Just myself, my wife Jane and a curious young cat named Raleigh, in a well equipped basement workshop. After building bike frames and components, as a hobby, for 22 years, I retired from my day job in 2000. The new commute is 13 stairs.
Over time Bikesmith has come to focus on short bicycle cranks and crank tools.
Hiawatha Cyclery for conventional bikes &
Calhoun Cycle for recumbents and folders.
|WWW + USPS = Global Cottage Industries |
Before the Internet, a small business selling inexpensive products that were only needed by a few thousand people, scattered around the world, couldn't exist.
My gross sales may never reach $50,000/year. But in a typical year I'll sell to customers in 35-45 states and 15-20 countries.
Without Google there is no way I could afford to reach the few people who need short cranks and cotter presses.
The US Postal Service can get a cotter press to Japan in 5 days for $16.95.
There must be hundreds of such businesses but here are a few examples.
Brickmania was started by a life-long Lego addict. Who would have thought there would be a world wide market for historical military vehicle Lego kits?
A schoolbus driver designs custom bicycle chainring guards in his apartment, has them cut by a nearby water-jet outfit and mails them everywhere. Without middlemen, his prices are no more than mass produced guards.
Another gent sells replacement parts for antique kerosene railway lanterns.