Barndos Going Through the Roof

Barndominiums

Barndominiums, or barndos for short, are the latest craze in modular construction. They are warehouses that serve as homes, known for being flexible, affordable, energy-efficient, and low maintenance.

The #barndominium has already exploded on TikTok with more than 86.6 million views (1). And compared to #vanlife’s 3.5 billion views or over 1 billion views of #tinyhouse, we can say that the barndominium trend is only in its cradle.

  • Barndominium-related Pinterest Searches: Farmhouse barndominium, over 20x growth in 2020, Barndominium ideas exterior, over 5x growth, barndominium ideas, over 2x growth
  • Barndominium-related Google Searches: Barndominium, over 201k searches per month, Barndominium floor plans, 22.2k searches, Barndominium kits, over 14.8k searches, barndominium for sale, over 8.1k searches.

There are several advantages of modularized construction. According to a McKinsey report (2), it is one of the fundamental shifts that would transform the construction segment, cut down costs by 20%, and speed up construction duration by 50%. There are estimations that the Indian real estate market would create an opportunity worth 19.65 billion USD over the coming years in modular construction (3).

Entrepreneurs can foray into modularized construction not only in residential but commercial as well. It includes office buildings, retail, and hotels. While the modular movement may get curtailed amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is not going away.

McKinsey also suggests that a large share of incumbent construction value would shift from construction sites to off-site prefabrication facilities with new lighter-weight materials innovations and digital planning technologies.

Barndominiums are also a part of the modularized construction and prefab movement, with the one key difference being made of metal.

There is a surging demand for custom-built barndo kits. For instance, Worldwide Steel Building witnessed barndominiums as a leading driver for their 24.3 million USD in sales last year, up by 47% from 2019 (4).

With the coronavirus pandemic, several people are looking to return to rural areas and build barndominiums. Moreover, it has also drawn interest from places that have struggled with wildfires since the steel buildings are sturdier than wood and won’t catch fire and can withstand earthquakes, say Architecture Lab Magazine (5).

Worldwide Steel’s revenue is also booming because of the rise in wood prices, which are up by 180%. It has led to companies and consumers looking for alternatives such as steel.

Barndo 3D designing, Source: WorldWide Steel Buildings
Barndo 3D designing, Source: WorldWide Steel Buildings

The company’s sales in January and February 2021 are up 130% from the same months last year. And according to Jeff Snell, the CEO, and co-owner of Worldwide Steel, 2021 is shaping up to be their biggest year yet.

Opportunities

Entrepreneurs can differentiate their offerings via using sustainable materials or adding interior design modeling.

Interested consumers not only require manufacturing kits, but they also need guidance on what they can do with their barndominiums after they have built them. It is worth highlighting them only over 35% of barndos are used as permanent residences (6).

A quick internet search will highlight that barndominium living is growing in popularity and interest. However, most people use them as weekend retreats for those living in a city and own lands in the country. People are also living in them full-time, either on an interim basis until they construct a traditional home, or also as their primary residence, permanently.

Traditional homeowners often wonder why anyone would live in a barn, and one can sum up the appeal of it in one word: savings. Barndos costs less to construct, easier and faster to move into, and quite spacious.

They also have virtually no external maintenance needs and have lower taxes, and insurance with several owners report even fewer utilities.

However, having barndos has its shortcomings, such as limited financing options as it is not technically considered a house and does not easily fit into the second option. However, there is optimism that as they gain in popularity, more financing options would become available.

Nevertheless, people still choose barndos as they are as varied as the ways people decide to utilize the space. Some barndos owners want a distinct look on the outside, with the inside coming in later.

For several others, it is the other way around. The inside is where they primarily focus (7).

It has made the movement lucrative for custom home builders. They can offer a conventional home building approach to metal ones as well. They can start customization not only with the floor plan but also with porches while blending in the building parts in the background. They can also offer to finish out the living space as conventional homes, making it the same high-quality interior cabinets.

There are also opportunities for peer-to-peer rental markets such as Airbnb and event rental such as weddings, retreats, etc. One can also rent it out as an aircraft hangar, auto shop, art or fitness studio, and more.

Hobbyists are Digging for Fossils

Recently, there has been a surge in interest on the Subreddits, r/FossilPorn, where users appreciate fossil photos, and r/FossilD, where paleontology enthusiasts help each other with identification.

FossilPorn

Who knew there were these many fossil hunters?

Among people looking to expand pent-up wanderlust and perhaps a little brag, the paleontological pastime for fossil hunting has become increasingly popular (8).

Fossil Guy (9), a one-person website show, curates hunting locations, articles, virtual tours, and more. According to SimilarWeb (10), the site has doubled its traffic organically in the past six months to over 80k visits per month.

It is also worth highlighting that more than 1.2 billion people search ‘fossils’ each month on Google, as per Keywords Everywhere. Other relevant search interests include ‘fossils for sale’ with over 18.1k searches per month, ‘fossils near me,’ with over 6.6k searches, ‘fossil hunting,’ more than 3.6k searches, and ‘fossil identification’ with over 1.6k search interest.

Private fossil collectors are becoming pretty standard these days. Some of them are even serious enough to pass for professional paleontologists. While there are also others mainly indulging in a boyish taste for big, scary, and expensive ‘monsters.’

Such passion among private collectors means that dinosaurs and other fossils can turn up in homes, businesses, and almost anywhere.

And it has created several entrepreneurs who would like to get their hands muddy in the field.

Opportunities

Entrepreneurs can offer community or similar platform fossil lovers. While there are several subreddits and Facebook pages, there is only one central dedicated online hub for fossil lovers, the Fossil Forum (11). It has more than 33k members and a collection of over 43k crowdsourced images.

It means that there is a space to nice down to increase engagement, such as dinosaurs, fish, and plant fossils, as they often have separate enthusiasts, and it is a local activity.

Entrepreneurs can also offer a dedicated mobile app for fossil lovers. Even though there is already an app called Digital Atleast of Ancient Life (12), its reviews highlight its dissatisfactory design, limited specimens, periods, and locations.

The local treasure hunting nature of fossil hunting also lends itself well to collaborate with geocaching activities. According to Sensor Tower, the official Geocaching app (13) has more than 300k downloads and over 700k USD revenue past month alone.

Entrepreneurs can also combine education, bonding, and fun by organizing fossil-themed escape rooms, such as Jurassic Park for corporate bonding or on-site fossil hunting events for home-schoolers.

Fishy Skin Care

Marine glycoproteins, molecules found in aquatic species, are swimming their way into sin care. Fancy some lobster in your bedtime routine? What about salmon?

Marine glycoproteins

Recently, two biomedical engineering post-graduates discovered marine glycoprotein’s eczema applications from academics. Ergo launched Marin Skincare (14), which uses lobster glycoprotein as its key ingredient to treat eczema, dry skin, and psoriasis.

Marin Skincare’s founders collaborated with Luke’s Lobsters to source the ingredient, previously considered a waste byproduct of lobster processing. Unlike several animal-based consumer products, Marin harnesses the circular economy, with a 4.5 trillion USD potential market (15), while also offering support to coastal communities.

Notably, the circular economy moves away from the conventional ‘take-make-dispose economic model to one that is regenerative. The goal of the circular economy is to retain as much value from products, resources, parts, and materials to develop a system that allows long life, optimal reuse, remanufacturing refurbishment, and recycling.

Another such platform is Restorsea (16), which has bagged over 24.9 million USD in funding has a similar process of using salmon glycoprotein from fish farms, otherwise a waste, for anti-aging products.

Even though the vegan movement is in vogue, animal-based functional products are still alive and thriving. And there are predictions that the industry would be more than a 6 billion USD market by 2026 (17).

Opportunities

If one gives a sift through academic papers, there are several applications for marine glycoproteins that are not even in the market yet, including herpes (18) and osteoporosis (19) treatments.

Lobster Unlimited (20) is a company creating novel ways to upcycle lobster processing waste. It is even researching therapeutic capabilities to fight against cancer.

Its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties also make it a good supplement. The company is also paving the way for lobster-infused consumer viable products such as powders, ice cream, energy drinks, and more.

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