In an Internet-connected, information-saturated world some businesses are finding that the more they narrow their focus the easier it is to find success. Niche, highly specialized businesses once had difficulty staying profitable, however now that their customers can find them online, there’s a possibility for significant revenue.
At Nibletz, we love hearing how startups are carving out new niches and creating industries that never existed before. Over the years, we’ve noticed more and more companies are shifting away from being a one-stop shop in lieu of being a highly specialized entity for a specific customer or one part of a much larger process. Below is a look at five companies that are doing just that through hyperspecialization.
Pacific Bio-Material Management Inc.
Every city has dozens of moving companies, but virtually none of them are equipped to meet the strict regulatory requirements of moving biological materials. Pacific Bio-Material Management Inc. (PBMMI) specializes in providing secured biological storage for super sensitive (and expensive) biological materials that can also be transported between facilities. PBMMI’s founders were privy to the strict regulations of the laboratory industry and knew that this niche market was significantly under served. However, with the way that medical advancements and experimentation are growing this may not be a considered a niche market for long.
While companies like PBMMI are helping researchers save lives, Eternal Reefs is helping to save precious underwater reefs with human ashes. The founders, Don Brawley and George Frankel, have created a highly specialized business for eco-conscious people that want their remains to help marine life thrive. Eternal Reefs infuses a person’s ashes with cement to create ball-like structures that are lowered into the ocean where they become habitats for aquatic animals. The company touts itself as a new, more eco-friendly way of scattering ashes at sea.
From death to birth, entrepreneurs can find niches at all stages of life. Two New Jersey dads, Vinit Bharara and Marc Lore, created a business that was solely built around delivering diapers on demand. After finding no online solution for buying a steady supply of diapers, the Diapers.com founders created their own. While baby products aren’t necessarily a hyperspecialized market, their approach to focusing on diaper delivery was. The business has been so successful that Amazon.com bought Diapers.com for $545 million, and now the company sells many more baby-related products.
Artisanal Pencil Sharpening
It may not seem like it, but pencils are still used today. It turns out enough are being used to support David Rees’ pencil sharpening business. The problem with pencils is that, if used enough, they eventually need to be sharpened. Rees, a former political cartoonist and avid pencil proponent, created his artisanal pencil sharpening business because he knew there were other old-school craftsmen out there that relied on their trusty pencils. It is a highly specialized service, but out of it has come a book as well as a National Geographic documentary. As a part of the service, Rees even saves the shavings and ships them back with the pencil along with a signed certification that the pencil has been expertly sharpened.
Red Rider Leg Lamps
Cult classics sometimes have a huge following, but it’s rare for a business to actually capitalize on a movie’s popularity. However, Brian Jones turned his love for the movie A Christmas Story into a highly successful company. Red Rider Leg Lamps specializes in making replicas of the movie’s famous leg lamp. For an extra fee, they will even deliver it in a wooden box just like in the movie. In the first four years of business alone, the company generated about $700,000 in sales.