Another week, another selection of interesting new business ideas from around the world: teen party suites, revending machines, container shops, fair ticketing and online communities for sports fanatics. Our next edition is due on 11 October 2006. In the meantime, check out our daily postings on www.springwise.com, send us your tips, and please don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues about us. Much appreciated!

 

October 03, 2006
 
 

Kids’ birthday parties are not what they used to be. More than a small soiree at home, with food, fizzy drinks, games and screaming kids, children’s parties have gone sophisticato. It’s estimated that UK parents are spending in excess of GBP 1 billion on giving their children a party to remember.

With more and more parents keen to outsource the noise and mess, Alton Towers has stepped up to the plate to fill a gap in the market. The latest suite to be added to the Alton Towers Hotel is the Sleepover Suite. A themed room designed to hold the ultimate girls' night-in, where up to six friends can share an evening of deluxe, unadulterated and uninterrupted fun. Picture a sound-proofed, bright pink room, enabling a night of blaring pop-music and girly shrieking. The suite is divided in two – an area for partying and a section for sleeping. The party section features a state-of-the-art home entertainment system with a plasma TV, a Sony PlayStation, a mini-dance floor, a karaoke machine, a pink fridge brimming with ice cream and chocolate and a library of chick flicks for an all night movie marathon.

The sleeping section includes six Chill-out beds by SilentNight which can clip together to make one. The bathroom area is girl-party friendly with wall-to-wall mirrors, dressing tables and lots of complimentary pampering products from UK health and beauty outlet Superdrug. The opportunities for cross promotion with other brands is limitless. :-)

The Sleepover Suite's pilot test launched July 14th and costs begin at GBP 300 per night, with demand already strong for this new concept.

Website: www.alton-towers.co.uk/hotels/sleepover.asp

Contact: Rachael.lockitt@alton-towers.com

Spotted by: Aubray Lynas

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October 03, 2006
 
 

A co-operative venture between Stirlingshire Vending and Reverse Vending Corporation brings reVend & Spend, a product innovation that utilizes advanced technology to identify, sort, collect and process used beverage containers.

Reverse vending machines (RVMs) are as the name suggests, vending machines that allow consumers to deposit used beverage containers. Instead of spewing out junk food, the machines invite customers to insert their trash for recycling. Once a customer deposits a used container, the machine sorts it and crushes, compresses or shreds, reading a container's barcode to determine the type of material. Capacity varies per model, but stand alone machines hold 1000 cans and/or PET bottles before needing to be emptied. The machines run on about 40 watts of electricity per day.

The basic premise behind the concept is that consumers get the ‘feel good factor’ by doing something for the environment in an easy and efficient way. Machines can come fitted with a modem that monitors the success of the machine and can publish recycling statistics. In the future, award schemes could be set up whereby organizations/schools can be recognized and awarded for how much they’ve recycled.

Machines can also be fitted to dispense vouchers which customers can collect and cash in as further incentive to reVend. Ideal for workplaces or schools, it’s a great way to excite children about recycling. Every large company, school, shopping mall and tourist attraction could do with a few of these machines. That's a big market. If you're an entrepreneur with a thing for vending machines, get in touch with ReVend!

Website: www.reversevending.co.uk
Contact: info@reversevending.co.uk

Spotted by: Steve Stothard

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  Need to come up with 2007's winning ideas?  
October 02, 2006
 
 

The latest in the world of pop-up retail? From Singapore comes the Venue VBOX, a portable store in a shipping container, which can be set-up temporarily. Any place. Any time.

The VBOX enables a brand or company to follow an event they wish to align their brand with, or pop up where consumers least expect it. Tag along with a photography exhibition or set up shop temporarily at a large sporting event. Brands can even showcase items that consumers may not otherwise be able to purchase elsewhere: just fill the VBOX with one-offs or special editions and you'll pull in consumers with the prospect that they'll able to purchase something unique.

The VBOX comes self-contained and equipped with an iMac and iPod HiFi. It's entirely ready to go; all that needs to be done is fill it with enticing products. To date the VBOX has housed collections by some of the fashion world’s most prestigious names: RAF SIMONS (Prada Group) and limited PUMA designer co-labs by Alexander McQueen, Christy Turlington, Mihara Yasuhiro as well as CDs, magazines/books and Motorola phones.

Whether the VBOX is placed in a remote village in Spain, on a beach in California or on the ski slopes of Canada, it's a refreshing way to inject fun and excitement into a brand and win over a swag full of new consumers. Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO used container stores for its recent launch in the United States. More about that here. And for much more on pop-up retail, check out trendwatching.com's overview.

Website: www.venue.com.sg
Contact: jacque@venue.com.sg

Spotted by: Shan.XC

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October 02, 2006
 
 

Enabling easy online ticketing minus hefty fees, Seattle based Brown Paper Tickets aims to make the sale of tickets fairer for all. A consumer- and vendor-friendly alternative to Ticketmaster, Brown Paper Tickets offers buyers lower ticketing fees (USD 0.99 per ticket plus 2.5 percent of the sale price).

A quick, easy and affordable online ticketing system, all ticket sellers or event promoters need do is plug in the event information and direct people to the website for ticket purchases. The service can also take care delivery and refunds. Unlike other ticketing services, Brown Paper allows clients to sell tickets from their own website, too, instead of forcing a concert or theatrical production to be married to one agency. This allows smaller productions to do as much external marketing as they wish, to maximise ticket sales.

The concept really allows anyone to become an event producer and ticket distributor – charity sports game, dinner with friends, indie concert, high school theatre, you name it. Perfect for minipreneurs! Since fees are low, more money stays with the artists and organizers, and less is taken from consumers. Brown Paper paves the way for other ticketing companies to reduce ticketing fees and change their ways or perhaps lose the markets they currently dominate.

Website: www.brownpapertickets.com
Contact: support@brownpapertickets.com

Spotted by: Jessica Robinson

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September 29, 2006
 
 

Meet friends of friends, create an online community, share photos, journals and interests with a growing network of mutual friends – that was the concept behind myspace.com. In a similar attempt tiredandtested.com (UK based) and sportsmates.com (US based) have recently introduced to the online world social networking sites specifically for sports players and fans.

Both sites are aimed at the sports nut, be it a player, fan, club, league or just someone trying to organise an event or social sporting network. For people from any sporting background, any level, any age. Both networks enable users to create user profiles, friend lists, set up email lists, and find other members who share common sporting interests or live in a similar location.

tiredandtested.com, developed by Chris Ward (of Friends Reunited), Mike Lee OBE and supported by Terry Venables (England assistant manager), allows the user to create a real social space from a virtual home. “Tired and Tested gives every sports fan, player or club the chance to live a little of the lifestyle of a sports pro,” says Venables.

The site offers a lengthy list of features which enables users to:
• personalise player profiles, choose their favourite sports and clubs,
• create and run their own club, league or event website
• add their favourite pro clubs and players
• meet like-minded sports fans and players
• join sports teams and clubs in their area
• organise fixtures, results and tables
• keep up-to-date with breaking sports news
• write match reports in their online scrapbook,
• share photos, blogs and videos
• create their own teams kits and add them to their profile.

sportsmates.com enables users to start their own club, the club doesn´t even have to be a real existing club, it can be completely virtual and users can invite other users from anywhere and everywhere to join and play in the virtual club.

Unique to sportsmates.com is the introduction of a ranking system which enables users to earn points and a corresponding ranking for positive contributions (e.g. on message boards, adding useful links, and having highly ranked contributions by other users). Likewise abuse of the system results in point deductions. This enables a self-policing community wherein members can quickly gauge another member’s credibility and reputation by looking at their ranking.

By recruiting friends, users can earn even more points, then when those friends recruit their friends, the initial user gets a kickback as well. However if those friends lose points due to abuse, so too does everyone in the hierachy. Hence encouraging members to only introduce friends that they know will make a positive contribution to the site.

Revenue generation for sportsmates.com is initially achieved through advertising, but they quickly hope to implement a model which that combine sponsorship, opportunities for the inclusion of brands, e-commerce, offline and online events and paid services.

As the online community continues to embrace and welcome the online social networking space, it opens up the gates for more and more niche communities to come to the party. Like-minded individuals who share similar interests are going to create strong communities that are more likely to stand the test of time. Find a niche that brings people together (check out our previous post on Mesh Tennis), one that evokes true passion amongst its users, and watch the advertising dollars roll in.

Website: www.tiredandtested.com
Contact: www.tiredandtested.com/contact.html

Website: www.sportsmates.com
Contact: suggestions@sportsmates.com

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