Editor’s note: Xpress asked local musician and ‘Best Medicine’ humor column contributor Page Ragan to share her advice on local investment opportunities for 2023. She provided four dynamite startup pitches that will be sure to make your new year a lucrative one!*
*Investment opportunities are not actually real and will not result in riches beyond your wildest dreams.
Pass and Puff
The other day I went to an abandoned library. Shelves of books were covered in dust, not a single other person was in sight — it seemed as if the place had been uninhabited for quite some time.
Then I realized it was actually still open. People just don’t go to libraries anymore. But I have a solution that I think is worth… checking out.
We’ve all seen the countless CBD and vape stores that have popped up around Western North Carolina. It seems like a never-ending market, particularly popular with millenials and older members of Generation Z, who — let’s be honest — could use a little more incentive to read. But merely putting vape products in the stacks isn’t enough.
My answer is Pass and Puff: a library-sponsored testing system that rewards users with vape products based on their reading comprehension. The goodies would scale with difficulty, so while passing a quiz on Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop might only yield a disposable pen, acing the test on hometown hero Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel would pay out a high-end squonk box.
Finally, kids can get hooked on phonics AND nicotine!
This time of year, many of us in Western North Carolina are prone to seasonal affective disorder and struggle to get all the daylight we need. Studies suggest going on walks to get that extra vitamin D, but in the cold of January, bundling up isn’t enough.
What if I told you that you could go for a walk but stay warm the whole time? What’s more, you could stay warm and sit down but still be moving? Before you sign your life away for this incredible deal, get ready for the best part: You get to pick the music.
It’s a car.
You’re in a car, and you’re going for a drive for your “mental health” or something.
I know what you’re thinking: How do we introduce to the market a product that already exists? It’s as simple as a rebrand with MoodLyft.
Cars have been around for years, decades even, and many of us are familiar with the concept. Perhaps you’ve even ridden in one yourself. But has anyone been brave enough to market their cars as tools for battling seasonal depression?
A few quick Google searches suggest that no one has! This is your opportunity to make history. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single footstep — toward your car.
With the launch of Apple’s App Store in 2008, iPhone users first met Shazam, an app that could identify a song based on a short sample and link listeners to the iTunes store to buy it. It was a revolutionary technology at the time, but it’s now seen as commonplace (and definitely as cheating in bar trivia).
How could that tech be spruced up for small-town life in Western North Carolina? I’m glad you asked!
Imagine it’s a typical Saturday. You’re out at the farmers market, the art gallery or the Cookout drive-thru. You run into someone you know you’ve met before, but you can’t quite place how. A few minutes of awkward conversation later, you part ways — and it finally hits you. That was your old co-worker from the GreenLife deli counter, Libby!
It’s time to say goodbye to these unwieldy social interactions with IdentiFriend, the first app that uses facial recognition to identify quasi-acquaintances. Just casually hold your phone up and pretend you’re sending an important text. You’ll instantly know that’s Sheila from accounting, or Levi, your roommate’s friend from high school, or … this is 1984 or Robocop, isn’t it?
Did I accidentally invent a dystopian oligarchy again? Cancel it. Cancel everything. Unless Mark Zuckerberg is on board, in which case, I welcome our dystopian future! Let the record show that I was never against it! Let the record show I have always been loyal to our impending AI overlords!
As the number of millennials who say it’s unlikely that they’ll have children continues to rise, entrepreneurs everywhere are racing to fill the ever-expanding market of luxury pet care. Automatic feeders, microchipped doggy doors and catnip wine are only the tip of the iceberg.
But as our society pivots ever more to social media and how we present ourselves online, it’d be leaving money on the table not to bring our pets into a world of comparing themselves to others and feeling inadequate! There’s more than one way to introduce a skin care routine to a cat, and I plan on cornering the market with a line of feline cosmetics: Pretty Kitty.
Give Dottie and Oliver a taste of that dopamine rush when they see the likes trickling in on their latest selfie, and they’ll be desperate to keep that chemical coming. The product possibilities are practically limitless — from cat-scara to fur extensions, your fluffy little friend will do anything to get that sweet, fleeting joy that comes from online validation.
Who knows? As culture continues to shift in favor of the influencers, it may not be long before Mittens is actually the highest earner in your household!