Sell Homemade Firestarters, Cider, or Snakeskin Accessories: Three Home Business Ideas

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

| July/August 1983

We asked our readers to, if they now operate or have ever operated a successful home business that was inspired by an article they read in MOTHER, tell us about it 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 and Sell Firestarters

Like most people, I'm constantly on the lookout for any idea that might enable me to bring in some extra cash by working at home in my spare time. When I saw the article The Magnesium Fire Starting Tool, I realized that most of the vacationers, campers, hunters, fisherfolk, and backpackers who visit my area could use a handy "burn beginner.” I decided I could meet their need inexpensively, and make some money by marketing my own type of firestarter. 

Starting with a baking tin and a supply of paper muffin cups, I gathered a bunch of pinecones (conifers are plentiful in my area) and rounded up some old candle stubs. I placed the paper liners in the tin and then put one cone in each. Next, I melted the candles in a saucepan and poured some of the hot wax over each seedpod. When the liquid cooled and hardened, my homemade firestarters were ready. 

Lit under wood laid for a campfire, a "cone cupcake"—it only takes onewill burn long enough to turn even the wettest kindling into a comforting, warm blaze. I sell these little firestarters through stores located near local state parks and vacation spots, for 25¢ each. 

A batch of 24 firestarters takes about a half-hour to make and brings in a total of $6.00. The cost of the cups for a run of two dozen amounts to only about 11¢, leaving me with a profit of $5.89 a batch. So I'm earning almost $12 per hour! What's more, I've had no trouble selling as many cupped kindlers as I can make. 

Though I'm just getting started in my new home-business venture, I've already given some thought to selling my igniters by mail order. And I hope that when I take my next vacation, I can finance the trip—at least in part—by selling my firestarters along the way!
Hazel Colgrove, Bandon, Ore.

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