business is free. The first expense you may incur is buying your custom domain. Google charges $12 per year for a domain, Square Space is $20 and Shopify starts at $13 per year. Using Shopify’s Spaces, you can build an online shop for free and then upgrade it starting for $4 per month.

Craig suggested you start with three to five T-shirt designs. If you are not a designer, you can use royalty-free fonts from 1001 Fonts and low-priced artwork from The Noun Project to get started. T-shirt templates are available so you can create realistic images of your designs rather easily. If you do not have access to Adobe Creative Suite, you can start using free applications such as GIMP to create your designs.

Once you have some designs created, you’ll want to order some sample product so you can see the quality of the shirt and printing. Craig noted that is one of the larger expenses and will cost you around $20. All of those expenses add up to less than $50. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase a business license, and prices for those vary greatly depending on your area.