Keys to Success

Great ideas for small businesses are everywhere. Here are three examples of entrepreneurs who followed their passions into business adventures — vitamin water for expecting mothers, fashionable socks and even potato peelers.

A business bump

Vitamin-infused water is big business these days. Small Business Trends brings us the story of two mothers from Brooklyn, N.Y., who aimed to take that a step further and create a prenatal drink.

Stacy Rauen and Amber Wilcox got the idea for Bump Water after struggling with the size of prenatal vitamins. As their product’s website says, “Essential prenatal vitamins for women shouldn’t have to come just from pills the size of a horse.”

The Rauen and Wilcox families had fundraisers and an Indiegogo campaign to get the startup money together. Rauen was a magazine editor and Wilcox was a stay-at-home mom, the story says, so they teamed up with a beverage company to get the business off the ground.

The all-natural Bump Water includes vitamins and folic acid, and comes in “full calorie” (100 calories) and 10-calorie versions. Among the flavors: lemonade, cranberry ginger and pomegranate mixed berry, along with “sparkling” versions. (The website clarifies that Bump Water is a supplement to prenatal vitamins, not a replacement.)

“Try to create a unique product that fits a specific need,” Wilcox says. “We were amazed a product like Bump Water didn’t already exist, so we created it.”

Socks that rock

Socks have become a bit of a fashion statement in recent years. Football star Robert Griffin III donned Superman socks (complete with miniature capes) as he won the Heisman Trophy in 2011. Former President George H.W. Bush has been known to show off hot pink and American flag patterns, and even socks featuring his own mug.

An entrepreneur named Vincent Nasserbakht jumped on the trend. The Huffington Post details how he got there: He was once a financial analyst, but found it unfulfilling. “So I had to do my own thing,” he said.

That brings us to The Sock Hop, Nasserbakht’s Manhattan sock-and-shirt shop that opened in 2010.

“We could see it kind of start creeping up,” he says of the sock trend, “and then sure enough you see guys that are really into fashion wearing socks, and then it turns into guys that are more business types wearing socks. And now it’s everybody.”

Nasserbakht notes that the “wall” of dark socks has been broken down, and “we can go all sorts of designs, all sorts of colors.”

“Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, people like to give socks, people like to get socks,” he tells CBS. “Really nice socks make you happy. You have them on your feet all day.”

You say “potato,” I say “millionaire”

Small Business Trends offers a flashback to a most interesting entrepreneur. Joe Ades sold potato peelers on the streets of New York City. The finely dressed salesman brought in customers with his charming demonstrations and his British accent.

The cost of these items? Five dollars. And Ades sold enough of them to become a millionaire, living in the exclusive Park Avenue scene.

“Never underestimate a small amount of money,” he told NBC’s Today Show in 2008.

He worked six days a week in the potato-peeling business, well into his 70s, the story says. Ades died in 2009, but he offered some wisdom about enjoying your work. When asked in the Today interview if he ever took a vacation, his response was: “Life is a vacation. Every day is a vacation.”

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