Make Money Caning Chairs, Selling Handmade Mushroom Art, or Peddling Cherry Pits: Successful Home Businesses

Readers share stories about their successful home businesses inspired by articles in MOTHER.

| September/October 1983

We asked our readers to tell us about their successful home businesses that were inspired by an article they read in MOTHER, in around 500 words, being sure to mention when and where they started their venture and with how much "seed money," what they make (net), and anything else that might be of assistance to other entrepreneurs.  

Make Money Repairing Furniture and Caning Chairs

Reading about the one-person reupholstering venture run by Jan Worley featured in an earlier MOTHER article on home businesses reminded me of the furniture-covering my parents did for a living, and rekindled my own desire to work for myself. My mother also caned chairs, and as a child I learned both that skill and wicker furniture repair. After reading about Jan's entrepreneurship (and seeing other articles on home businesses in MOTHER), I decided to put my skills to work and start an enterprise of my own.

I initially invested $24 in business cards and spent about $50 on cane and other odds and ends (enough to do several chairs). In an average week, I clear $60 or more, which, though not a great deal, certainly helps our household out. Better yet, my work-at-home enterprise leaves me time to be with my three young boys!
–Sue Foster, Broken Arrow, Okla. 

Sell Handmade Mushroom Art

As an avid forager of edible mushrooms, I naturally paused, while thumbing through some old issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, to read Fabulous Fungus Art. It struck me that I, too, could collect "artist's fungus" while I was on my food forays, etch them with attractive designs as described by Roger Bossley in the article, and sell these "living canvases" at art shows and craft fairs.

So, on my next excursion to the woods, I searched for the appropriate flat fungi (genus Fomes), which grow on trees and fenceposts in my area. (They're characterized by hard-shelled tops and light, spore-covered, leathery undersides.) This was in the late fall, and the parasites I picked were quite dry.

I collected 15 of the most suitable mushrooms I could find and took them home. Then I drew pictures of birds and wildflowers on the undersurfaces of my "canvases" and took the creations to a local craft fair. There I easily sold the entire lot, making a $95 profit (after deducting the $10 fee for renting a space).

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!