New articles in all lines of trade are constantly appearing. Inventors
of mechanical appliances, authors of books, proprietors of patent
medicines, introducers of something novel in groceries, and promoters of
new departures in dry and fancy goods, are all anxious to have the
public take their products and pay them in cash. The problem is how to
introduce the article. However meritorious it may be, it is useless
unless the people find it out. The following are believed to be unique
methods of advertising:
36. THE PUZZLE.–Buy some patented puzzle which can be manufactured
cheap and scattered broadcast over the land. There is no better way to
advertise. If men do not solve the puzzle, they will remember what is
stamped on it. The “Get-off-the-earth-Chinese puzzle” enormously
advertised its purchasers.
37. THE TOY IMITATION.–Wooden nutmegs and shoe-peg oats have duly
advertised the shrewd ways of the people of Connecticut. A man recently
made a hit by the “imitation cigar,” which is only a piece of wood of
the shape and color of a cigar. Every boy wants one. As an advertising
medium it was an immense success. Think of something as common and cheap
as a cigar, get up an imitation for the children, have your enterprise
stamped upon it, and it will go from one end of the land to the other.
38. THE CARTOON.–A caricature of some political person or situation is
always taking. Hit off some social craze, or give a witty representation
of some matter of passing interest. Drops of ink in this way are seeds
of gold, and the harvest will be golden.
39. THE CONJURER.–This is a good way to advertise when the article is a
cheap affair which can be shown in the street. There are few things so
attractive to the masses as the tricks of the sleight-of-hand performer.
Mr. P. T. Barnum uttered at least an half-truth when he said the people
liked to be humbugged. For a few dollars you can get an equipment, and
in a few days’ practice you can acquire enough of the art for your
purpose. You can draw a crowd wherever there are people. When you have
performed a few tricks, your climax should be a shrewd advertisement
which can be worked into the last performance.
40. THE STRIKING FIGURE.–If your goods are on sale in some prominent
store, this device is sure to draw attention. Make a figure of some
animal or vegetable or other form, if your article will lend itself to
such a work. The figure could be some prominent man, or represent an
historic scene, or illustrate some popular movement. A dealer in
confectionery had in his window a bicycle made all of candy.
41. THE ADVERTISING STORY.–Offer a prize to the one who will write the
best story about the merits of your article. The latter must be brought
deftly into the story, and the award should be based upon the merits of
the literary production and the skill in the use of the advertisement.
Every competitor should be required to buy a small number of the
articles, and the story should be published.
42. THE WORD-BUILDER.–Another prize might be offered to the one who
could compose the greatest number of words from the name of your article
or invention. The name ought to include at least a dozen letters, and
there should be a set of rules for building words. Every contestant must
buy your invention from whose title he is to build words.
43. THE POPULAR PUN.–This is an expensive way of advertising, but an
immensely paying one. You make a pun upon some fad of the day, a hit
upon some general craze, a piercing of some passing bubble, a political
quib. Something of this nature printed several times in the issue of the
daily papers would make your venture known to everybody.
44. THE POLITICAL GUESSER.–If your enterprise admits of the coupon
system, offer a prize to the one who will guess the successful candidate
at the next election, and come the nearest to the figures of his
plurality. The contestant must purchase one of your articles, and in
this way hundreds of thousands may be sold. Every presidential election
is the occasion of the floating of many things by this scheme.
45. THE GEOMETRICAL GROUP.–Some wares, such as fancy soaps and canned
goods, admit of a grouping which is very attractive to the eye.
Pyramids, cones, circles, and towers, always draw attention. Some
mechanical device whereby motion is produced will be sure to draw a
crowd to your show window.
46. THE PICTORIAL COMPARISON.–If you are sure of your ground, draw a
diagram or other figure, comparing your staple with those of others in
the market. In this way the Royal Baking Powder Company pushed to the
front, comparing with heavy black lines its product with the outputs of
47. THE OPEN CHALLENGE.–And if you are still further confident that you
have the best thing of its kind, you may issue a challenge to your
competitors. Make it apparent that you are anxious, even clamorous, for
a trial of your product against others. By this means you will establish
yourself in the confidence of the public. The Remington Typewriter was
boomed in this way.
48. THE BOOK GIFT.–Try the religious field. Issue leaflets or tiny
books with paper covers, costing not more than two or three dollars a
thousand, and offer them as gifts to Sunday-schools or other children’s
organization. Most Sunday-school superintendents would be glad to give
away booklets of this kind if they could be obtained free of charge. The
books should contain a bright story, a few pictures, and, of course, a
taking presentation of your wares.
49. SUNDAY-SCHOOL SUPPLIES.–In some cases, you might even be warranted
in issuing the supplies of a Sunday school, at least for a portion of
the year. The books in the last number might not in every case be read,
but the picture papers, lesson leaves, and other helps, are all looked
over, even if not studied. You could in many cases present them,
reserving large advertising space for yourself so as to net a good
profit. The class of customers thus obtained would be the very best. Do
not hope for large returns unless you are willing to spend money. Money
is the manure that creates crops, the blood that makes fatness, the wind
that fans fortune, the sap that runs into golden fruit. Money is the
bread on the waters that “returneth after many days.” It seems like the
sheerest folly to spend so much in advertising, but you cannot reap
bountifully unless you sow bountifully. “For every dollar spent in
advertising,” declares a successful merchant, “I have reaped five.”
How? On every article sold there is first of all the profit of the
manufacturer, then of the wholesale dealer, and finally of the retailer.
There is commonly a fourth, that of the freighter. If you keep a retail
store, you must pay the man who makes the goods, the man who transports
the goods, and the man who keeps the goods in large stock, and all this
leaves you only a small margin of profit. In the following plan you
avoid all these costs, pay only for the raw material, and make the four
You may begin your sales in your own home. If you have a large room
fronting the street and near it, a little alteration will make it a
veritable store. An expenditure of $25 should give you a show window and
some nice shelves. Have a workroom in connection with your store. If
your sales at first are small, you can put in your spare time in the
making of your goods, and afterward as your custom increases you can
employ help. The following articles are easily made. Many of them are
novel, but all are salable if the store is properly managed.
_Section I. Household Ornaments._
A home may be rendered attractive by a few simple ornaments that are
very cheap. Vines, grasses, etc., add touches of beauty to a home and
cost very little. Few people know how to prepare these little
curiosities, and many would esteem it too much trouble to get and
arrange the material if they did know. But most of these persons would
buy them if the materials were prepared, and the vines, etc., ready to
grow. You must have models of each kind in full growth in order to
excite their admiration, and then you must have others in the initial
stage for sale. Take pains to show the models, and explain the method of
treating the plants and vines. The following cost little, and can be
sold for from 300 to 500 per cent. profit. Some of your patrons will
prefer to buy the models outright, and others to grow them themselves.
50. CRYSTALLIZED GRASSES.–Put in water as much alum as can be
dissolved. Pour into an earthen jar and boil slowly until evaporated
nearly one half. Suspend the grasses in such a manner that their tops
will be under the solution. Put the whole in a cool place where not the
least draught of air will disturb the formation of crystals. In
twenty-four to thirty-six hours take out the grasses, and let them
harden in a cool room. For blue crystals, prepare blue vitriol or
sulphate of copper in the same manner. Gold crystals can be produced by
adding tumeric to the alum solution, and purple crystals by a few drops
of extract of logwood. Sell them at twenty-five cents a bunch.
51. LEAF IMPRESSIONS.–Hold oiled paper in the smoke of a lamp, or of
pitch, until it becomes coated with smoke. Then take a perfect leaf,
having a pretty outline, and after warming it between the hands, lay
the leaf upon the smoked side of the paper, with the under side down,
press it evenly upon the paper so that every part may come in contact,
go over it lightly with a rolling-pin, then remove the leaf with care to
a piece of white paper, and use the rolling-pin again. You will then
have a beautiful impression of the delicate veins and outline of the
leaf. A sheet containing a dozen such leaves should bring you
twenty-five cents; if arranged in a pretty white album, with a different
kind of leaf for every page, the selling price should not be less than
52. VINE AND TRELLIS.–Put a sweet potato in a tumbler of water, or any
similar glass vessel; let the lower end of the tuber be about two inches
from the bottom of the vessel; keep on the mantel shelf, and sun it for
an hour or two each day. Soon the “eyes” of the potato will throw up a
pretty vine. Now with some small sticks or coarse splints construct a
tiny trellis, which, if placed in the window, will soon find a customer.
53. THE SUSPENDED ACORN.–Suspend an acorn by a piece of thread, within
half an inch of the surface of some water contained in a vase, tumbler
or saucer, and allow it to remain undisturbed for several weeks. It will
soon burst open, and small roots will seek the water; a straight and
tapering stem, with beautiful, glossy green leaves, will shoot upward,
and present a very pleasing appearance. Supply water of the same warmth
once a month, and add bits of charcoal to keep it from souring. If the
leaves turn yellow, put a drop of ammonia into the water, and it will
renew their luxuriance.
54. MOSS AND CONE.–Take a saucer and fill it with fresh green moss.
Place in the center a large pine cone, having first wet it thoroughly.
Then sprinkle it with grass seed. The moisture will close the cone
partially, and in a day or two tiny grass spears will appear in the
interstices, and in a week you will have a perfect cone covered with
graceful verdure. The advantage of this, as well as of the other pretty
things in this section, is that they are fresh and green in the midst of
winter, and people are attracted to the slice of spring in your window
when the outside world is mantled with snow.
55. THE TUMBLER OF PEAS.–Take a common tumbler or fruit can and fill it
nearly full of soft water. Tie a bit of coarse lace or cheese-sacking
over it, and covering it with a layer of peas, press down into the
water. In a few days the peas will sprout, the little thread-like roots
going down through the lace into the water, while the vines can be
trained upon a pretty little frame.
56. THE HANGING TURNIP.–Take a large turnip and scrape out the inside,
leaving a thick wall all around. Fill the cavity with earth, and plant
in it some clinging vine or morning glory. Suspend the turnip with
cords, and in a little time the vines will twine around the strings, and
the turnip, sprouting from below, will put forth leaves and stems that
will turn upward and gracefully curl around the base.
57. BLEACHED LEAVES.–Mix one drachm chloride of lime with one pint of
water, and add sufficient acetic acid to liberate the chlorine. Steep
the leaves about ten minutes, or until they are whitened. Remove them on
a piece of paper and wash them in clean water. They are now ready for
sale, and all you need do is to arrange a dozen of them on a sheet of
black paper, or in a dark-colored album, and expose them in your show
58. THE ARTIFICIAL PLANT.–Take the glossy silk stuff known as taffeta.
Dye the piece the proper green color before cutting. After it is dried,
prepare with gum arabic on one side to represent the glossy surface of
the leaves, and with starch on the other to give the velvety appearance
of the under side. Use a fine goffering tool to make the veins and
indentations. Glue the leaves to the stem, and place to advantage in
your store window, where, if you have been skillful, they can hardly be
distinguished from the leaves of a growing plant.
If you are moderately successful, procure a book about household
ornaments and artificial plants, and you will learn to make many more
designs. We have selected these because they are the cheapest and most
easily made. All the above, except the albums, should sell for
twenty-five cents. Remember that a great deal depends upon your taste in
arranging, your manner of explaining, and your adroitness in
recommending. You must be so in love with your plants as to be
enthusiastic. In general, a lady succeeds in this work better than a
_Section 2. Tea Dishes._
At almost no cost, you find yourself established in the midst of dozens
of clinging vines and pretty plants. Now for the next step. Have a few
appetizing tea-dishes in your window. Put out a sign, telling people
that you will have every night certain fine and fresh table delicacies
on sale. The effect of dainty dishes in close proximity to graceful
vines is exceedingly tempting to the appetite.
59. DELICIOUS HAM.–If very neat, you can sell to many families cold
boiled ham for supper or lunch. Put the ham in cold water, and simmer
gently five hours. Set the kettle aside, and when nearly cold draw off
the skin of the ham and cover with cracker crumbs and about three
tablespoonfuls of sugar. Place in the oven in a baking pan for thirty or
forty minutes. When cold, slice thin and lay temptingly on large white
plates. Cost of a ham weighing ten pounds, $1.20. Sales at thirty cents
a pound, $3.00. Deduct for shrinkage in boiling and waste in trimming
one and one-half pounds, forty-five cents. Profits, $1.35.
60. CHOICE TONGUE.–If successful with ham, you can try a little tongue.
Soak over night and cook for four or five hours. Throw into cold water
and peel off the skin. Cut evenly and arrange attractively on plates,
garnishing with sprigs of parsley. Cooked meats should be placed in the
show window under transparent gauze. In hot weather a cake of ice
beneath will greatly tempt the appetite of the passer-by.
61. ARTIFICIAL HONEY.–Where honey is high priced, make the following:
Five pounds white sugar, two pounds water, gradually bring to a boil,
and skim well. When cool, add one pound bees’ honey and four drops of
peppermint. There is a large profit in this where the customer is not
particular about the quality; but if a better article is desired add
less water and more real honey.
You can add a number of other tea-dishes as you learn what will sell. A
thing that is salable in one community is often not so in another. You
must be guided by the taste of the locality, and when a dish does not
sell well try another.
_Section 3. Pastry._
Suppose you now try a little pastry. If you can make a superior article,
you will have a ready sale, but it is often difficult to introduce the
goods. It is sometimes a good plan to donate a cake to a fair, cutting
the loaf into very thin slices, and giving them to leading ladies who
may be present, superintending the matter yourself, and advertising that
you will take orders.
62. ANGEL CAKE.–The whites of eleven eggs, one and a half cupfuls of
granulated sugar, measured after being sifted four times, one cupful of
flour measured after being sifted four times, one teaspoonful of cream
tartar, and one of vanilla extract. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and
beat the sugar into the eggs. Add the seasoning and flour, stirring
quickly and lightly. Beat until ready to put the mixture into the oven.
Use a pan that has little legs on the top comers so that when the pan is
turned upside down on the table after the baking, a current of air will
pass under and over it. Bake for forty minutes in a moderate oven. Do
not grease the pan. This cake should sell for $1, or, cut in twenty
pieces, at five cents each.
63. DOMINOS.–If you are located near a schoolhouse or on a street where
many children pass, you can do a big business in dominos. Bake a sponge
cake in a rather thin sheet. Cut into small oblong pieces the shape of a
domino. Frost the top and sides. When the frosting is hard, draw the
black lines and make the dots with a small brush that has been dipped in
melted chocolate. They will sell “like hot cakes.”
64. SOFT GINGERBREAD.–All children like this. Here is an excellent
kind: Six cupfuls of flour, three of molasses, one of cream, one of lard
or butter, two eggs, one teaspoonful of saleratus, and two of ginger.
You can sell this, when light and warm, almost as fast as you can make
65. DOUGHNUTS.–These, too, are tempting to children. Four eggs, one
half-pound sugar, two ounces butter, one pound flour, boiled milk,
nutmeg, cinnamon, and a few drops of some essence. Beat the eggs and
sugar and melt the butter and stir it in; then add a pound of flour and
enough boiled milk to make a rather stiff dough; flavor with nutmeg,
cinnamon, and a few drops of some essence; cut into shapes with tumbler
or knife, and fry brown in hot lard. When done, sift on fine sugar. Made
fresh every day and placed temptingly in the window, they will sell
After you are well established, you should sell at least two dozen
doughtnuts at a profit of a penny apiece, two cards of gingerbread at
seven cents profit each, and three dozen dominos at a profit of five
cents a dozen. Total profit per day on three last articles in this
section, fifty-three cents.
_Section 4. Sweetmeats and Confectionery._
If you find that children are your best customers, you may cater yet
further to their taste. Remember that your success depends upon your
keeping choice articles. It is surprising how children find out the best
candy stores, and how quick they are to discern between good and bad
stock. By making your own goods, you can sell a little cheaper than the
dealers who have to buy.
66. WALNUT CANDY.–This is something which all children like. Put the
meats of the nuts on the bottom of tins previously greased to the depth
of half an inch. Boil two pounds of brown sugar, one half pint of water,
and one gill of molasses, until a portion of the mass hardens when it
cools. Pour the hot candy on the meats and allow it to remain until
67. CHOCOLATE CARAMELS.–A favorite with girls. Boil a quart of best
molasses until it hardens when put in water. Before removing from the
fire, add four ounces of fine chocolate. Pour a thin layer into tin
trays slightly greased. When it hardens a little cut into squares. You
can sell these as low as thirty cents a pound, and still make a good
68. PEPPERMINT CREAMS.–Take one pound of sugar, seven teaspoonfuls of
water, and one teaspoonful of essence of peppermint. Work together into
a stiff paste, roll, cut, and stamp with a little wooden stamp such as
are bought for individual butter pats.
69. MOLASSES CANDY (White).–All children want molasses candy. Two
pounds of white sugar, one pint of sugar-house syrup, and one pint of
best molasses. Boil together until the mass hardens when dropped in cold
water, and work in the usual manner. Sell by the stick, or in broken
pieces by the pound, half, and quarter.
70. BLANCHED ALMONDS.–Shell the nuts; pour over them boiling water. Let
them stand in the water a minute, and then throw them into cold water.
Rub between the hands. The nuts will be white as snow, and, if placed
prominently in the window, very tempting. Sell by the ounce.
71. FIG PASTE.–This always has a good sale. Chop a pound of figs and
boil in a pint of water until reduced to a soft pulp. Strain through a
fine sieve, add three pounds of sugar, and evaporate over boiling water
until the paste becomes quite stiff. Form the paste into a square mass,
and divide in small pieces with a thin-bladed knife. Roll the pieces in
fine sugar, and pack in little wooden boxes.
72. FIG LAYER CANDY.–One half-pound of drum figs, one pound of finest
white sugar, white of one egg, one tablespoonful of cold water. Make
sugar, egg, and water into a cream, and mold like bread. After figs are
stemmed and chopped, roll a fig to one fourth of an inch in thickness.
Place the rolled fig between two layers of cream, pass rolling-pin over
lightly, and cut into squares of any desired size. Delicious, if
well-made, and always salable.
It is astonishing what vast sums accumulate from the children’s pennies
spent for candy and sweetmeats. Many cases could be given of persons who
have kept small stores, and been supported solely by the little streams
of coppers and nickels. Get the children’s confidence, learn their
names, always have a bright, kind word for them, and bait your hook
occasionally with little gifts of sweets. They will flock to you like
bees to a flower-garden.
_Section 5. Preserves, Pickles, and Jellies._
We put these sweets and sours into one group because they sell best when
in proximity. Almost everything depends upon the way they are put up. If
the fruit shows artistically through the glass jars, or the pickles are
put up attractively in cute little bottles with fresh-painted labels, he
must be a stoic indeed who can pass your show-window without a coveting
glance. Here are a few of the most popular things in this line:
73. ORANGE MARMALADE.–Take equal weights of sour oranges and sugar.
Grate the yellow rind from one fourth of the oranges. Cut all the fruit
in halves, pick out the pulp and free it of seeds. Drain off the juice
and put it on to boil with the sugar. When it comes to a boil, skim it,
and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes; then put in the pulp and
grated rind, and boil fifteen minutes longer. Put away in jelly
tumblers. Sell large glasses for twenty-five cents; small, for fifteen.
74. BRANDIED PEACH.–The Morris whites are the best. Take off the skins
with boiling water. To each pound of fruit allow one pound of sugar, and
a half-pint of water to three pounds of sugar. When the syrup is boiling
hot put in the peaches, and as fast as they cook take them out carefully
and spread on platters. When cool put them in jars and fill up these
with syrup, using one-half syrup and one-half pale brandy. This is a
very choice brand, and will only pay you where you have customers who
are not sparing of their money.
75. OX-HEART CHERRY.–Of showy fruits, none can excel this. To each
pound of cherries, allow one-third of a pound of sugar. Put the sugar in
the kettle with half a pint of water to three pounds of sugar. Stir it
until it is dissolved. When boiling, add the cherries, and cook three
minutes. Put up in jars that can be sold for from twenty-five to fifty
76. POUND PEAR.–They hardly weigh a pound a piece, but they look as if
they do with their great white bulks pressed up against the sides of
the transparent glass. Take the largest kind, Bartlett, Seckel, or any
that have a delicious flavor. Pare the fruit, cut in halves, and throw
in cold water. Use one pound of sugar for three of fruit, and one quart
of water for three pounds of sugar. When the syrup is boiling take the
pears from the water and drop into the syrup. Cook until they can be
pierced easily with a silver fork. Fill the jars with fruit, and fill up
to the brim with syrup, using a small strainer in the funnel, in order
that the syrup may look clear. Sell good-sized jars for fifty cents.
77. GRAPE JELLY.–Jellies in little tumblers take up small room, and
they can be grouped in artistic shapes. Here is a good grape: Mash fruit
in a kettle, put over the fire, and cook until thoroughly done. Drain
through a sieve, but do not press through. To each pint of juice, allow
one pound of sugar. Boil rapidly for five minutes. Add the sugar, and
boil rapidly three minutes more.
78. SWEET PICKLES–(Apple, Pear, or Peach). For six pounds of fruit, use
three of sugar, five dozen cloves and a pint of vinegar. Into each
apple, pear, or peach, stick two cloves. Have the syrup hot, and cook
until tender. Put up in attractive little jars with colored labels. Jars
should sell for twenty-five cents.
79. CHOW-CHOW.–Here is a very taking kind: Take large red-peppers,
remove the contents, and fill them with chopped pickles. The red of the
peppers against the white of the glass gives a very pretty appearance.
Small bottles that can be sold cheap will be the most popular.
80. PICKLED WALNUTS.–Pick out the nuts as nearly whole as possible, and
steep in strong brine for a week, then bottle, add spice, and fill with
vinegar boiling hot. Put up in very small jars. Have a jar from which to
give samples if the dish is not common in the place.
There are a vast number of other fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which you
can use as custom shall demand. If you grow your own fruit and do your
own work, the result is nearly all profit. If you have to buy the fruit,
the selling-price should be such as to give one third profit. This is
the per cent. which all manufacturers expect.
_Section 6. Toilet Articles._
These have a perennial sale. They are not confined to any season or age.
Most of them, especially the French makes, come high, but they are
composed of a few simple ingredients, and can be made by any person of
ordinary skill. Here are a few of the best selling:
81. ROSE OIL.–Heat dried rose-leaves in an earthenware pipkin, the
leaves being covered with olive-oil, and keep hot for several hours. The
oil will extract both odor and color. Strain, and put in little
82. COLOGNE WATER.–Take one pint of alcohol, twelve drops each of
bergamot, lemon, neroli, sixty drops of lavender, sixty drops of
bergamot, sixty drops of essence of lemon, and sixty drops of
orange-water, shake well and cork.
83. FRENCH FACE POWDER.–_Poudre de chipre_ one and one-half pounds,
_eau_ (water) of millefleurs one and one-half drachms. Put up in small
cut-glass bottles and give it a French name. _Poudre de Millefleurs_
84. NIGHT-BLOOMING CEREUS.–This is a very delicate and fragrant
perfume. Spirit of rose 4 ounces, essence of jasmine 4 ounces, tincture
of tonka 2 ounces, tincture of civet 2 ounces, tincture of benzoin 4
ounces. Cost $1.65 per pint. Put up in half-gill bottles at fifty cents
each, $4.00. Profit, $2.35.
In selling expensive perfumery, remember that the glass is cheaper than
the contents, and you should therefore select thick bottles with small
cubical space. Tie pretty colored ribbons around the necks of the
bottles, and put them, four or six together, in attractive boxes with
the lids removed. You must in every way court the patronage of the
ladies, and you can in some cases well afford to give a bottle to the
leader of a social set with the understanding that she recommend it to
_Section 7. Varnishes and Polishes._
With your plants, meats, preserves, candies, and perfumery, you have
already got much beyond your show-window. You now have a “department
store” on a small scale, and as you make the goods yourself you ought to
be making money. There are some things you can add for which the demand
will not be great, but then the cost of making is small. Besides, the
goods, put up in bright tin boxes with colored labels and built up in
pyramids on your shelves, will give your store an artistic and
attractive appearance. Here are a few things that might profitably
occupy your spare moments:
85. STOVE BLACKING.–Take half a pound of black lead finely powdered,
and mix with the whites of three eggs well-beaten; then dilute it with
sour beer or porter till it becomes as thin as shoe-blacking; after
stirring it, set it over hot coals to simmer for twenty minutes; then,
after it has become cold, box and label.
86. SHOE BLACKING.–Mix six parts of fine bone-black, twenty-eight of
syrup or four of sugar, three of train-oil, and one of sulphuric acid.
Let the mixture stand for eight hours, then add with vigorous and
constant stirring four parts of the decoction of tan, eighteen of
bone-black, and three of sulphuric acid, and pour the compound into a
little tin boxes. Cost, one cent per box; sell for five cents.
87. FURNITURE CREAM.–Take eight parts of white wax, two of resin, and
one pint of true Venice turpentine. Melt at a gentle heat, and pour the
warm mass into a stone jar with six parts of rectified oil of
turpentine. After twenty-four hours it should have the consistency of
soft butter. Sell in small ten-cent boxes.
88. LEATHER POLISH.–Beat the yolks of two eggs and the white of one;
mix a tablespoonful of gin and a teaspoonful of sugar; thicken it with
ivory black, add it to the eggs, and use as common blacking. This will
give a fine polish to harnesses and leather cushions, and also may be
used as a dressing for ladies’ shoes.
These are the varnishes and polishes that sell the most readily, but you
must not think they will sell without advertisement, recommendation, and
display. Label them attractively, and tell just what they will do. It is
well to have a little hand press so that you can print your own labels,
and also some marking-ink for posters. Use ink freely; and, if you can
get the recommendation of some townsman who has tried one of your
varnishes or polishes, give it a large display.
_Section 8. Soaps and Starches._
Soaps are easily made and very profitable. Several firms have made
fortunes in soap during the last few years. You can make just as good an
article in your own home and reap all the profits. With starches, take
pains to let your customers know that you have different ones for
different kinds of goods. Many use the same starch for all kinds of
washing. You must show people that your starches are made especially for
various kinds of garments, and that the effect will not be so good if
the wrong starch is used, or one kind applied indiscriminately to all
kinds of goods.
89. POLAND STARCH.–Mix flour and cold water until the mass will pour
easily, then stir it into a pot of boiling water, and let it boil five
or six minutes, stirring frequently. A little spermaceti will make it
smoother. When cold, put in pasteboard boxes and sell cheap.
90. GLUE STARCH.–(For calicoes.) Boil a piece of glue, four inches
square, in three quarts of water. Put it in a well-corked bottle, and
sell for a little more than Poland.
91. GUM ARABIC STARCH.–(For lawns and white muslin.) Pound to a powder
two ounces of fine, white gum-arabic; put it into a pitcher, and pour a
pint or more of boiling water upon it, and cover it well. Let it stand
all night, and in the morning pour it carefully from the dregs into a
clean bottle, and cork it tight. Recommend this to your customers, and
tell them that a tablespoonful of this stirred into a pint of starch
made in the ordinary manner will restore lawns to almost their original
92. STARCH LUSTER.–This is a substance which, when added to starch,
gives the cloth not only a high polish, but a dazzling whiteness. To
produce this result, a little piece the size of a copper cent is added
to half a pound of starch and boiled with it for two or three minutes.
Now we will give you the whole secret. The substance is nothing more
than stearine, paraffine, or wax, sometimes colored by a slight
admixture of ultramarine blue. You can buy it in quantities for a
trifle, and sell it in little balls or wafers at a profit of 500 per
93. HARD SOAP.–Five pails of soft soap, two pounds of salt and one
pound of resin. Simmer together and when thoroughly fused turn out in
shallow pans so as to be easily cut. This costs little more than the
labor and by being able to undersell rivals you should have a monopoly
94. SAVON D’AMANDE.–This is a celebrated French toilet soap. The recipe
is French suet nine parts, olive oil one part, saponified by caustic
soda. Toilet soaps are also made of white tallow, olive, almond and
palm-oil, soaps either alone or combined in various proportions and
scented. The perfume is melted in a bright copper pan by the heat of a
_Section 9. Soft Drinks._
You may now if you have a counter try a few soft drinks. A soda fountain
is expensive and perhaps would not pay at this stage, but you might try
it when you have more capital and customers. First try.–
95. ROOT BEER.–Get a bottle of the extract, and make it according to
the directions. Cost of ten gallons extract and sugar, $1. Put up in
pint bottles at five cents a bottle $4. Profit, $3.
96. GINGER POP.–Put into an earthen pot two pounds of loaf sugar, two
ounces of cream tartar, two ounces of best ginger bruised, and two
lemons cut into slices. Pour over them three gallons of boiling water,
when lukewarm, toast a slice of bread, spread it thickly with yeast and
put it into the liquor. Mix with it also the whites of two eggs and
their crushed shells. Let it stand till next morning. Then strain and
bottle. It will be ready for use in three or four days. Profits about
the same as the last.
97. LEMONADE AND ORANGEADE.–Get juicy fruit, and allow one orange or
lemon to a glass. The tumblers for orangeade should be smaller than
those for lemonade. Profits about two and one-half cents a glass.
Have your counter for drinks as near the door as you can. Keep your
bottles on ice. Make your lemonade to order, and let it be known that
all your beer is home-brewed. Ask your patrons if they like it, and take
kindly any suggestions they may make. Let them know you want to please
_Section 10. Dairy and Other Farm Produce._
If you live in the country, or if your grounds are large enough, you can
add immensely to your profits by keeping a cow, a pig, some poultry, and
a few hives of bees. You will now need help–a boy to milk your cow, run
on errands, and deliver goods; and a girl to help you in the work-room
and to assist in the store.
98, GOLDEN BUTTER; 99, FRESH EGGS; 100, SWEET MILK; 101, SPARKLING
HONEY; 102, NEW CHEESE; and 103, CLEAN LARD, are among the attractions
and the sources of revenue you can add to your already prosperous
business. Churn your butter till it is entirely free of the milk, salt
it well and put it up in tempting balls, rolls or pats. A little
finely-strained carrot-juice will give it a golden color without any
disagreeable taste. For poultry, the Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks are
the best year-round layers. Have a sign “Eggs Laid Yesterday,” or “This
Morning’s Eggs.” Sell milk by the glass, pint or quart; only be sure it
is always fresh. Get a small cheese-press, and if you find a good sale
for your cheese, milk, and butter, add to your stock of cows. Find out
which of the three dairy products pays the best, and work accordingly.
Invite people to taste your good things, and tell them that everything
is homemade and fresh. Bees are perhaps the most profitable things in
the world, as they entail no expense after the first outfit. Have honey
both strained and in the comb as you learn the wants of your patrons.
The pig will keep you in meat a large portion of the year, besides
supplying to your store a limited quantity of nice white-leaf lard,
which should be sold in little bright tin pails.
104. WHITE PORK.–If you do not care for swine’s flesh, you can sell it
for from twelve to twenty cents a pound. People are glad to buy
fresh-killed meat and to pay a good price for it when their ordinary
purchases have been many days slaughtered, and often freighted a
105. POULTRY TO ORDER.–Do not keep your hens beyond the second year, as
they are not so good layers after that age. Have always a stock of fat
fowls ready for market. SPRING CHICKENS. Here is another line in which
you can invest. A chick costs in feed about twenty-five cents for the
season, and they sell readily for a dollar a pair.
_Section 11. Garden Vegetables._
If you have a small garden, you can supply your store with fresh
vegetables during the season. It is very important that they should be
fresh. Having your own garden, you can guarantee that quality to your
customers. Take orders for the following day so that the vegetables may
come straight from the garden into the hands of the consumer. Here are
the six which grocers say sell for the largest profit.
106. CUT-TO-ORDER ASPARAGUS.–Asparagus is at least one-half better when
newly cut. Choose the white variety, and tie in small bunches. Sell at
fifteen cents a bunch.
107. QUICK MARKET STRAWBERRIES.–Pick them fresh every morning. Put them
in the usual boxes, and set them on a stand in front of the store. Have
one or two large ones on the top of each box, and lay around them two or
three strawberry leaves wet with dew.
108. ROUND TOMATOES.–If possible, have them so fine and large that five
will fill a quart box. Sold even as low as five cents a box they are
very profitable. This is at the rate of a penny apiece, and a thrifty
tomato plant will bear fifty.
109. PINT PEAS.–Peas in the pod are not attractive, but very young peas
when shelled and put in little bright tin pails are irresistible. The
very sight of them tickles the palate. Rise early, and pick and shell a
pint of peas. If they do not sell, you can have them for your own
dinner. Do not keep them overnight, as the succulent quality is soon
lost after shelling.
110. STRING BEANS.–Nothing easier to raise, nothing easier to sell. You
can raise a bushel on a square rod if properly managed. Sell at fifteen
cents a half-peck.
111. GREEN CORN.–Sell at twenty-five cents a dozen ears. Be careful to
pick before the kernels become large. Have a notice, “Corn Picked to
We have found out from the grocers what garden products sell the best.
Now, suppose you have only a single rod of ground (about the size of a
large room), and want to know how to plant it to the best advantage.
Below will be found a comparative table of what, under generous
cultivation, may be expected of each of the above in the way of hard
cash from a single rod of soil.
Asparagus (40 bunches at 15 cents a bunch), $6.00; strawberries (33
baskets at 15 cents a basket), $4.95; tomatoes (150 quarts at 5 cents a
quart), $7.50; peas (16 pints at 25 cents a pint), $4.00; beans (1
bushel at 15 cents half-peck), $1.20; corn (8 dozen ears at 25 cents a
If you have twenty square rods instead of one, your revenue from your
garden may be increased by that multiple, and you will have an
opportunity to try all the above sources of profit. Find out what fruits
and vegetables sell best in your neighborhood, and plant accordingly.
And remember that the key to your success in garden produce is the
single word _fresh_.
_Section 12. School Supplies._
There are a number of articles in use in our schools which can be made
at home. Once let it be known that you can make and sell as good a
quality as the imported article, and at a cheaper price, and you will
have the patronage of all the schools in your vicinity. Advertise
wisely, and in cases where the trustees furnish the things, make a low
bid for the entire school supply.
112. BOOK COVERS.–Save all your paper bags, iron them out smoothly, and
make them into book covers. Sell them at three cents apiece, or take the
contract to cover all the books in the school at two cents apiece.
113. ARTIFICIAL SLATES.–Take forty-one parts of sand, four parts of
lampblack, four parts of boiled linseed or cottonseed oil. Boil
thoroughly, and reduce the mixture by adding spirits of turpentine so
that it may be easily applied to a thin piece of pasteboard. Give three
coats, drying between each coat. Finish by rubbing smooth with a piece
of cotton waste soaked in spirits of turpentine. You have an excellent
slate or memorandum book, which may be sold for ten cents. Use a slate
pencil. Made in large quantities, these are very profitable.
114. CHEAP INK.–Boil one and a half pounds of logwood with sufficient
residue water to leave a residue of two and a half quarts. When cold,
add one and a half drams of yellow bichromate of potash, and stir
thoroughly, and the ink is ready for use. The above will fill
twenty-five large ink bottles, which, at five cents apiece, come to
$1.25. Cost, 25 to 35 cents.
115. SCHOOL BAG.–Take a piece of cheap white linen and make it into a
pretty bag, with a strap to go over the shoulder. Have a colored stamp
to put on the initials of the purchaser. Sell for twenty-five cents.
116. PEN WIPER.–Take any cheap material, and cut in three circles of
different sizes. Scallop the edges, and stitch together at the center.
If the circles are of different color as well as size, it will be
attractive to the children, and still more so if the smallest circle has
an initial letter. Sell for five cents.
117. CHILDREN’S LUNCHEON.–Thousands of parents would rather pay a
trifling sum than be put to the trouble of providing and preparing
lunch. Make a little repast cheap and neat. One large or two small
sandwiches, a small dish of jelly or a tart, a pickle or a piece of
cake. Put in a collapsible paper box, and tie with red or blue ribbon.
Cost about six or seven cents. Sell for ten cents.
_Section 13. Christmas Presents._
You can do well with these if you are supple with your fingers and
nimble with your tongue. Learn what artistic designs are becoming
popular, and keep abreast of the latest fads. The fabric called denim is
coming more into use every year, and as it is very cheap, and comes in
all colors, it is especially suited for making, covering, and adorning
all kinds of household handiwork. A ramble through the large
metropolitan stores with a request to see the various lines of goods
used for trimming and ornamenting will astonish you. The endless
varieties of silks, satins, velvets, plushes, linens, laces, feathers,
and so forth, should suggest to a lively mind infinite possibilities in
the way of made-up articles of market value. Our list below must be
taken only as samples of what a fertile mind and ingenious fingers can
118. SOFA PILLOW.–Take a piece of India silk of different colors, and
let them all taper to a common center upon which a monogram is worked.
Relieve the bareness of the white by a running vine and morning glories.
A pillow of this kind which cost $3 sold for $8. The varieties of the
sofa pillow are almost endless. Get a book of designs and learn to make
the Organdy, Butterfly, Duck, Clover, Daisy, Cretonne, Yacht, Mull,
Poppy, and many others.
119. JEWEL TRAY.–Cut a circle of delicate écru linen twenty-two inches
in circumference, and sew a piece of bonnet wire around it, notching or
looping it so as to give an escaloped edge. Have a pretty little motto
in the center, and fill the remaining space with snowdrops worked in
ivory white, each tiny petal tipped with pale green, and with a long
green stem. When properly worked, this is very pretty, and ought to
command a good price.
120. AMERICAN FLAG.–Make it five feet in length by three in width, and
smaller flags in the same proportion. There should be seven stripes of
red bunting, six of white, and a field of blue. On this field stitch
forty-five stars of white. Face the inside of the flag with a piece of
strong canvas for the admission of the pole. If the stars are of silk,
the price should be at least twice that of linen.
121. HAIR-PIN CASE.–Cut a piece of fine white duck in the shape of a
square envelope and embroider upon the flap any simple design in wash
silk. Close with button and buttonhole. Sell for fifty cents.
122. CHAIR CUSHION.–Take blue denim with dark and light shades happily
combined. Let the tint of pale blue be appliqued on, and then worked in
different shades of this color with rope floss in long and short stitch.
The back may be of plain denim unadorned.
123. LAMP SHADE.–You can get a dozen skeleton frames for a few cents,
and French crêpe paper which costs little, and your own cultivated taste
and deft fingers will do the rest. A cheap kaleidoscope will suggest an
infinite number of designs. One lady made an elegant shade at a cost of
$2.50, and sold it for $6.00.
124. BOOK-MARK.–Silk, worsted, and two hours of spare time will give
you a pretty book-mark which should sell for fifty cents, at a cost of
making (time not reckoned) of only fifteen cents.
125. HANDY WORK-BOX.–Take a pasteboard box and line with denim. Include
a tiny pin-cushion, scissors-case, thimble-holder, needle-book, flap,
and spool wires.
126. PIN-CUSHION.–Always popular, but the form changes every season.
Cover with silk or satin, and overlay with strips of fine linen
embroidered in festoons of tiny blossoms. Border with ruffle of lace,
and put small rosettes of baby ribbon at the corners.
127. CATCH-BAG.–A convenient receptacle for laundry, schoolbooks,
shoes, and many other articles. It should be in envelope form, the
dimensions eighteen by twelve. The material may be white linen, upon
which you should work a gold border. Make an attachment for hanging on
128. COURT-PLASTER CASE.–Cut two circles of celluloid two inches in
diameter, and four other circles of thin drawing-paper for inside
leaves. In these little pockets place pieces of court-plaster, pink,
white and black, cut into strips or squares, and held flat and
stationary by having their comers thrust into slits cut in the paper.
Punch holes in the left side of the case, and tie with baby-ribbon.
Paint or work on outside cover a design of burrs with “I cling to thee,”
or a design of beggar-ticks with “I stick to thee.”
129. POSTAGE-STAMP HOLDER.–Same as above except that the shape is
130. PHOTOGRAPH FRAME.–Take a piece of stout pasteboard and turn down
the corners. Cut the inside to the proper size, and stitch a piece of
chamois over the pasteboard. Tie bits of colored ribbon on the corners.
Sell for twenty-five cents.
131. MATCH-SAFE.–Cover a tin box of any shape with one of the lesser
inflammable materials such as chamois, and on the front attach a piece
of match-paper. Sell for ten or fifteen cents.
132. WALL-POCKET.–Take bamboo sticks or thin strips of wood, and glue
them together in the form of a pocket-frame. The sticks should be about
two inches apart and the outer lattice-work a little lower than the
inner. Wind colored ribbons around the sticks, and have a circular
head-piece for attachment to the wall.
133. GLOVE-BOX.–(Easter present). Cover a flat pasteboard box with pale
gray linen or delicate blue. Work a spray of passion-flowers on the top,
inclosing some suitable motto.
Christmas presents should be in the store at least three weeks before
the holidays. As many donors like to attach the initials of the
recipient to the present, have prettily worked letters for that purpose,
and charge ten cents a letter. Be careful to inform all possible
customers of this arrangement, as many will be attracted by that
feature. Call attention to this class of goods when your patrons are
buying other kinds of your wares, and be always eager to show your
latest designs. Remember that taste in this department is as important
as the word fresh in Section 10.
_Section 14. Miscellaneous Articles._
Here are a few other things to complete the list of one hundred which
you can make in your own home. You will discover many others for
yourself as your trade increases, and your friends make suggestions. The
secret of success is to find out what people want, and then give them a
better and cheaper article than they can get elsewhere. You will find
your customers’ wants changing according to the season or the newest
fad. Things which you expected to sell will often be left on your hands.
You must be prepared to take advantage of this. Drop the price when the
demand falls, and always have in your mind some new article of home
manufacture to take the place of that whose popularity is waning. Keep
eyes and ears strained for the newest thing. As it was said of a certain
burglar that he never saw a lock without the thought, “How can I pick
it?” so you should never witness the sale of any article without the
query, “How can I make it?” The following are easily made, and some of
them very profitable:
134. HOT GEMS.–If you can work up a demand for hot gems, you can make a
good profit. Take a pint each of flour and milk, an egg, and half a
teaspoonful of salt. Beat the egg until light, add the milk and salt to
it, and beat gradually into the flour. Bake twenty minutes in hot
gem-pans. The quantities given will make a dozen gems. Notice should be
given of the hour of the day when they may be expected to be fresh from
the oven. Charge twenty-five cents a dozen.
135. SLICED WATERMELON.–Nothing so delights the heart of a boy. Cut a
large ripe melon into half-slices, rather thick, and lay them on ice in
the show window. Cost of melon and ice, fifty cents. Twenty slices at
five cents each, $1. Profit, one-half.
136. TOOTHSOME PIES.–Roll two strips of paste for the upper and lower
crusts. Place the latter in position after moistening the plate, and
fill with the prepared material already sweetened and seasoned. Lay on
the upper crust, and make a little slit in the center. Put in hot oven,
close draft after fifteen minutes, and bake from fifty minutes to one
hour. Charge twenty-five cents for good deep pies.
137. ICE CREAM.–You can do well with this in warm weather, if you have
a room suitable for serving. One pint of sugar, one of water, and three
of cream, the yolks of five eggs and a large tablespoonful of the
flavoring extract. Boil the sugar and water twenty-five minutes. Beat
the eggs with one fourth of a teaspoonful of salt. Place the basin of
boiling syrup in another of boiling water, and, stirring the yolks of
the eggs into the syrup, beat rapidly for three minutes. Take the basin
from the fire, place it in a pan of ice water, and beat until cold. Add
the cream and extract, and, placing the mixture in the freezer, pack
around with ice, alternating with thin layers of salt. Turn the crank
until the cream is frozen hard.
138. PORK AND BEANS.–You can make a large profit on pork and beans in
places where there is a demand for them. Both are cheap, and you can
make a handsome profit on a dish selling for thirty-five cents, the dish
to be returned. It is well if you can to make a bargain to supply
families once a week on particular days. This dish takes well in all
parts of New England.
139. TOMATO KETCHUP.–Raising your own tomatoes, you can make it at a
trifling cost, and reap a profit at ten cents for small bottles. For
twelve ripe, peeled tomatoes, take two large onions, four green peppers,
and chop fine. Add two tablespoonfuls of salt, two of brown sugar, two
of ginger, one of cinnamon, one of mustard, a nutmeg, grated; and four
cupfuls of vinegar. Boil all together for three hours, stirring
frequently, and bottle while hot.
140. MINCE MEAT.–Many housekeepers prefer to buy the preparation rather
than to be at the trouble of making it. Lean beef, two pounds; beef
suet, one pound; apples, five pounds; seeded raisins, two pounds;
currants, two pounds; citron, three-fourths of a pound; pounded mace and
pounded cinnamon, two tablespoonfuls each; one of grated nutmeg; one
each of cloves and allspice; brown sugar two and one-half pounds; sherry
wine, one quart; brandy, one pint. Put up in three-pound cans. The
compound should make six cans, and you should charge seventy-five cents
a can for so choice a product. You can reduce the expense, if your
customers wish a cheaper article.
141. DRIED APPLES.–If you have a few apple trees, you will often find
it more profitable to dry for future sale than to sell the green fruit.
Pare, core, and slice. Lay the slices in shallow pans or on clean
boards, and expose to the air until thoroughly dried. Then pack and
store for the winter market. You should get at least ten cents a pound.
142. PEANUTS.–No risk of loss on these for they will always sell. Buy
from a shipper or wholesale grocer a bag of peanuts and roast them in
the oven until they are a fine brown, taking care not to burn. Profits
in a bag of peanuts selling at five cents, one-half pint, 100 per cent.
143. CIGARETTES.–Roll a pinch of tobacco in a piece of white paper and
scent with any agreeable perfume. More profit than in cigars.
144. TALLOW CANDLES.–Still used in the country, and to some extent by
poor people in the city. Take beef and mutton suet in the proportion of
one to two. Melt, and fill tin molds in which the wick has been
previously inserted. The cost is little beyond the work. Charge
twenty-five cents per dozen.
145. LUNG PRESERVER.–(Rock and Rye). Here is the secret of this popular
remedy for coughs, colds and lung troubles. Rye whisky, three gallons;
syrup, made of rock candy, one gallon. Cost of whiskey and syrup, $3.50.
Put up in pint bottles at fifty cents each, $16. Profits, $12.50, or
nearly 300 per cent.
146. POISON KILLER.–You may not sell much of this, but it is a useful
article to have in the house, and will keep indefinitely. Buy a
quantity of powder of aristol, and put it in small pepper-boxes, or in
any box with a perforated lid, holding a few ounces. Dust the affected
part freely with this, and the effect on the poisoned flesh will be
magical. Use for any inflammation. Advertise it in placards.
147. MUCILAGE.–Dissolve gum-arabic in water until the whole is of the
consistency of cream, and keep it from contact with the air. Add a few
drops of sweet oil to prevent it from souring. The cost is almost
nothing. You can sell it at five cents a bottle.
148. POP CORN.–Use a large popper, and when the corn comes out white
and hot, add a little molasses to make it adhere, and flavor with some
popular extract. Mold it in balls, rectangles, or in any other fancy
shape. A bushel of shelled corn which costs a dollar will make 125
balls. These at five cents apiece come to $6.25.
This completes the list of one hundred articles for your store. Observe
that they are all made at home, and for that reason the profits are from
50 to 500 per cent., while in the ordinary way of buying from the
wholesaler the storekeeper has to be satisfied with from 10 to 20 per
cent. You will discover for yourself many other articles which can be
made at home and sold at a profit, and you will not confine yourself to
homemade goods, but will handle anything for which there is a demand
whether you can make it yourself or not. Of course, if you make all the
above goods, you will need much help, the cost of which will diminish
somewhat the profits, but the design is that you begin on a modest
scale, at first doing all the manufacturing yourself, and call in
assistance as your business and capital grow. In writing this chapter
the author has contemplated a lady as keeping a store of this kind, but
a gentleman can do much of the work as well, and some sections of it
better. Perhaps the ideal store would be that kept by husband and wife
with growing children to assist. Now let us have the experience of a
lady who has tried our plan.
Mrs. J—- G—- says: “By the death of my husband I was left alone with
three children, Wilhelm fifteen, Gertrude thirteen, and Egbert ten. I
had no means, though, fortunately, my little place in the suburban town
of T—- was free of debt. It consisted of a neat house and three acres
of land. Having a fondness for plants, I cultivated them in curious
ways, while keeping my little family together by taking in sewing. One
day a lady who was spending the summer in T—- called and inquired what
I would take for a pea vine which was growing in a tumbler of water. I
was surprised, as I had not thought of making merchandise of my plant
pets. She purchased a number of pretty little odd things of vegetable
life with which I had amused myself, and suggested that I might earn
something by cultivating rare forms of plants. It was a new idea to me.
I had not thought there was any money in what had been to me only a
pastime, but I increased the number of my plant curiosities, and the
lady and her friends bought them all.
“Then my friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you keep a Home Store? You have
so much taste I think you would do nicely?’ ‘And pray what is a Home
Store?’ I inquired. ‘Oh, it’s a store where the things are all made at
home.’ ‘But I have no capital.’ ‘You need no capital. See, the things
are all made at home. Begin with a few tea dishes.’ So I bought a ham,
sliced it thin, and laid some sprigs of parsley around it. I also made
some artificial honey from a recipe in an old cook book. With the money
I thus earned, I had my window enlarged into a show-window, and put in
a variety of vegetables from my garden, taking care they should be
strictly fresh every day. I had such success that, at the suggestion of
my lady patron, I began to make a great many other things–pastry,
preserves, sweetmeats, and toilet articles. I also purchased one hundred
fowls, and served my customers with fresh eggs. My trade grew so that I
decided to have a real store, and so, at an expense of about $50, I had
my two front rooms made into one and fitted up with shelves and
counters. I purchased a cow and a pig on credit, and also two or three
hives of bees. The people seemed to appreciate my fresh eggs, milk,
butter and honey, and I soon paid all my debts and branched out in
several other directions in the way of homemade goods. Hitherto, my
three children had afforded me all the help I needed, but now I found it
necessary to employ a cheap male laborer to look after my garden,
orchard, cow, pig, and poultry, as well as to assist in making some of
my goods. I made a great variety of things as new suggestions came to me
almost daily, and also, as my customers called for them, I bought what I
could not well make myself. Now, after three years’ experience, I think
I have the most profitable store of its size that can be found anywhere.
Here is my account for last year:
ARTICLES. COST. SALES. PROFITS.
Household plants Seeds $ .90 $15.25 $14.35
Table dishes Meats, etc. 12.59 36.94 24.35
Pastry Materials 53.36 166.05 112.69
Nuts and candy “ 61.66 379.22 317.56
Preserves, etc “ 12.10 49.75 37.65
Toilet articles “ 9.05 19.05 10.00
Varnishes and soaps “ 3.18 15.50 12.32
Soft drinks “ 5.15 31.55 26.40
Vegetables Seeds 2.50 37.27 34.77
School supplies Materials 3.70 13.71 10.01
Christmas presents “ 5.25 48.13 42.88
Eggs, honey and the dairy Keeping stock 75.50 217.00 141.50
Miscellaneous articles Materials 55.05 291.15 236.10
Goods bought Price paid 473.02 551.10 78.08
——- ——— ———
$773.01 $1,871.67 $1,098.66
“Deduct from the above the wages of laborer at $20 per month, $240, and
I have left $858.66 as net profit for my year’s work. The fruit for the
preserves and pies was raised on the place, and I was under no expense
for tin and paper boxes, these being collected from the houses of my
friends. It will be seen that nearly one-third of the sales of my ‘Home
Store’ were of purchased goods on which the profit were only 15 per
cent., but so large was the profit on the homemade goods that the total
sales were at the gratifying advance of 80 per cent. Besides, I have had
the living of my family and hired help. The expense for meats not
furnished on the place, and for groceries not kept in the store,
together with that for clothes, taxes, and sundries, was $316.05. Thus,
I have paid all my expenses, and saved $540 for a rainy day. Pretty
good, don’t you think, for a woman, and a novice at that? Of course, I
have worked hard, sometimes as many as fifteen hours a day, but I have
enjoyed it, and think I am on the way to a snug little fortune. Others
with more talents, and under more favorable circumstances, I have no
doubt could do much better.
“The secrets of my success, if you ask me, are: First, the trading
instinct, or the knowing what, where, and when to buy. (I never let
myself get out of a stock article). Second, courtesy to all–to the
little barefoot colored boy just the same as to the grand madam. Third,
economy, both in my family expenses, buying only what I need, and in my
store, using in other ways that which will not sell in the original
form, throwing nothing away unless it is spoiled and even that giving,
as a last resort, to my pig and poultry; and fourth, hard work, making
and selling with my own hands everything I can, and carefully
superintending everything I cannot.”
There are multitudes of people who have a single acre of ground which
could be made to yield much profit if they knew how to handle it. Others
have an half or a quarter of an acre; not enough, perhaps, to give them
a support, but which would add very materially to their income if
properly cultivated. In this chapter we tell you what to do with the
“home acre,” with examples of what others have done with it.
149. MONEY IN PEARS.–Do you know that one acre of the best yielding
pear trees will bring more profit than a five-hundred acre farm without
a twentieth of the care or capital?
150. GREENBACKS IN GREENINGS.–It is a fact that forty apple trees of
the R. H. Greening variety on a single acre have yielded a crop worth
151. PLUMS OF GOLD.–A widow has in her garden twelve plum trees from
which she regularly receives $60 a year.
152. THE RASPBERRY ACRE.–“There are repeated instances of $400 and
even $600 being made clear from a single acre of raspberries.” See
Morris’ “Ten Acres Enough.”
153. PROFITS IN BIG PEACHES.–When ordinary peaches were selling at 25
cents a bushel, a grower received $2 a bushel. This is how he did it.
When the fruit was as large as a hickory nut, he employed a large force
of laborers and picked off more than one-half the fruit. The rest
ripened early, grew large, and were of excellent quality. His net profit
that year from eleven acres was between $3,000 and $4,000.
154. EASY TOMATOES.–An easy crop, requiring little care. Says a grower
in New Jersey: “My single acre of tomatoes netted a clear profit of
$120. I am aware that others have realized more than double this sum,
but they were experienced hands, while I was new to the business.” Four
hundred dollars per acre has frequently been realized from this crop.
One person had four acres from which he received from $1,500 to $2,000
155. ASSORTED STRAWBERRIES.–Here is the experience of a novice: “I ran
a ditch through my wet and almost worthless meadow land, and set it out
with strawberry plants. The second year I had an enormous crop. The
larger berries were separated from the smaller, and the show thus made
by the assorted fruit was magnificent. For 600 quarts I received $300,
it being a little early for strawberries in the New York market.” It
pays to grow early and large fruit.
156. LIVINGS IN LETTUCE.–Fifteen thousand heads can be set upon an
acre. These at the average price of $1.50 per hundred means $225 per
acre. Five acres of this crop should give a fair-sized family a good
living. It is an auxiliary crop and may be sowed between heads of
157. SOVEREIGNS IN SPINACH.–There are few more important crops in
market. It requires little labor, can be cultivated evenings and
mornings by a busy man, and pays about $75 an acre.
158. THOUSAND-DOLLAR CELERY.–Celery may be grown as a second crop after
beets, onions, or peas are cleared up. A little reckoning in the number
of heads per acre shows that if the grower could get the consumer’s
price of eight or ten cents a head, it would yield a clear profit of
159. FORTUNES IN WATER-CRESS.–“I have no doubt,” says a large grower,
“that in situations where irrigation could be used at pleasure, or
regular plantations made as for cranberries, judging from the enormous
price water-cress sells at, picked as it is in the present haphazard
way, an acre would sell for $4,000 or $5,000.”
160. THE DOLLAR BLACKBERRY.–When the Lawton first came out, so great
was the praise of it and the rush to obtain it that many roots were sent
through the mail at $1 apiece, and the lucky discoverer netted a small
fortune. But any grower has the same chances to discover a new variety,
or to improve on his present stock.
161. NICKELS IN PICKLES.–Do you know that the enormous number of
150,000 cucumbers may be easily grown on an acre of land, and that at
the low price of $1.50 per thousand this means $225 per acre? The crop
also is very easily raised.
162. THE BEET LOT.–You can grow 80,000 roots per acre even when sown a
foot apart, yet at $1 per hundred, deducting one-half for expenses,
there still results a net value of $400.
163. THE ROASTING EAR.–You can plant an acre of sweet corn, realize
$100 for it, clear it off in August, sow the cleared ground with turnip
seed, and from the second crop reap another $100.
164. PAYING PEAS.–They are the early kind, marketed before the price
falls. If grown under glass so as to be crowded on the market in early
June, they will bring $4 a bushel, and at that rate an acre will mean
$400. If delayed a month, they will not bring a quarter of that sum.
165. GRATED HORSERADISH.–The root is very easily raised, requires
little cultivation, but is quite profitable. Grate finely and put in
attractive white bottles with red labels. Give it some fancy name, as
“Red Orchard,” or “Spring Valley.” “Little Neck” clams got their
reputation largely in this way. Sell for ten cents a bottle.