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Today’s business idea

But Kiwi shoe polish, once a household name, is soon to be a thing of the past, after the manufacturer decided to stop selling the product in the UK.

Gap in the market then. It’s not that no one still polishes shoes, it’s that not enough do to cover the vast overheads of shoe polish being run by an American multinational. Gotta sell a lot of tins to pay a US CEO.

Apparently it costs $800k or so to get the equipment to set up to make shoe polish. Naptha, turps and dye really. So, gap in market, be the low cost rival not paying those overheads – yes there really is money in sweating a dying (ahaha) market. Sign up with Timpsons to be the distribution and the cash will roll in!

We can even prove this is a grand, even great, idea.

Someone’s already doing it.

The other alternative distributor would be the NAAFI, if that still exists.

21 thoughts on “Today’s business idea”

  1. there really is money in sweating a dying market

    PDP-11 computers were discontinued in 1997. There’s a thriving market in compatible boards, peripherals and spares, plus new boards, clones and emulators. I’d guess a significant amount of industrial plant is still run by PDP-11s.

  2. I was tweeking some PDP-11 code just a couple of weeks ago, and did a PDP-11 Christmas Coding Challenge last week. Very nice processor.

  3. That takes me back. I wrote the code for a Comms hub running on RSX11S back in the 80s. So 12 or 13 years later the boss comes in: “have you still got the code?”. Of course I’m several projects down the road now and hacking on C/C++ rather than the Pascal we used for that project. They wanted to replace the old Comms hubs with a Vax!

  4. I always preferred Cherry Blossom to polish and bull my boots and shoes, especially when I was told it was a British owned firm. Now out of the Army, the cheapest will do (Asda’s not bad).

  5. Ha, only on news years eve did i have a similar conversation about the white stuff (lacquer?) we used to put on your cricket boots, tennis shoes, plimpsoles…..might even be a potential growth market if anyone could persuade the new generation to look after their trainers rather than get new ones.

  6. One of the directors at my employer still makes good money for us managing a code base in several VAX/VMS installations around Australia. The most notable being a number of TAB’s

  7. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    I’ve used beeswax based polish from Dasco for years. I can’t remember the last time I used something like Kiwi. Perhaps it’s a typical mature market ; mass market, shoes that don’t need polishing, high end stuff like Dasco, but the middle drops out?

  8. I still manage to polish my leather shoes. Which is most of them. I regard trainers as terminally naff. Pikey & n****r wear & I don’t lay tarmac or perform rap.* Never ever be seen in sports attire unless actually engaged in sport.**
    The polish now comes in squeezable tubes with a foam applicator. So you don’t end up with it under your fingernails. Stuff I buy seems to come from China. If Kiwi can’t move with the times, their problem.
    *See also clothes with the maker’s name or logo on the outside. If they require that they’re guaranteed rubbish.
    **Except of course Converse original pattern Chucks. Classic’s get grandfathered in.And supremely comfortable & durable they are. Longer you’ve had them the more authentic they look. Bought my first Chucks in the 60s. The discrete label on Levi 501’s also gets a pass. Provided they’re US manufacture. Euro’s are crap.

  9. O/T A bleg. I have a Brasiliera been mugged in Milan. Lost her docs, cards & money. Doesn’t know anyone there, speak Italian or understand the place. (WTF she wanted to go to Milan in the first place? Shithole of a city.) Currently I have her roosted in a hotel in the burbs & I’m feeding her via plastic. Need someone there I can transfer money to for her. Some working money to get her mobile to do the consulates (Brasil for a passport, Spain for a visa, replacement NIE). I don’t fancy having to retrieve her, deported, from Brasil.
    Any ideas? Nearest person I’ve got’s a Cubana in Naples.

  10. I polish my brown shoes with beeswax and my black with Kiwi or Cherry Blossom, according to which tin survives unemptied. On t’other hand, I do it only once or twice a year. In future, I fear, my tender tootsies will need to be cherished with trainers as my doctor recommended years ago.

  11. Very rarely I have to dress up and wear old style shiny shoes. I have one pair and, on such occasions I dig them out and give them a polish. Wifey wears Ecco shoes sometimes and they get the occasional buff up. The rest of the time we both wear running shoes. This means that a tin of shoe polish lasts for years.

  12. My dad always swore by Day & Martin’s (latterly Carr, Day & Martin; now, apparently, “the world leader in equine care”… I suppose it’s related, all that leather tack and whatnot), with Cherry Blossom as an acceptable substitute. I’ve a vague recollection that it boasted of its beeswax content on the tin. Kiwi was the last resort, if he couldn’t get supermarket own-brand. And he’d moan about it constantly until the tin was finished.

  13. Dearime.

    I have plantar fasciitis, so shoe choice is always an issue. Sometimes of quite severe pain. Unusually, standing still is the problem. Walking is good for me and helps control it.

    Trainers have softer tread, but don’t otherwise solve the issue. Orthotic inserts, even in dress shoes, do. The other trick is to alternate dress shoes at work.

    My trainers are always plain black, from laces to soles. They take some finding, but I can’t abide walking around with gaudy rags on my feet. Also “old style” as the new styles are hideous. From any distance they look like dress shoes. I keep them proper black with suede restorer.

  14. Since the story is not that Kiwi will no longer be made but that it will merely be no longer sold, there’s no need for the $800k – just import what you want from somewhere that is still making it. Or, even better, do nothing as people can presumably still buy it from if they want it. It only makes sense to import or sell large quantities for resale if there is a demand for large quantities.

  15. Recovering from a broken ankle a few years back I was recommended to switch to Hoka trainers, wonderfully comfortable. The guy who developed them did it for running ultramarathons/endurance type stuff in the mountains.
    Having recommended them to a few nurses they are great for any job where you are on your feet for long stretches as well

  16. Cherry Blossom isg £2.10 a pop in Tesco. Not much proffit to be had there with the low volumes. That said I’ve used Kiwi since the first time I bulled parade wellies. The skilled lads I tried to learn from didn’t rate Cherry Blossom.

  17. @Hallowed Be – you can get vinyl wraps for cars, to change the look temporarily without the cost and difficulty of changing the paint, so maybe you could do the same for trainers?

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