Joel goobich, 41, found the paints at his son's school unpalette-able when he attended a kindergarten open house in 1991.
"I was disappointed with the lack of creativity and color," says Goobich. "The paints were dull and blah."
Goobich was job hunting at the time--the chemical company he worked for was relocating to North Carolina, and he didn't want to go. So instead he found himself up to his elbows in paint in his Cleveland basement, mixing up batches of colors that were to dye for.
"I wanted something that felt good, looked good and didn't smell bad," recalls Goobich. He may sound like a kid at heart, but he's also a parent: All Colorations Inc.'s products are nontoxic and easily washed off clothes and kids.
His kids, incidentally, were more than just inspiration for the business. "They did all my research and development," says Goobich, who moved the business to Atlanta in 1995. Indeed, one of the things Goobich likes most about entrepreneurship is seeing children using his products. He sees it often, with Colorations paints now sold in Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot and school supply catalogs in the United States and in eight foreign countries, for total 1996 sales of more than $1 million.
The art of entrepreneurship has Goobich showing his true colors. "I've discovered I'm a very creative person," he says. "And I like what I do."
Couple finds a wrinkle in the market.
John and Wendy Bialek celebrated a milestone in 1976. That's the year they founded Magique Novelties Inc. Today, it's other people's milestones that keep the Bialeks in business.
Magique Novelties is best known for its Over the Hill products--a line of gifts and novelties aimed at the age-old tradition of making fun of old age. When they opened their novelty store, John, 47, and Wendy, 42, focused on Halloween products. In the 1980s, however, they gradually shifted into the wholesale market--and that's when the Over the Hill line took off.
"We just couldn't keep them in stock," says Wendy of the black roses, Over the Hill canes, black decorations and other products.
Wendy's tips for would-be novelty wholesalers: "Keep
your product fresh, light and funny." A no-
minimum-order policy has also helped Magique persuade retailers to try the products on their shelves.
Magique sold almost $4 million in Over the Hill products last year, but the Bialeks aren't living in the past: New lines in the works focus on wedding, baby shower, and anniversary gifts and decorations.
Cleaning up with goat's-milk soap.
Sharon and Arvel Boatner's youngest son had a problem with dry skin. So when Sharon, 37, read that homemade soap might do the trick, she tracked down a 100-year-old family recipe for goat's-milk soap she could make on their goat farm in Hamilton, Texas.
"She would experiment every night on the stove," says Arvel, 54. Sharon spent 13 months and $20,000 perfecting the recipe the couple has sold since 1990 as Nanny's Best.
"We now have home [sales] parties, we sell to hotels, and we have about 600 distributors in the United States and nine foreign countries," says Arvel.
Nanny's Best products are still made on the Boatners' farm (they're also opening a manufacturing plant in Australia later this year), and their line has expanded to include such products as Grubber Soap and Texas Style Cowboy Soap Chips. Prices range from $3 for a family-sized bar of oatmeal soap to $12.50 for a 24-ounce bottle of Cactus Shampoo.
"I can sell anything to anybody," says Arvel. Nanny's Best sales atBODY to that: The Boatners sold more than 200,000 bars of soap in 1996.
Colorations Inc., 2875 N. Berkeley Lake Rd., #10, Duluth, GA 30136, (770) 232-3000;
Magique Novelties Inc., 240 Westgate, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (630) 653-7712;
Nanny's Best, 270 CR 409, Hamilton, TX 76531, (800) 687-GOAT;