For the past few years, Massachusetts-based entrepreneur Kyle Waring has been selling foliage — yes, actual leaves — to folks who aren’t lucky enough to enjoy the natural fireworks of New England. Catering to the homesick, Waring told Yahoo Finance that he sold a whopping 568 orders last year, the bulk of which were bundles of preserved leaves.
All in all, Waring and his wife, Jessica, sold $15,600 worth of leaves last year. For expenses, they spent $1,000 on resin to preserve the leaves, $2,000 on shipping, and $3,000 on festivals, netting a solid profit they are reinvesting in the project.
This year, however, Waring said that his business, Ship Foliage, is doing things a little differently to deal with the growth it is experiencing as they offer wholesale options to retail stores. Waring is offering cash to buy random people’s maple leaves.
“Do you have an old Maple tree that’s shedding its leaves for the season? Millions of Americans do!,” his website Cash4Leaves.com reads. “Instead of paying someone to rake or blow your leaves away, wouldn’t you like to get cash for your leaves instead?” If you do, Waring is offering $1 per leaf in quantities of 100 if the leaves are good enough. “We’re leaf arbitrageurs!” the website says.
Foliage season is tough this year
In the past, Waring went where the leaves were best since foliage peak season hits different areas at different times, making trips up to New Hampshire, Vermont, and other parts of Massachusetts. However, this year’s weather has shortened the season, making collecting tough.
“Both my wife and I worked at least 30 hours per week for 6 weeks,” Waring told Yahoo Finance. Both Warings work full time — Kyle works for a video game company and Jessica is an art teacher. “We don’t draw a salary, we just keep reinvesting our profits year over year and making sure we have our LLC renewed.”
Cash4Leaves.com, is just the latest site in Waring’s zany Kramer-esque portfolio that includes ShipSnowYo.com, another side-hustle that ships snow to less-frigid locales for snowman or snowball purposes. To Waring, these ventures are more than just a way to make more money — it’s a passion.
“It’s a lot of work without much pay,” said Waring. “But we’re into it. Growing and building sweat equity!”