Business as (Un)usual

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Small businesses are great at serving their specific demographic. They zero on their exact needs and make people's lives easier, or weirder. If you can think of it, there's probably someone who's making a profit from it. Whether they're providing socks that come in threes, cuddle sessions or glasses to look at the sun, these 11 companies prove that you can be successful running any type of business, even if it isn't exactly conventional. Whether they're providing socks that come in threes, cuddle sessions or a mobile wedding chapel, these 10 companies prove that you can be successful running any type of business, even if it isn't exactly conventional.

Here comes the sun

Teaching a large group about the eclipse? Want the group to look at the actual eclipse? American Paper Optics has you covered. According to the company's site, the solar eclipse glasses provide safety for viewing all solar eclipses. Eclipse glasses and eclipse viewers block out 100 percent of harmful ultra-violet rays, 100 percent of infrared, and 99.999 percent of intense visible light. The smallest quantity that can be purchased is 25 at $0.85 apiece.

An organization for cuddling

Sometimes you need the comfort of another person. There's nothing like a good hug or a solid cuddle, but what if you don't have the option of an embracing partner? This is where Cuddle Party comes in.

According to the company's website, Cuddle Party is a "playful social event designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries, and affection." These events are safe spaces where attendees can go to meet and talk to new people as well as to practice consent and asking for what they want, and yes, to just cuddle. Cuddling with strangers may sound like a strange concept, but there's value in their mission to teach boundaries, consent, affection, communication and non-sexual touch. The company, which was founded in 2004, is actually a federally recognized non-profit education organization.

A mystery marketplace

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A mystery marketplace Interested in something new but aren't sure of what you want to get? SomethingStore can help. This retailer gives customers who love surprises the opportunity to purchase a brand new (never-used or refurbished) mystery item, or a "something" for $10.

According to the company's website, "your 'something' may be a cool shiny gadget, rare book, party game, handmade necklace, reverse clock, box of gourmet chocolates, portable table tennis set, and so on. Anything goes, so long as it's legal to trade in the United States and is worth at least $10. The company has sold more than 200,000 somethings since its inception in 2007.

A starchy message

If you're having trouble getting your message across to someone, you can deliver it in the form of a potato with the help of Potato Parcel

According to the site, you can compose "all kinds of fun messages" in 15 words, including those with more colorful language. The company vets hateful, harmful, or threatening messages and will not process orders with messages that have wording like this, so keep your potato messages fun when using this service. Once you send it, the recipient will be delivered a package containing your Potato Parcel.

The leftover sock saver

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Doing the laundry is a part of life, no matter how boring it is. It's risky, though: Somewhere in the journey from the hamper to the dresser, you could lose one of your favorite socks. And then what?

With Throx, you can reduce the chances of handling another lonely leftover sock. The company helps customers fight the infamous "sock monster" by selling socks in threes, not pairs. That way, when you lose one, you've still got a backup sock to keep the other company, so you can keep wearing your favorite pair and doing your laundry worry-free.

Throx's socks are one-size-fits-all and range in price depending on the design, though most cost around $10.

A mobile wedding chapel

Need to get hitched quickly on a budget? The Wedding Wagon may be able to help. This unique mobile company founded in Las Vegas provides a full wedding ceremony out of the back of a van for just $129.

You choose when and where you want to get married — by the colorful fountains of the Bellagio, for example — and the wedding wagon will meet you there with a minister, a witness and a fully decked-out mobile chapel. For an extra hundred bucks, the Wedding Wagon will even arrange to meet you at some truly beautiful venues, such as Tahiti Village's 10th floor dining patio or Red Rock Canyon State Park.

A dog-sledding business

Credit: Photo Credit: Muddy Paw Dog Sled Kennel
Adventurists in New Hampshire can feel like they're running the Iditarod thanks to a local company. The Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel offers a variety of dog-sledding trips, ranging from a quick, 20-minute ride to an overnight voyage through the White Mountains. The kennel has more than 100 sled dogs, including Alaskan Huskies, Siberians and Malamutes.

The company says its tours let participants interact with the dogs and learn aspects of a culture that many people never get to experience. Muddy Paws offers dog-sledding experiences that last two hours (in addition to other types of dog-sledding experiences), which includes 30 to 40 minutes meeting and greeting sled dogs and preparing their sled(s) with their musher, which involves harnessing and hitching their team, etc., 50 to 75 minutes on the trail, and of course, treats. There are always a few minutes at the end for guests to thank their team and "tip" them with cookies — just don't feed the mushers, the site says.

A furniture business for slobs

unique businesses, furniture for slobs
Credit: Slobproof!
Have an incontinent cat or a spit-up-prone baby? You might be interested to know that there's a company devoted entirely to helping people like you.

Slobproof, a Maryland-based furniture and design company, builds custom chairs, sofas and ottomans with specially engineered fabric that withstands spills and other messes without staining.

Debbie Wiener, the company's founder and CEO, said she started the business after marrying a slob, having two sloppy babies and acquiring a few messy pets. Wiener said her design style marries the "common sense of a Jewish mother with the muscle of a professional wrestler." Sounds like a winning combination.

A used cardboard box marketplace

Whether you're moving and need containers for transporting your items or you spend too much time online shopping and don't know what to do with all the cardboard boxes, BoxCycle can help.

Founded in 2008, BoxCycle streamlines the processes of obtaining and getting rid of cardboard boxes. Instead of throwing out used boxes, businesses or individuals with an abundance of boxes can go online to and post how many boxes they have, and what sizes. In turn, those looking for boxes can see a list of sellers, and their box sizes, in their area. The entire transaction is then completed online. Boxes on the site sell for between 38 cents and $1.25 each.

A fantasy dating company

Are you a (slightly competitive) single gal seeking a more interesting love life? This next weird business is for you. Fantasy Dating Game is like a grown-up version of "Truth or Dare," and it's way more interesting than a run-of-the-mill date.

Fantasy Dating's creator, Suzanne Casamento, said she built her business, in part, because she was sick and tired of hearing her single girlfriends complain about their lackluster love lives. Much like fantasy sports leagues, the Fantasy Dating Game allows single women to earn points by flirting with guys at Starbucks, slipping their numbers to cute bartenders and going on actual dates. Casamento said her site empowers women to take charge of their own love lives and gain confidence through dating.

An anonymous delivery for smelly friends

Credit: SWAGO Scents/
If you've ever wanted to anonymously let a friend know they smell, now you can, thanks to The site is run by SWAGO Scents, a business that sells cologne wipes for on-the-go freshening up.

According to the website, "Everyone has a stinky friend. A classmate, co-worker, boss, sibling or other stank suspect. Those days of smelliness are over — here is your chance to tell them what's up." How? All you have to do is put in your credit card information and your recipient's address, and choose whether you want to send one cologne wipe for $1.99, or a set of four for $4.99.

The company's FAQ page says that there is nothing the recipient can do to link the package back to you, and that each package comes with a short note that is not mean and does not contain profanity. Even if it is anonymous, it's probably not smart to send one of these packages to your boss or co-workers if you want to avoid any potential HR issues. But, if you want to prank your friends, might just come in handy.