Rieva Lesonsky: Entrepreneur Trend Report

1. Nail polish is hot–in fact, it’s hotter than ever. According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, nail polish sales hit an all-time high last year, reaching $768 million, which was up 32 percent from 2011. Those stats are for the female nail polish market. And yes, that means there’s a male nail polish market, and while it’s miniscule in comparison, there’s growing interest, making it a good opportunity for entrepreneurs. 

Since the market is fairly new, it’s a good time for entrepreneurs to investigate the category. Josh Espley started Alpha Nail to make nail polish “for strength, for style, for swagger, for protection, or to cover up your fugly toenails.” Espley told OPEN Forum that his products are designed specifically for men: “Instead of using a dainty feminine brush to apply the polish, our product is a pen with a simple click mechanism that is easy for men to use and doesn’t require toe separators.”

2. IBISWorld predicts matchmaking businesses will see annual growth of 2.8 percent through 2016. Of course the big business in matchmaking is online (it’s a $1 billion+ industry) and Time magazine says startups are racing to create “the next big dating app.” While acknowledging the industry is tough to crack given the domination by companies like Match.com and eHarmony, the magazine says that ever since OKCupid “parlayed a techie gimmick [a special algorithm] into 4 million users and a $90 million acquisition,” entrepreneurs are trying to duplicate their success.

Time lists some of the new players (OKCupid launched in 2004) and their “gimmicks,” like Grouper (started in 2011) which matches “two groups of three friends with some singles mixed in,” and Coffee Meets Bagel (launched last April), which sends one match to users per day at noon. Time says Coffee Meets Bagel has received $600,000 in funding and will partner with Starbucks this year.

3. Several years ago the first Trendcast newsletter was distributed. And it was about pie. Then the buzz was around pie as a potential cupcake killer to ascend to the top of the dessert throne. While pie did not dethrone the cupcake, it did successfully infiltrate the sweet treat market, particularly in the form of pie-pops (pies on a stick). But now, pies, or more accurately pie crusts are turning up on all sorts of non-dessert items. And according to New York magazine “the notion of pie for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast is catching on.”

As the magazine points out meat-pies are not new–they’ve been popular in northern and central Europe for hundreds of years. But today’s savory pies come in all shapes and sizes. New York featured a breakfast bacon-egg-and-cheese pie shaped like a Pop-Tart, small “hand pies” that look like empanadas and one that resembles a muffin on steroids. As evidence of pies’ new popularity Australian bakery and café franchise Pie Face opened its first American store in New York City last year. The chain now has two Pie Face locations in Manhattan, and plans to open about a dozen more in 2013.

Find more trends at http://www.smallbizdaily.com/trendcast/

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