Friday, October 19, 2007

How To Make Half A Million Dollars ... With Ducttape

It’s sticky, and many Americans have a roll, just in case, but a number of resourceful entrepreneurs have made duct tape the focus of their businesses.

Garett Croft Stenson was broke and living with his parents in Portland, Ore., after college when he crafted a few wallets out of duct tape — a hobby he had learned in his dorm room. Mr. Stenson brought them to a local market to sell for $8 to $15.

The small, thin, brightly colored wallets were a hit, to the point where demand was outpacing supply. Soon Mr. Stenson was hearing from stores interested in selling his product and selling his wares at art shows nationwide.

“I thought, this could be a real business,” said Mr. Stenson, who was spending up to 90 hours a week making wallets. “I made the decision to take on an S.B.A. loan and hire people to help produce them. It evolved from something handmade for a street market to, ‘Let’s go big with this.’ ”

Five years later, Mr. Stenson’s business, DB Clay, is manufacturing a thicker type of duct tape in China and hoping to make at least $500,000 in sales this year. And he is not alone.

Dozens of small businesses make wallets, handbags, jewelry and other products out of duct tape.

Matchmaking May Be An Old Concept But It Still Makes Money

Why One Company Decided To Give Away Free iPods