Sweat Rewards

Hot Trends: Anything India, Boomer Menopause and Luxury Trickle-Down

Anything India
Highly educated Indian immigrants are changing the face of U.S. cities. In last year's U.S. Census, the South Asian population was nearly 2 million. Today, Indian food is mainstream, Indian jewelry and fabrics are wildly popular, and yoga and ayurvedic medicine are the latest health fads.

How do you cash in? Anything related to Indian wedding planning or matchmaking is hot, says Suvarna Rajguru, executive director for the Indian CEO High Tech Council of the Washington, DC, chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs, a networking group for young Indian professionals. Another not-so-romantic, but creative, business idea: running background checks on potential spouses. "People are sending their girls over here to get married to H1-B visa workers who are in high-tech," Rajguru says. "They're looking for someone here to do background profiles."

Other opportunities range from Indian fast food and classes teaching Americanized English to importing Indian movies and other media. One Web site launched last year, Challo.com, specializes in news and entertainment aimed at relocated Indians. "They want the things they are used to in India," Rajguru says. "They're trying to stay in touch with their cultural roots."

Boomer Menopause
Tens of millions of baby-boomer women will be sweating out menopause over the next decade. In fact, it's estimated that at least 4,900 boomer women start menopause every day.

The demand for menopause-related products and services is sure to increase as boomers take their health into their own hands. "This is a very educated demographic, and [these women] want to know their options," says Sharon MacFarland, 39, owner of Transitions for Health Inc., a women's health and wellness company in Portland, Oregon, that pulls in more than $10 million annually. Among other products, Transitions for Health markets a cooling mist and towelettes for hot flashes, and Pro-Gest, a natural progesterone cream.

Support groups, spas, diet and exercise plans, books and videos will be emerging markets built around menopausal women. Natural supplements and soy products in lieu of controversial hormone replacement therapy will also be popular. "The trick is [reaching] these women on the go," MacFarland says. "You have to meet them where they are. They're busy."

Luxury Trickle-Down
Products and services once considered luxuries fit only for the rich-manicures, gardeners and housekeepers, for example-have trickled down and become affordable to middle-income consumers. Even Mercedes-Benz is marketing luxury cars in the $30,000 range. More than ever, it's possible to live the good life.

Attribute this luxury trickle-down trend to the economic boom of the late 1990s that created a middle-class consumer with more wealth and a sense of entitlement. Despite an economic slowdown, consumers are still looking for affordable ways to feel like a million bucks. One luxury market with lots of potential is the house call, says Gregory J. Furman, executive director of the Luxury Marketing Association. Industries suited for house calls range from auto mechanics and caterers to concierge services, hairdressers and personal trainers.

To grab a tiny piece of this trickle-down market, however, you just need to think like a butler and brainstorm. "Think of the things you'd like to have someone else do for you, all the dirty jobs," says Arnold Brown, chairman of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc., a trend analysis firm in New York City. "There's enormous potential here for entrepreneurs with imagination."

-Chris Penttila
Anything India

What Do You Think?
Are our picks for what's hot in 2002 on target or way off base? Tell us what you think .

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This article was originally published in the December 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Sweat Rewards.

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