A high school hobby collecting pro wrestling videos turned into a $1 million business for Rob Feinstein, owner of five Philadelphia-area mall kiosks that sell pro wrestling videotapes, T-shirts, posters, books and key chains.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur promotes his business, The Pro Wrestling Shop, by inviting World Wrestling Federation celebrities like The Rock, Cactus Jack and Bam Bam Bigelow to sign autographs for customers-mostly guys who range in age from prepubescent to middle-aged. He also has a newsletter and a Web site (http://www.rfvideo.com) where wrestling fans can get information on upcoming events and buy merchandise. Business is so good, Feinstein is planning to open kiosks around the country.
Like many young entrepreneurs, Feinstein had a great idea but not enough cash to open a retail store, so he opted for a less-expensive kiosk. Nancy Tanker, managing editor of Specialty Retail Report, a quarterly trade publication, says kiosk businesses are relatively easy to launch and don't require a great deal of merchandise. Entrepreneurs can highlight a few pieces of merchandise and easily change the look of their kiosk. The hottest kiosks today offer interaction, such as demonstrations or celebrity appearances.
But research retailing before you set up shop. "Because of the low start-up costs," Tanker says, "a lot of people aren't prepared to navigate the choppy waters of retailing. [Before choosing a site,] go to [malls] and ask store managers about the sales histories of kiosks at that location."