Top 10 lifestyle & leisure business ideas in 2006

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We’re deviating from our regular schedule to bring you the best new business ideas we covered in 2006. Below, our lifestyle & leisure favorites.

  1. Dream job holidays: Taking a Vocation Vacation, potential career-changers can test-drive their dream job before taking the plunge. A few years ago, Vocation Vacations’ founder Brian Kurth left his job and tried something new. Realizing he wasn’t the only person stuck in a corporate lifestyle he didn’t enjoy, he came up with the idea of making it possible for others to test the waters without having to quit their jobs. The idea is simple: customers use the ‘Dream Job Finder’ to pick a job they’d like to try out. More »
  2. Being spaces for writers and parents: Remember trendwatching.com’s being spaces trend? This third-room phenomenon (commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren’t the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin) continues to evolve. From an entrepreneurial point of view, Springwise particularly likes the following being spaces spottings: New York’s Paragraph and The Village Quill are members-only centers catering to writers who need a space to be away from it all and actually get some writing done. More »
  3. Dating 3.0: Nothing seems to inspire innovators more than online dating. Adding to the plethora of new dating concepts, South-African yesnomayB is the world’s first dating site relying on collaborative filtering. The site makes recommendations to members on other members they might fancy. This is how it works: as a user, you look at pictures of other members, and select yes, no, or mayB. Your favourites are put into your own private ‘blackbook’, while yesnomayB then secretly puts your picture in front of those people, to see if they like you too. More »
  4. New hotel includes work space for non-guests: The Hoxton Hotel just opened its doors in a hip neighbourhood in London’s East End. Besides the usual meeting spaces for guests, the Hoxton also offers private offices for non-guests. Perfect for getting work done between meetings in London. Each office features a desk, free wireless internet, a phone and a private bathroom. The offices are open from 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays and are currently on offer for just GBP 19 per day. Offering work space to non-guests is a smart sideline for hotels, who should be able to incorporate them with existing (underutilized) business centres. More »
  5. Wedding webcasts: Springwise loves forward-looking ventures that manage to stick around until their time has truly come. Like webcastmywedding.net, which broadcasts weddings to a couple’s friends and family unable to come over from (or to) far flung places. Customers need a video camera, laptop, and high speed online access. The company then charges USD 395 for setting up a live stream of the event, support for up to 25 simultaneous viewers (who are sent a url and password), and an on-demand archive of the wedding for 10 days. More »
  6. Table with a view: Some new business ideas are admittedly over the top. Here’s one we couldn’t resist – Dinner in the Sky. Belgian Dinner in the Sky offers event organizers a new way to make their event highly memorable: a table, with 22 seated guests, is suspended from a crane. The specially built table is surrounded by chairs of the type usually found on roller coasters, with four-point seat belts. Hoisted 50 meters (164 feet) above ground, safety is a reasonable concern. More »
  7. Being space for mobile warriors: The Coffee Office is built for business – meeting spaces, workstations, conference rooms and café are combined into a centre for mobile professionals. Based in Windsor, Ontario, The Coffee Office was founded to offer business professionals everything they need to stay productive outside a traditional office, in what trendwatching.com calls a being space. A café section is open to everyone, and like the rest of the building, offers free high-speed wireless internet and plenty of power points. The rest of the space is reserved for TCO members, who have access to private workstations and conference rooms. More »
  8. Saucy chic: Regular readers know we’re fond of saying that everything can be upgraded. Case in point? Worlds away from tawdry shops frequented by men in overcoats, Kiki de Montparnasse has turned the sex shop into an erotic boutique. Adopting the stage name of Alice Prin, a nightclub singer/model/painter who was photographer Man Ray’s muse and lover in 1920s Paris, Kiki’s Lower Manhattan store is anything but sleazy. Described as ‘Madame de Pompadour meets Monica Vitti’, the store is luxuriously furnished and dimly lit. More »
  9. Snowboard for the street: A modification of skateboards, Freebords are designed to mimic the behaviour of a snowboard on a ski slope. Not only are they larger than standard skateboards, they also include two additional castor wheels down the center line of the board, sticking out just a bit more than the four side wheels, and allowing the board to carve and slide like a snowboard. According to Freebord: "You can hug a tight turn or drift a long, gentle slide, float a 360 or ride switch. More »
  10. Sitters with a creative touch: A singer, a dancer, a painter – take your pick, these are just some of the creatives that New York parents can hire as their child’s babysitter for the night. Eugenia Bachaleda, a musician, and Kristina Wilson, a performer, combined their talents to devise Sitters in the City for a modern twist on baby sitting. Both Bachaleda and Wilson enjoyed performing but also loved working with children, and so they found a way to use their artistic talents to inspire and entertain children. More »
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