During high school, I wanted to work for a sports organization, such as being a scout, going into their business operations, and even general manager. I know that I needed a backup plan if my original plan failed. Then, I saw this Spongebob Squarepants episode called “One Krab’s Trash” (this is the speed up version):
After seeing that episode, my backup plan was to open my own novelty gift store. I would sell a bunch of random crap of items that I I really like that people are weary about. As you see in the episode, I wanted to sell Soda Drink Hats, “I’m With Stupid” T-Shirts, and other random stuff. I then realize at the time that I wanted to collect these novelty items, not selling them. I still had that dream, then working made me lose that dream.
Now, I see tons of novelty websites selling what they like, including one that is in my backyard: ThinkGeek. From time to time, I am thinking about opening a novelty gift store website for e-commerce AND have a physical store in Fairfax, VA and a second store in Rockville, MD, next to Bagel City and call my novelty gift store: “This Store Stinks!” I would have an assortment of products from Tony Kornheiser merchandise; Catholic gifts, a bunch of t-shirts of my favorites, novelty items similar to the Chocolate Moose in D.C., customized t-shirt headlines, unique D.C. sports collectibles, and other crap I like. Here’s a taste:
In addition, I would have a separate counter for customers who want food. It will mostly be Vietnamese food like Phở, Egg Rolls, Banh Mi, et al. There might be some weeks I’m making my favorites like a Primanti Bros.-type sandwich or “The Real Tracy” (“The Tracy” is likely trademark by BGR The Burger Joint), where it has all of the ingredients of “The Tracy,” but add a fried onion ring, a fried egg, and possibly more heat. I would also setup a podcast during lunch talking about my life in general and current events, and at the same time, doing customer service and sales and have a TV on top airing all episodes of Ed.
The reason I love novelty gift stores is you want to share a part of your life to others who might share your interests as well as building a relationship. E-commerce and technology makes it easier to buy, but I would love a physical shop for people to visit and talk to me and tell me why I have these products. Novelty stores gives me a chance to tell my story and who I am. It’s a very niche market, but you can say it’s MY Market.
“This Store Stinks!” won’t open anytime soon; likely won’t happen ever. Go to a ThinkGeek or Chocolate Moose locally because they have stories to tell and they want to share it. I know there are a lot of novelty store sites out there, but I wish there were more physical stores so I can see their faces and hear their voices about their unique brand. That’s what makes novelty stores cool.