Chapter 7.2



  1. Foreign Homes.—Here is an example of the pluck and enterprise of an American girl: Miss Mary Widdicomb went to Paris in company with a lady friend, and established a home for Americans in that capital. Her rooms accommodated thirty-five, and such was the success of her venture that she is about to open another apartment. Think of it! You can go to a French city and hear the American language, associate with American people, and have American surroundings the same as if in the United States. Here is an opportunity for young women with small capital to see a foreign country and make money at the same time.
  2. Lady Barber.—There is a school in New York for the instruction of barbers. Three months’ apprenticeship will give you a knowledge of the trade. One lady who graduated a year ago from the school now has two assistants, and is earning from $6 to $10 a day.
  3. Mineral Collections for Schools.—Dana’s Mineralogy gives fourteen hundred places in the United States where rare minerals are found. There are 240,968 public schools, and each one needs a mineral collection. Why has no one thought of gathering these rare stones and selling them to our public schools? At $1 a school, the sale should be $240,698, but many rare collections would bring $5, and even $10 each.
  4. Turkish Bath.—One lady opened a place for Turkish and Russian baths. She went around among her lady friends and acquaintances and secured the promise of a paying patronage. Five promised their patronage every week, eight every two weeks, and twenty-four at least once a month. Thus the sum of $60 per month was assured at the start, and this paid for rent and assistants, with a good margin of profit.
  5. Trained Nurses.—Trained nurses in our large cities command $25 a week. The duties are exacting, but not difficult. Assistant nurses receive $15. The latter have less responsibilities, and are not required to spend so long a time in training. This is an inviting field for ladies who have gifts and tastes for this work.
  6. Traveling Companion.—If you have a good education and can make yourself agreeable, your services ought not to go long begging for an engagement in this delightful occupation. Watch the advertisements in the daily papers; better yet, insert an advertisement of your own, modestly stating your qualifications. The remuneration depends upon the wealth and liberality of your employer.
  7. Paper Flowers.—This has become a distinct trade. You can learn in a few months. There is a paper flower store in Broadway, New York, which does an immense business. There are great possibilities in this line in every city.
  8. French Perfumer and Complexion Expert.—How does this sound?—Madame Racier, French Perfumer. Equip yourself with perfumes, essences, tinctures, extracts, spirit waters, cosmetics, infusions, pastiles, tooth powders, washes, cachous, hair dyes, sachets, essential oils, etc. All ladies like perfumes. Once let it be known that you are an authority on the subject, and you will lack neither patronage nor profits.
  9. A Woman’s Hotel.—A hotel exclusively for women would no doubt be a paying investment. More than fifty thousand ladies without male escorts stop every year in the hotels of New York City. A very large proportion of this number would patronize a cheap, clean, well-kept place, fitted up and conducted solely for the comfort of ladies.
  10. Guide for Shoppers.—A department store in New York recently made a census of its customers, and from the count kept for a single week it was estimated that 3,125,000 persons passed through its doors every year. This for a single store. But there are thousands of stores. Vast numbers of these people are from the country, and do not know where they can trade to the best advantage. What a field is here for a shoppers’ guide! Ascertain what stores make a specialty of certain goods, what ones sell the cheapest in certain lines, and what days they make, bargains in certain wares. Show by what routes the places are best reached, where to dine, etc. Fill a little book with just the information a shopper wants to know; call it “The Ladies’ Shopping Guide,” put it on the market at ten cents, and you can sell millions of them.
  11. Bicycle Instruction.—Why, may not a woman teach “the wheel” as well as a man? Many women are restrained from learning through the dislike of falling from the wheel into the arms of a strange man, commonly a negro. A woman’s bicycle academy would pay in any large city.
  12. Cooking School.—Madam Parloa and Madam Rorer have set the example, and they will be sure to have many imitators. A course of instruction in cooking, costing $10, is a vastly better investment to any young woman than a course on a piano costing $100, or many times that sum. First, learn the art thoroughly yourself and then teach it to others. There is money in this, but it needs taste, tact and work.
  13. The Boarding House.—One who has a taste for cooking and a little marketing skill can do well in this somewhat overworked and not always paying business. The gains increase from zero with one boarder, in geometrical progression, until $1 a head is realized with twenty boarders. Profits, $20 a week. With great skill and management this may be doubled.
  14. Pen Engraving.—If you have a circle of one hundred friends, and can secure their patronage, you can make a fair living for one person at engraving cards. A lady with a large calling list should engrave $500 worth of cards a year. Expenses, $25. Remuneration for work, $475.
  15. A Ladies’ Restaurant.—A restaurant where delicacies pleasing to ladies are made a specialty would surely pay. A lady who recently established one adjoining a large department store has been obliged to enlarge her premises to accommodate her crowd of patrons.
  16. A Woman’s Newspaper.—One has just been started in a Western city. The editors, reporters, printers, and press-feeders, are all women. Of course it advocates woman’s reform. An enterprise of this kind requires considerable capital, and is not without risk, but a woman of ability and experience can make it pay as well as a man, besides the advantage of an appeal directly to her sex in support of a paper conducted in this manner.
  17. Advertising Agent.—A lady by her courtesy, tact, and gentle address, is especially fitted for this work. All our great newspapers and magazines pay large salaries to successful agents, for, as a rule, the advertising department is the one that pays the dividends of the business. The shopkeepers and others who, by reason of repeated solicitations give the cold shoulder to the male agent, would listen at least respectfully to a lady. On the whole, this field presents to ladies who have the right qualities better opportunities than to men.
  18. The Civil Service.—This is now open to women. There are more then ten thousand of these places to be filled every year. Clerkships range from $600 to $3,000. Very few fall below $1,000. These places, according to the Civil Service Law, are filled by competitive examinations. There are thousands of bright young women who secured these places, not through any governmental pull, but by sheer merit in examinations. Get a book entitled “Civil Service,” by John M. Comstock, Chairman of the United States Board of Examiners, for the Customs Service in New York City, and published by Henry Holt & Co. This book will give you a complete table of the positions open, the salaries attached to each, and a list of questions required to be answered.
  19. Post-Prandial Classes.—Few, even among educated women, are masters of themselves to the extent of being able to rise before an audience, and without previous preparation express themselves clearly and creditably on whatever subject may be under discussion. A woman in New York, a member of Sorosis, made a reputation for bright, witty, after-dinner speeches. As she earned her living by newspaper, work, a friend said to her, “Why don’t you add to your income by teaching other women how to say a few graceful words in public?” She caught at the idea, and organized classes in the hitherto untaught art of post-prandial speech-making, and had capital success, earning $500 by it in one season.
  20. Women Druggists.—The neatness of women, their delicacy and attention to details, qualify them admirably for the drug business. At the Woman’s Infirmary, New York, the apothecary department is entirely in the hands of ladies. Drug clerks receive on the average of $9 per week. There are few lady proprietors, but there is no reason why there should not be more, as the business is very profitable.
  21. Almanac Makers.—Of late years many of the great dailies issue yearly almanacs. The mass of matter which goes to make up these publications can be collected as well by women, who have gifts for details, as by those of the other sex. In one publication house a woman is paid $30 a week to manage one of these almanacs, and in another $20 for the compiling of an index for the daily paper.
  22. Women Lecturers.—Women of talent have earned a competence and almost a fortune on the platform. Lucy Stone was sometimes paid as high as $260 for a lecture, and Anna Dickinson also received large sums. The lady who hopes to succeed in this field must have fluency, the gift of oratory, self-poise, and a certain dramatic or magnetic power.
  23. Magazine Contributors.—In this work women are paid as much as men, and their facile pens are often able to turn out equal and even superior work. The Harpers pay $10 a page; the Atlantic Monthly, $6 to $10; the North American Review, $1.50.
  24. Women Physicians.—Says a recent publication: “There is a real necessity for women physicians; there are many ladies who prefer them, and in some cases will consult no other. There are now over one thousand lady physicians in the United States, but the number will soon be doubled, and even trebled. Several of these lady physicians are making over $2,000 a year.” One of them says: “I have several well-to-do families whom I charge by the year. I charge $200, if they are people who are considered well off; less, if they are poor.”
  25. Paper Box Making.—Hundreds of women are making paper boxes, but as employees, not as proprietors. A woman made the first orange box in California. Seeing that it was a good thing, and that there would soon be a demand for others, she built a factory, and is now turning out fifty thousand boxes a year.
  26. Horticulture.—Here is an example of what a California woman can do. A widow having four boys purchased thirty-six acres of land in San Jose, and under her personal care, aided by her boys, planted the tract with apricot, cherry and prune trees. For four years she did all the pruning, a difficult task for a refined and delicate woman, accustomed as she had been to luxuriant ease. Her prune trees alone netted $2,700 in one year.
  27. Vocalists.—A lady with a good voice is certain of making a living, some have made fortunes with it. The demand is wide and various. If your taste does not incline to the stage, there is still a large field in the church. All large churches, and many small ones now, have paid choirs. The leading vocalists are commonly well paid. There are a great number of altos and sopranos in New York and Brooklyn, and in the fashionable suburbs, who receive $1,000 a year, or an excess of that sum. And this is an excellent compensation when it is remembered that the singer has nearly all her time in which to pursue some other vocation.
  28. Packing Trunks.—This is a Paris occupation carried on exclusively by women. You leave your order at the office of the transportation company, and say when you want a professional packer. She comes, and is paid fifty cents, and sometimes $1 an hour for her services. She has genius for folding dresses so that they can be carried all over the world without a wrinkle. She wraps bonnets in, tissue paper. She tucks away bric-à-brac in a way that makes breakage impossible. This industry might be introduced profitably into this country.
  29. Women Costumers.—Costumes for the stage are now gotten up mostly by men. A woman of taste and ability could make a success of this business. Many rich ladies would consult them in matters of personal wardrobe.
  30. Express Office.—A woman can sit in an office as well as a man. One woman in Boston tried it four years ago, beginning in a modest way. Now she has three offices and five teams in constant use.
  31. A Fancy Bakery.—An elegant and educated young woman in San Francisco took a dingy, dying little bakeshop, with sickening sights and smells. She put it in order. In two months she had cleared $700, and in four months $1,800. Another woman in Brooklyn has just opened a bakery under very flattering prospects. She works on the plan of exquisite neatness, trimming her windows like those of a fancy goods’ dealer, and wrapping her bread in tissue paper.
  32. Women Grocers.—There are not many women in the grocer business, but there is no reason why there should not be. A woman grocer in a Western State who has been established since 1860, has a business worth $80,000 a year.
  33. Food and Medicine Samples.—Proprietors of patent medicines and foods will give you a large commission to introduce their inventions into homes, and if successful, you will soon be employed at a good salary. These proprietors often pay ladies to introduce samples at country stores. The storekeeper will give you room rent free for a few days, with the understanding that he alone has the sale of the article in the place.
  34. Samples in Stores.—Ladies of tact and good address are receiving fair salaries in the introduction of new articles. Every inventor is anxious to introduce his goods, and every storekeeper is equally desirous to sell. Call upon the proprietor of some new article of household use, secure territory, and then solicit space in a country store. After three or four days in one store you should go to another, or perhaps to the next town. You may have to begin on a commission, but if successful you can soon command a salary.
  35. Samples from House to House.—Others find ample remuneration in introducing new articles from house to house. We know a little lady in Brooklyn who is paid well for giving away samples of a new baby food. This is much more pleasant work than that of importuning people to purchase.
  36. The Woman Beautifier.—Whatever is of the nature of beauty appeals to the heart of woman. A lady who has the secret of making other women beautiful cannot fail of success. After making a study of your business, advertise that you understand the art of removing moles, wrinkles, warts, wens, birthmarks, tan, freckles, and superfluous hair. If successful in pleasing one or two leaders of fashion, you will have plenty of custom.
  37. The Manicure Parlor.—The manicure business is yearly increasing. For $15 you can learn the business. Implements will cost you $10 more. With the capital of $25 you can begin business, and, if ladylike in appearance and gentle in touch, you can build up a big business in the right neighborhood. Any lady would prefer in this art to patronize one of her own sex. Get out cards and circulars and scatter them freely. There is room for many women to excel in this field. One lady who entered upon this work two years ago says she is on the road to a fortune.
  38. The Massage Treatment.—Another lady is having great success with the massage treatment. She has now more than seventy regular patrons. This method of cure is easily learned and readily applied. Hardly a lady among your acquaintances is in good health. It is a proverb that no woman is well. A vast proportion of these cases are nervous and will yield to the massage treatment. If you have strong muscles you could readily achieve a large practice by this system, especially in summer resorts and places where, invalids flock.
  39. Ice Cream Parlor.—This is not new, but possesses possibilities of a good living where the field is not overworked. There are five things necessary to success, and in the following order of importance: An attractive place in a clean, fashionable locality; good and generous plates of cream; unexcelled neatness; polite service; and popular prices. We have known a lady commencing business on these principles to oust quickly an older establishment run on slacker methods.
  40. Flower Packets.—Buy quantities of flower seeds of all varieties. Put them up in very small envelopes, a few seeds in each one, advertise that you will send samples for a penny a kind, ten for six cents, twenty-five for fifteen cents, fifty for twenty-five cents, etc. A large mail envelope will hold fifty or more of the smaller ones containing seeds.
  41. Lady Caterer.—A woman has a fine chance to succeed as a caterer. Her taste in arranging tables should at least make her hold her own with business rivals of the opposite sex. Mrs. A. B. Marshall, a woman caterer of London, often manages a supper for one hundred guests.
  42. Delicacies for Invalids.—This is a new field which is being worked with much promise. “Mrs. Kate Teachman,” as she is known in the New York Sun, is working in this line with great success. She says: “Of course, if you want this sort of thing you must pay for it—sixty-five cents for a pint of broth, seventy-five cents for a pint of puree, sixty-five cents for a half-pint of jelly, twenty-five cents for chopped chicken sandwiches.”
  43. Insect Powder.—A California woman who now owns four hundred acres of land has a history that ought to inspire other women with a belief in their ability to get on in the world. In 1861 her husband died, leaving her with a debt of $1,400, three children, and a small farm mortgaged. Within five years she had paid the mortgage by taking boarders, raising chickens, and doing whatever offered. In 1877 she began to raise pyrethrum, the plant from which insect powder is made, some years having one hundred acres planted with it. Now she has from fifty to eighty employees of both sexes, and is said to be worth half a million dollars.
  44. Rice Cultivator.—A few years ago a young Iowa girl-squatter, with her sixteen-year-old brother, took up a government claim in Louisiana, and went to planting rice, the first crop of which paid her $1,000. She lives in a three-room cottage, and has a few fruit trees, plenty of good fences, and a sea of waving rice-blades. Her nearest neighbor is another girl-farmer who also settled a government claim, and is bossing an orchard that is giving her a comfortable living.
  45. Yeast Cakes.—Here is what one woman did: Being thrown on her own resources, instead of following the beaten path of custom, she engaged in something novel. She made yeast cakes. Gradually her trade increased until she was obliged to hire help, and in time had to build an addition to the house to provide room for her thriving business. She now makes a good living, finding her work congenial as well as profitable. Here is her recipe: Take one dozen hops and boil two or three hours, remove from the fire and strain through a sieve, adding boiling water until there are three or four quarts of the liquid. Then thicken with canaille until quite stiff; and one-half tablespoonful of ginger and one-quarter cup of molasses; let it stand until cool, add one-half cup of salt yeast, or one cake of lard, and in the morning stir down with a little fine cornmeal. Let it rise again, then mix with cornmeal, roll, and cut with a cutter. This rule makes one hundred cakes. They sell for seventy-five cents per hundred, and retail for one cent apiece.
  46. Physical Culture.—There are twelve million young women in the United States. The great majority of them have an ailment of some kind; in fact, it is almost impossible to find a perfectly healthy woman. Physical culture will add years to one’s life. An eminent, physician has estimated that twenty-four million years, or an average of two years each, can be added to the lives of our young women by simple bodily exercise of one hour each day. Get a book, study a chart, employ a teacher; then, after a thorough course go about among your friends and form a class. Induce your pupils to bring other pupils. Advertise, lecture, give class exhibitions. Charge $5 a quarter for a class of twelve; $4 for one of fifteen; $3 for one of twenty. Mr. John D. Hoover, of Los Angeles, Cal., says: “When I entered a college of oratory, I was almost penniless. I took a special course in physical culture, with a view to teaching that art. It is now eighteen months since I left the college, and during that time I have earned in clear cash from teaching physical culture the sum of $20,960. I have 1,507 pupils. My sister also has been very successful in teaching since she graduated, and has made quite a large sum of money.”
  47. House Cleaning.—Enterprising men have taken up the work of house cleaning with considerable success, but the business can be managed better by a woman than by a man. If your patrons are not too many, you can personally superintend the work in each house yourself to the great satisfaction of the lady, who would commonly prefer to have it managed by one of her own sex. If your business increases so as to require your presence in the office, you can send a lady assistant to superintend the work. Have a fixed price per room where there is no extra work, such as painting, kalsomining, and paper hanging. In the latter case it is better to take the work by the job.
  48. Selling Oysters.—Here is the way a woman with five little children gets a living: She hires a boy to open the oysters, which she then puts up in little pint pails and takes from house to house. She has many customers whom she serves regularly on certain days. Sales per week, fifty pints, or twenty-five quarts. Boy’s wages, $1. Net, $3.
  49. Pie Cart.—Hear what another woman says: “I have a little pie cart. It is nothing but a pie-crate mounted on wheels. I bake every morning ten pies and in the afternoon I sell them hot from door to door. I make about seven cents on a large pie, and four cents on small one.” Average earnings per day, fifty cents.
  50. Men’s Neck Ties.—As every man, at least every well-dressed man, wears a tie, which must be renewed several times a year—white lawns every day—the number in demand is enormous. First learn the business, and then if you can sell them a little under the manufacturers’ price you are sure to dispose of all you can make. One girl earned $12 a week in this way.
  51. Dancing Teacher.—The natural grace of women fits them better than men to be teachers of this art, especially to be instructors of young girls. Dancing teachers charge on the average $15 a quarter. There are several very successful lady teachers.
  52. Haberdasher.—The selling of small articles of the dress and toilet is profitable if the location is good and the competition not too severe. Where one cannot purchase the articles outright, she can sell on commission. Dealers in small wares of this kind often take in from $12 to $20 a day, of which on the average, one-sixth is profit.
  53. Lady Architect.—There is no reason why women should not succeed in this occupation, since it is one in which taste is a chief requisite. Several young lady graduates of college have entered it recently, and with flattering success. Architects charge about three per cent. on contracts.
  54. Lost and Found Agency.—In every large city numbers of articles are lost by the owners and found by others every day. A single New York paper contains daily from ten to twenty advertisements of lost articles. Open a small office, advertise in the “Lost and Found” column of the paper that you will receive any articles that may be found, and charge the owner a small commission. The agency could be carried on in connection with some other light, business.

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