Obama-preneurs seem to be thriving

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Just over 24 hours into Barack Obama's presidency, and the economy has improved, or at least it's created a small cottage industry for a handful of companies and entrepreneurs.

We've written at WalletPop about the Obama souvenirs that have gone on the market, how his inauguration helped the economy in Washington, D.C., and how shopping networks like QVC have jumped on the Barack bandwagon.

But increasingly, it looks like Obama-preneur mania isn't likely to end any time soon.
Just in the last day, I've seen:
  • Ben & Jerry's advertising its new ice cream flavor, "Yes PeCAN." (I wish it was a joke. It's not. It's available in Ben & Jerry Scoop Shops throughout January.)
  • Encyclopedia Britannica sent me an email, beginning with, "Yesterday, our 44th President was sworn into office," and letting me know that I could read all about Barack Obama being voted into office in its 2009 Britannica Book of the Year (despite the name, it's a comprehensive review of 2008).
  • And a writer who (in the full disclosure department) I know virtually, Rachel Weingarten, a fashion author and pop culture expert, may have come up with the most ingenious way of profiting off the Obamas yet. Her blog, WhatMichelleWore.com, has already experienced very high traffic, thanks to the voracious interest in the new First Lady's style. She will be blogging about what Madame President wears every day for the next four years (and, if all goes well, eight). I would think J. Crew would be interested in buying ad space...
    According to an article in The Sun Chronicle, the Obama merchandise industry has already seen sales reach $300 million, which isn't hard to believe when you consider the TV ads for plates bearing his likeness, that Obama appears as a character in a recent Spider-Man comic book and that Topps has created a 90-card set of Obama trading cards.

    According to the same article, there's even an "Obama Hope on a Rope" soap and "Obama Blend" coffee. Since Barack Obama's name and so many of his images are in newspapers, magazines on the web as part of the public domain, entrepreneurs can get away with mining products associated with him in a way that they couldn't for regular folk.

    So if your financial situation is stuck in neutral or reverse, you might want to do more than hope our new president helps the economy, you could have him pitch in with your business -- by making him your pitchman.

    Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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