People find all kind of weird ways to make money. From carving giant hunks of cheddar cheese to making bacon-flavored...well, everything. Check out these 10 weird businesses that are finding startup success.
A furniture business for slobs
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 company 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.
What do you do when your sweetheart asks for a Ms. Pac-Man machine for Christmas? If you're Michael Ware — founder of Dream Arcades, a California-based company specializing in recreating vintage arcade games — you just build her one.
Dream Arcades' machines use Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) software to take retro-gaming enthusiasts back to the glory days of Pac-Man, Asteroids and Dragon's Lair.
The company, which says it's the world's largest manufacturer of noncoin-operated arcade games, delivers premade machines as well as DIY kits. Dream Arcades has even delivered an arcade to a U.S. research center in Antarctica. At least those researchers' thumbs are warm.
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.
A business devoted to bacon
J&D's Foods makes a huge variety of edible products — mayonnaise, popcorn, croutons — and all of these products have one thing in common: They taste like bacon.
Founded in 2007, J&D's was started by two friends whose mutual love of bacon led them to the logical conclusion that everything in life should taste like this savory meat product.
They started by creating a bacon-flavored salt that could be added to nearly any food to lend it that distinct, cured meat flavor. Since then, J&D's has expanded its offerings to include much weirder products, such as bacon-flavored lip balm and, of course, its highly popular Mmmvelopes (that's right: bacon-flavored envelopes).
Maker of wearable human remains
Why leave the remains of a loved one in an urn, gathering dust, when you can wear them around your neck instead? Purple Cloud Studio, an art glass studio in Land O' Lakes, Fla., creates custom keepsakes using the ashes of beloved family members and pets.
Michele Palenik, the artist behind this unique business, asks clients to ship her half a teaspoon of remains, which she then seals in glass pendants, bowls and paperweights.
Palenik also creates ash-free pieces using recycled pieces of antique glass scavenged from shipwrecks.
Want a perfume that smells like freshly baked cookies? Wish your hair could smell like a slice of lemon pound cake? Mrs. Brown's Bath Bakery understands these olfactory cravings and satisfies them with a line of bakery-inspired bath products.
Nadine Brown, founder and owner of this Arizona-based company, has created an entire line of soaps, scrubs, toothpastes, hairsprays and other products that look remarkably like real baked goods.
Luckily for unsuspecting cookie thieves, all of Brown's bath products are made with 100 percent organic, food-grade ingredients.
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 your last boyfriend's fantasy football league.
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.
Posthumous memory deliverer
Losing a loved one is difficult, no matter how you spin it. But Immortum, a virtual "memory box" service, tries to make the pain of death more bearable for those left behind.
By recording the memories of the elderly and those with terminal illnesses on audio and video, Immortum helps people remember their loved ones, even after they have died.
Immortum customers can specify when they want their "postlife chronicles" delivered to loved ones, be it immediately following their deaths, several months after or 50 years later.
The company also offers a free, Web-based version of its "postlife chronicles" service, as well as free e-tributes and digital obituaries.
Mobile wedding chapel
Need to get hitched 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.
'Sympathy food' delivery service
What do you give to those who have recently lost a loved one? You're probably thinking flowers. But although flowers are pretty, they're ultimately useless to mourners. This is why David Storke, a former funeral director from Virginia, founded Sympathy Food. Storke's company delivers family-style meals to grievers all over the U.S. So, if you want to send a little comfort food to someone far away, there's no need to cook and ship your famous lasagna. Whether it's a full pot roast or some vegetable stir fry, Sympathy Food delivers all the goodness of a home-cooked meal without any of the home cooking.
This story was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Elizabeth Palermo on Twitter @techEpalermo or Google+. Follow BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.
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