From the July 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

Despite overpopulation concerns, the United States will soon experience a rise in births that's expected to rival the well-noted booms of the 20th century. Starting in 2001, it'll be baby this and baby that, meaning baby anything and everything will be in demand. Now all you have to do is find your niche in this expanding market. Here are five ideas to inspire you:

1. Baby Products. There's virtually no end to this list. Are you a designer at heart? Fashion-conscious parents are always searching for ways to make their tots look even cuter. If you recall the movie Baby Boom, you'll know a good baby-food recipe wins the hearts of parents and hungry babies alike. Or you can always try toy inventing--you just might be the force behind the next toy craze that incites parents to spend thousands. If you're the literary or musical sort, baby books and sleep-inducing mood music could be just the ticket.

2. Mementos. Those with a knack for crafts could be a hit with new parents in search of a special something made just for their little one. Again, the possibilities are endless: picture frames, scrapbooks, quilts, bronzed baby shoes . . . your product list is limited only by your imagination.

3. Interior Design. The baby's room is of utmost importance to expectant parents. What colors to use, what kind of furniture to buy, whether to go with a Winnie the Pooh or Teletubbies theme--you can provide answers to these weighty dilemmas. If woodworking is your specialty, don't discount refurbishing. When an antique look is chosen for the baby room, worn bassinets and dressers need their natural beauty revived. In any case, stressed-out parents-to-be can always use a helping hand.

4. Baby Photography and Video. Can you make a 6-month-old smile armed with only a Barney puppet? If you can, and have a good eye, you're a shoo-in as a baby photographer extraordinaire. In a year's worth of holidays, plus birthdays and baby milestones, the opportunities for business are abundant. And if your hand is as steady working a video camera, you've really got something. With your video production skills, you can offer parents an alternative to the traditional baby book.

5. Baby Services. If you're a people person, offering baby-related services may be just your thing. A good planner can arrange and host events like birthday parties, baby showers and play groups. If you're a Web wonder, offering online information on anything baby-related could be profitable, especially if you find advertisers to support your project. Safety standards are sending new parents into a frenzy trying to babyproof their homes as well. And although it's a service being scrutinized more than ever these days, child care remains a popular homebased business.

Next Step

  • The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is a national trade organization for baby-products manufacturers in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is a good resource for industry statistics. Contact JPMA at (609) 231-8500 or http://www.jpma.org
  • The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) provides an accreditation program for homebased child-care services. NAFCC can be reached at (515) 282-8192 or http://www.nafcc.org
  • The Professional Photographers of America provides members with certification, marketing assistance and other information. Contact the group at (404) 522-8600 or http://www.ppa-world.org