From the May 1998 issue of Startups

Adding artistic flair to a room has never been easier. Flood customers' homes with light and art with only the flip of a switch using Art Plates, which replace dull switchplates with beautiful works of art.

Art Plates switchplates come in 90 designs, including reproductions of fine art by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Klimt. Other designs feature cats, sports, musical motifs, cherubs, ocean life and celestial scenes. The handcrafted switchplates are available in either double- or single-switch format, depending on the design.

Wholesale price: $5 to $6. Suggested retail price: $9.95 and $11.95. Minimum order: $100.

From Art Plates, Tarzana, California. To order, call (888) 343-2350.

What's New, Pussycat?

By Jessica Hale

Greeting cards are going to the dogs. With Litterature's line of pet greeting cards, your next customer could be a Rottweiler sending a birthday card to the Siamese down the street. Choose from 101 different cards designed for pets to give people, people to give pets and pets to give each other. The quaint cards feature images from turn-of-the-century postcards on the outside and clever greetings on the inside.

Litterature offers cards for a variety of occasions, and even cards for animal professionals. For pet owners who don't know their pets' birthdays, Litterature invented "Gotchaday," to celebrate the pet's first day at home. They're all printed on recycled paper, and 10 percent of the purchase price is donated to animal shelters and humane societies.

Display stands are available with purchase of a rack plan; cards are sold individually.

Wholesale price: $1 each. Suggested retail price: $2 each. Minimum order: none.

From Litterature, Grafton, New Hampshire. To order, call (800) 639-1099.

Hot On The Trail

Hikers cannot live on energy bars alone, and now they don't have to--even if all they eat is what they carry on their backs. Gourmets on the go will love the Vesture Back Pac, a backpack with all the amenities for an outdoor feast.

The Back Pac contains silverware, plates, wine glasses, napkins, a cheese slicer, a corkscrew, a cutting board and a tablecloth. The Microcore element keeps hot food hot and cold food cold for hours, and an insulated bottle carrier attaches to the side of the Pac.

Wholesale price: $41.25. Suggested retail price: $78. Minimum order: one case (six Back Pacs).

From Vesture Corp., Asheboro, North Carolina. To order, call (800) 283-7887.