When Andrew McGrew was an elementary art teacher he wanted to build BIG cardboard sculptures with his students. He did a few projects, but there was a definite limit to the size of sculpture he could make using duct tape before it collapsed under it’s own weight, and duct tape didn’t hold up well to kids playing in boxes.

When McGrew’s son turned five he wanted to have a giant backyard castle for a “Knights & Princesses” birthday party. McGrew came up with an extremely simple design using 8 refrigerator boxes, but needed some kind of fastener.

On the Internet he discovered a plastic rivet that was exactly what he needed. McGrew was able to convince a manufacturer to sell him just $200 dollars worth as a “sample”. When the other families came to the party, they were all very impressed with the cardboard castle, and the first question everyone asked was, “What are those things you used?” People wanted to talk about the rivets!

“After the party, my wife started asking me what I was going to do with all those rivets. Somehow the ideas converged and I knew it would cost next to nothing to put up a website with my castle plans and try to sell what remained of the fasteners,” McGrew said.

McGrew sold through his initial order and now purchases in such large quantities that he gets a discount. He even designed a special tool for removing the rivets.

Monthly sales have doubled and sometimes tripled and McGrew’s projections for 2007 is to earn $25K from the rivets. He even has a new product in production, a cardboard suit of armor.

“It’s truly a historic era we are living in….it has never been easier to start a business. You probably already own the most important tool you’ll need…a computer with an Internet connection,” McGrew said.

Photo by Mr. McGroovy’s.

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