My original example discussed clothing (which has other potential spin-offs and room for expansion), but I can also tell you about another potential market that relates to homebuilding or renovations...
...finding an architectural fixture or design element to either match existing items or to serve a new function.
In my current job, designing construction and renovation projects, I have searched for a key cabinet that was secure, but made out of wood with a nice finish, rather than metal (as is the standard). I have tried to find a "classy" style of buzzer (actually a momentary switch that releases the lock on secured doors to allow entry), but I wanted something fancier than a plastic doorbell because it was going into a high-profile lobby area of a command office.
By the way, I was not able to find either one of these items, even though I searched extensively on the internet (and I`m not one to give up easily).
And just think of all the people who do renovations on older homes and other buildings. Where can they find items that maintain the architectural character of the structure and its original decor when they renovate? I`m telling you, there is an untapped market available for someone who would be willing to create a working business model. I`m sure that Restoration Hardware saw the potential for this market when they created their product line.
Speaking of revenue models...
My thoughts on how this might be set up would have a range of prices. (cjpeeps, I`m particularly thinking of this structure for what you`re doing.)
I`m sure there are other ways to do this, but I thought I`d throw out this concept to get others thinking of these types of details.
Let`s help cjpeeps as our model subject, and submit our collective ideas to advise her through the process of making this a viable business! She`s already developing a forum full of potential customers.
Thanks for the info and I am working on the research and feasability part of this idea. I`ll let you know what I think. It really is incredible to me to have so many people that can brainstorm something with their knowledge and experience as an asset. Cudos to Jeff and Richard! It`s working....
I can and do offer such a service for lingerie. I have helped many women who knew exactly what they wanted but didn`t see it on my site and didn`t have the time or the patience to look around. As a retailer, I have countless resources. I can`t possibly put all the merchandise on my site, but love to help women find what they want. I`ve also helped men. Men are very specific about what they want. Please contact me if you are looking for lingerie. As for a charge, I consider it part of great customer service. It`s my job and I love it! Let me know if I can help you.
Sorry it has taken so long for me to get back in the groove on this post.
The idea about an online shopper for the shopper would be ideal for those of us who find our time limited. I think peeps has a head start on it due to her integrity and go-get-it-ness. I know she jumped up to the counter when I made the request and came through with shining colors.
One line I wanted to address on this issue is the pricing. I kinda agree with denise on the way to handle the pricing but I would suggest a retainer fee (to cover the loss of time vested should the individual back out). This way your time isn`t wasted on a bunch of useless searches. I hate to sound cynical but people have a way of asking you to perform a duty and then backing out at the last minute. I guess this is why lawyers ask for a retainer fee. Don`t want to go around giving out free legal advice.
The retainer fee could be a percentage based on the expected value of the item. Purchasing a few for a retail environment could be feasible, but then you would be looking at a whole lot of different merchandise with few items in stock. That can be aggravating unless you have a warehouse and inventory management system. Not something you`d want to try to partake in your garage. Although if you are looking at fast turn around, you can always list the items at a small markup as a wholesale lot on an auction site. A little profit is better than no profit. But if I were you, unless you are ready to work with two businesses at once, I`d suggest going with the one you want the most.
Anyways, that`s my outlook on this situation. Have fun with it.