A Free Business Idea For You

I was in NY for most of the week.  Everytime I walked past a newstand or street vendor it disturbed me to no end that they wore their own clothing. In particularly , their own T-Shirts. Why ?

Because it made absolutely no sense to me that some entrepreneur had not done a deal that required the employees of these businesses to wear branded T Shirts.

Dexter was everywhere in NY promoting the premiere of the show. Except on these T Shirts.  How much would a hot dog vendor charge to wear a Dexter T Shirt ? A T Shirt promoting any product or brand ?

Would some smart person PLEASE find out if there are any ownership groups of street vendors and newstands and work out a deal with them ?

Unless there is some law I dont know about, there must be  a shot for someone to make some good money in major cities. Please do it so I feel better.

37 thoughts on “A Free Business Idea For You

  1. Mr Cube Man,

    Thanks for giving me more confidence in a similar idea I came up with a few months ago. Now that I have your blessing I’m going to try and find a way to move forward with it (have no idea what the first step is).

    My similar idea:

    I run the website IllinoisHSbasketball.com, and do on camera interviews with all of the elite high school basketball recruits across the country on the AAU circuit. I put them all on youtube, and have interview about 60% of the 5 star recruits nationally, and like 75% of the top 10 guys in each class. Needless to say, college and high school fans eat this stuff up, and my videos combined have gotten hundreds of thousands of views (average video gets a few thousand, some as high as 50K…. anyone reading this can look up my name Daniel Poneman on youtube).

    Even though I’m pretty sure you’ve already figured out what the idea is, I’ll spell it out. Everyone knows that the money you could make from youtube adds is, like, nothing, but If thousands of college and high school basketball fans watch my videos and respect my opinions, why wouldn’t someone want to advertise on my chest or in the background of the interview. Furthermore, why shouldn’t companies with basketball related products that I like and use pay me to plug their products during my interviews?

    Am I delusional or would this work?

    Whats the first step I should take?

    Thanks to anyone who helps me out!

    Comment by danielponeman -

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  3. Great idea… That would be sweet. Pretty much a win-win for everyone. Hot Dog vendor gets some extra coin and Company gets a cheap source of advertising a lot of people will see.

    Comment by performancepartsj -

  4. Mr. Cuban, I have a few business ideas I would like to share with you that I’m sure you’ll find most interesting. I just left a HFT firm.

    I’d shoot you an email directly but the contact link on your blog is broken.

    Comment by catchchicago -

  5. Really awsome idea Mark. I am going to look into this because I am trying to start a business in New York right now.

    Comment by wheelchaircleaner -

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  7. Thanks for the brilliant idea. I’m on it 😉
    Nice interview on HBO Sports the other night.

    Comment by castonzo -

  8. Mr. Cuban

    How about in lieu of finding the way to get them all in the same tshirt how about we teach them about the benefits of personal branding. As you and I know the best thing to do is to teach. Just as you change uniforms or brand your arena as the fan friendly place it is or I market myself as a realtor we know that setting yourself apart is the key. Just think of just one of these vendors establishing themselves as the “one” for that they would grow exponetially ie the naked cowboy of new york street fame. So I pose this what can person do to help them grow? I had my mentors do this for me and I’m sure that someone can find a way to do this.
    And just think of the mark that a person would leave by saying ” I inspired that person to be great”

    Comment by jmartin821 -

  9. Am I missing something here? Don’t people pay $100’s of dollars to wear their favorite team/players jersey? How much of the licensing revenue from NBA team apparel drops to the bottom line? If people are not paying to wear your logo, companies are giving them out for free…I’ve been the promotional products industry for 16 years and have sold hundreds of thousands of cutom BRANDED t-shirts (among hundreds of branded merchandise) that are produced for two reasons: to be given away or to be sold. In today’s economy you can produce 1000 t-shirts for $2.50-$5.00 each depending on the design. It is cheaper to give them away than to try to pay somebody to wear them. How much would you need to be paid to wear a t-shirt? The person standing next to you will wear it for FREE.
    I’ve seen CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies stand in line at a tradeshow to get a free t-shirt…it’s a beautiful thing:)

    Comment by edventurepromotions -

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  12. i once tried to sell sponsorships for my car as I drove around town as well as my guest bathroom. had the toilet looking like a nascar…

    Comment by woodysmalls -

  13. One simple question: How do you enforce it? How can you verify that the countless vendors are actually wearing the shirt or simply change it? Now maybe if you had a digital ad screen on the cart that changed while they waited for their food like they have in cabs… thats another story… (maybe they have that already?)

    Comment by jrschafer -

  14. New Yorkers hate wearing anything with logos, advertisement. If it’s not the Knicks or Yankees forget about it

    Comment by darryl3 -

  15. Mark, I have a business idea for you as well.
    Illuminated Motion LLC has mass appeal and enormous potential.
    It is a very young company in need of both capitol and guidance.

    Comment by fndnblnce -

  16. There are a handful of people trying this in a variety of different ways. The “originator”, as far as I am aware, was IwearYourShirt (who I based my idea on – Las Vegas Stripwalker). But there is also Girl In Your Shirt , Band In Your Shirt , Guy In Your Pants (hilarious parody), also TShirdAds.com (which someone already mentioned). There’s probably more, but you get the idea. Some people are even going so far as tattooing themselves. Pretty crazy. It’s basically just the modern version of the sandwich board which has been around forever as one of the earliest forms of “human advertising”. It will be interesting to see how the current version of the trend plays out.

    Comment by stripwalker -

  17. We identify with labels, when we see them, we gravitate towards them. Street vendors could definitely corner their market this way 😉

    Comment by canamgirl -

  18. A company just launched to do just that


    Comment by worldbeta -

  19. Mr. Oliva,

    I beg to differ.

    Much to my chagrin some low level sports teams are now having there uniforms with ads.

    I agree a lot of consumers are on marketing overload and sick of it.

    That being said as a NYer my entire life these guys would wear it with a smile if you paid them – especially the independent operators of which is the majority.

    And believe me when I tell you it wouldn’t cost much to pay them to wear it.

    Comment by islandlifeequities -

  20. Alessando-

    Yes, possibly. Also if you are unaware the vendors here in NYC pay different “rent” to NYC depending on their location.

    For example the most expensive spot in NYC is right outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    The independent vendor there pays 300k/ year just to have that location.

    One company has the rights & employs all vendors in Central Park for example.

    By this logic you could probably charge advertisers based on which vendor is wearing what and what location.

    More eyes = more $

    Comment by islandlifeequities -

  21. As a customer, as long as I don’t work for a company that is a direct competitor to the product or service on the T-shirt, it is a good idea. This idea could even start a bidding war as to who is willing to pay or give the vendor more, but the “loser” will probably just take their business elsewhere.

    Those who eschew all forms of advertising may come off as cooler. more independent, and less “needy” than the vendors that agree to wear advertising, so there could be a negative consequence to this idea.

    Comment by alessandromachi -

  22. A free idea for YOU… I would love to watch old NBA MLB NFL etc games or plays. The leagues control the rights and the video. Stream that or sell me a DVD if you wanna stay old school. Set up a deal with Hulu and get ads for it. Charge small fees for it. Geez! You guys might as well be in bed with the MPAA and RIAA for having an outdated business model. Give us what we want. Make some money off me. I would gladly make money off this idea except the league controls EVERYTHING.

    Bill Ross

    Comment by disfiguredskating -

  23. Have you heard of my website? Not trying to be a spammer, but this is the career I started this year.

    Comment by iwearyourshirt -

  24. thanks for this blog. I have been thinking of a way to maximize advertising opportunities even in this economic scene.

    I am a screen printer here in North GA and have thought about an idea similar to yours. I will keep you updated on how it goes.


    Comment by albertg -

  25. Why stop there? Just have a service for bidding on contracts to wear a free shirt x days within y weeks. Technology is enough today that the person could “check in” every x hours by uploading a timestamped (with GPS if possible) photo. Vendors could browse for the best value by looking through the photos to see who is wearing the shirts in their target market or specify parameters in the contract.

    Seriously, this could be a big business. I know that if I see enough random people wearing widgetsforyouandme.com shirts I’ll go to that website.

    Comment by dmbul -

  26. The umbrellas the hot dog vendors use are either free or the vendors are paid to use them depending on the sponsor.

    I know a major company that employs a lot of these guys as well as where the company & the independent operators get their food & supplies.

    Great idea wish I had time to chase it down with my intel.

    I often wonder why more trailers and box trucks don’t have advertising. Some do their own, some sell space, but the majority are still bare. Mind boggling.

    Comment by islandlifeequities -

  27. This doesn’t sit well with me. I think many cab drivers or hot dog vendors would think it undignified to be advertising through their clothes. These are often people (when you stop to talk with them) that have families, houses, put kids through school, etc.

    When you wear a uniform that your employer requires, and it’s related to the place of business, there isn’t any real stigma… though I’ve known people (foolishly proud, in my opinion) that refused to work anywhere that made them wear a uniform or badge.

    Selling hot dogs is respectable work to someone that is thankful for that opportunity. Being made to wear advertising for Dexter or condoms or whatever ads happened to be sold is another matter.

    [I’ve lived in NY for the last decade or so… just my take]

    Comment by Nick Oliva -

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  29. ive always thought about this. i was working on a job website and pitched the idea of blankets, jackets, tshirts, etc for homeless people that advertised the company. “i should have used bla.com”

    bad taste? maybe. good tactic? i think so.

    Comment by alex3780 -

  30. Everyone in my office goes to one of two coffee stands outside (everyone has their own alliance) but about 2 years ago we gave the guys in both a bunch of tshirts of our company. They wear them practically every day and give us ‘discounted’ deals often. Win-Win.

    Comment by nybrasky -

  31. @growhappy: I disagree. If you are working at a hot dog booth, do you really need to be wearing a shirt advertising the hot dog booth? People are going to see and/or smell your food, I don’t think a logo tshirt is going to be able to entice them more than the food itself.

    Comment by ckasek -

  32. It seems like they should be wearing a shirt that advertises their hot dog selling business.

    Comment by growhappy -

  33. You’d think maybe those guys that put signs on top of the taxi cabs would have figured this one out.

    Comment by benrice23 -

  34. Brilliant, and to be honest with you…I don’t always think you are…lol. But you make a killer point with this, what a wasted opportunity!!!

    Comment by grumbje -

  35. I think it’s because nobody wants their product associated with body odor.

    Go Mavs!

    Comment by happyforapathy -

  36. I’ll wear a Maverick jersey if you’ll pay me….

    Comment by geniusoflove -

  37. omg, Mr. Cuban forgive me; i don’t know how to email or text you personally so my comment doesn’t reflect on your last blog.
    I am the biggest female mavsfan in the USA. we had women’s night monday. all i can do is copy/paste the note i replied to, to Ms. Berry in charge of monday night. Marion and Dampier! OMG, what an incredible evening!
    oh, Ms. Berry,
    I don’t know anyone who didn’t have a great time Monday.
    but not as much as me. As much as I love the Mavs, the Mavs games; only the playoff games can top women’s 101 night!
    I wish I could write a note to each of the people who did a class (the trainer, the coaches, announcers, ect.) Each one had a great
    impact on everyone at least in the class I was in!
    ie: Bob Ortegal gave a little lecture on trust based on team and people chemistry. THAT ALONE was worth the $75,
    so how do you go about thanking the host{s} of each class?
    the pics are great too. Thanks for what you and others do to make this event happen and happen spectacularly each year.

    Comment by mavsgreatestfemalefan -

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