Forget Pumpkin Spice. This Guy Cashes in on an Unexpected Fall Favorite
Remember the guy who turned 2015’s Boston blizzards into a chilly side hustle, Ship Snow, Yo? He returned, this time offering autumnal cheer with way fewer calories than a pumpkin-spice latte.
Kyle Waring launched Ship Foliage in October 2015, offering to ship a trio of genuine New England-sourced maple leaves almost anywhere in the world for $19.99 per pack, plus shipping.
Waring said he received 250 orders in his first week, which amounts to a cool $5,000 in revenue from Ship Foliage’s launch alone.
Foliage as a Service (FaaS): Short Harvest, Long Preservation Process
Although the video makes it look like collecting leaves to sell is as simple as taking a field trip, this business has a short, tough season.
“The foliage season typically lasts until the first frost, which is usually the very beginning of November,” Waring told us in 2015. “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!”
The preservation process is time consuming, but necessary to prevent leaves from arriving as an envelope full of dried-up leaf crumbs. Waring said it takes seven days.
“I’ll soak each leaf in a glycerin solution mixed with water and a small amount of ammonia for two [to] three days,” Waring explained, before air drying and pressing between book pages for a few days.
Can the Ship Snow, Yo Guy Conquer Four Seasons of Shipping?
While the revival of Ship Snow, Yo depends on Mother Nature’s plans for the Boston area each 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 [me].” He planned to take time off after snow-shipping season, but he has considered 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 admitted.
In the meantime, Ship Foliage has… shall we say, blossomed. The company isn’t just shipping envelopes of preserved leaves anymore.
Waring, with help from two part-time employees, distributes leaves to New England retail stores and offers more than 20 products, from preserved leaf jewelry to seasonal gift boxes.
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. She has firsthand experience with crumbly leaf envelopes.