How to Make Money

This Guy Just Made $5,000 Selling Something That’s Probably in Your Backyard

October 20, 2015
by Lisa Rowan
Writer and Producer
Fall Leaves

Remember the guy who turned last year’s Boston blizzards into a chilly side-hustle, ShipSnowYo? He’s back, this time offering autumnal cheer with way fewer calories than a pumpkin-spice latte.

Kyle Waring launched ShipFoliage.com in early October, offering to ship a trio of genuine New England-sourced maple leaves almost anywhere for $19.99 per pack, plus shipping. (No word yet on international shipping options.)

Waring said he received 250 orders in his first week, which amounts to a cool $5,000 in revenue from ShipFoliage’s launch alone.

Foliage as a Service (FaaS): Short Harvest, Long Preservation Process

Although the video below makes it look like collecting leaves to sell is as simple as taking a field trip, this business has a short season.

“The foliage season typically lasts until the first frost, which is usually the very beginning of November,” Waring explained. “Based on some of the discussions with meteorologists and research, this year we’ve experienced a warmer fall. I’m hoping the season lasts until mid-November!”

Each order promises one red, one yellow, and one “mixed-color” leaf, which the ShipFoliage website notes “are especially challenging to find, and are by far the rarest leaves with the tightest window to process and preserve.”

The preservation process is time consuming, but necessary to prevent leaves from arriving as an envelope full of dried-up leaf crumbs. Waring said the process takes seven days.

“I’ll soak each leaf in a glycerin solution mixed with water and a small amount of ammonia for two-three days,” Waring explained, before air-drying and pressing between book pages for a few days.

Four Seasons of Shipping?

While the revival of ShipSnowYo depends on mother nature’s plans for the Boston area this winter, autumn tends to be reliable. Even a five-week shipping period for leaf lovers worldwide could provide Waring a considerable nest egg.

But what’s he going to do to corner the seasonal shipping market in spring and summer?

“I’m not looking to dominate all four seasons of shipping,” Waring claimed. “Shipping businesses are quite a lot of work, both for my wife and I.” He’s planning to take some time off after snow-shipping season, but is already considering options for a spring service business for the Boston market.

“I’m not entirely sure if there’s a defensible product for spring and summer that’s unique to New England,” Waring admits.  

Your Turn: What do you think of this business — ridiculous, or something you wish you’d thought of first?

Lisa Rowan is writer, editor and podcaster living in Baltimore. She has firsthand experience with crumbly leaf envelopes.

by Lisa Rowan
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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