If you are thinking of investing in the "Starscapes" business opportunity, think again! For well over a decade, the founder of this paint-stars-on-the-ceiling concept(Joe Petrashek) has graced full page cover ads in various biz op magazines. He is a former "magician" and I bet he was a darn good one too. But sadly, what he pulls out of his magician's hat isn't a live rabbitt. It's not even a stuffed animal. Just a cheesy drawing of a rabbitt! Let me explain:
The concept of "Starscapes" is to paint a "glow in the dark" mural of the starry nightime sky on the ceilings and/or walls of a person's home-usually a bedroom. The effect is rather novel and has some appeal for the wealthy and upscale, as you need to charge plenty for this "custom" paintjob. You would have to market like crazy to make any money at this, as it's almost impossible to sell the effect with brochures and sales pitches alone, but that is true with many of these ventures. That is not my problem with Starscapes, although he greatly exaggerates the potential of this difficult to market concept. The "rip off" is, that Starscapes charges over $4000.00 for the secret details of how to easily paint these murals including some mysterious "equipment" that he will not identify until after you've shelled out the cash. He uses cryptic language like "galactification machine" and "activation wand" to entice you into thinking you are getting some real high-tech gadgetry. What you get is a star projector similar to the $39.95 toy "planetariums" you can buy at toy and education stores. This projects the stars onto the ceiling so you "the artist-illusionist" as he refers to his suckers, can easily dab a few cents worth of glow in the dark paint on them. The "activation wand" is a cheap blacklight easily bought everywhere for a few dollars. His "demonstration poster", designed to give potential customers a sample of what the finished mural will look like, is a wrinkled up piece of white paper with little circles on it that you have to paint yourself! He charges over $40.00 for this poster along with a thimble full of paint and a TOOTHPICK to paint the circles with! When my "demo package" arrived, I actually thought it was a gag of some kind - (smile, you're on Candid Camera!) His promotional materials were so cheap they looked like they were printed on a old Commodore 64 computer! In addition, he soaks you for a monthly fee to keep your "license" active! License? You also get a cheap "rubber stamp" website to promote your biz which comes with a link to the COMPANY website, so all your potential customers can see how you got started in the business, what you paid for it, what you are making off of them, and how to start their own if they so choose! A real win-win! For HIM! This guy is good!
All this aside, if the guy just came out and showed you exactly what you would get for your 4 Grand, I would think, well, Barnum was right, and leave it at that but he doesn't. Yes, he offers a money back policy but he knows most people will never ask for it. This guy not only preys on people's gullibility, but he uses the same invisible paint to paint your dreams of financial independence, that he uses to paint his murals.
Bottom Line: If you are intrigued by the prospect of making a lot of money by painting space murals on ceilings, you probably have your head in the clouds, but go ahead. The result is kind of cool, I concede, and with a LOT of creative marketing, you might be able to make a few bucks - even more if you get lucky and land a wealthy prospect. But don't be a sucker and send this guy 4 grand for about a hundred bucks worth of stuff to do it with! All the paint and supplies to do this venture can be found on the internet with a little research. Only a complete idiot would need this guy, and if you are that idiotic, you'll never succeed anyway. By the way: When I asked to join his Yahoo user group as a guest, so I could actually talk to other people doing this and find out first hand the real truth, he denied my request. Nor would he share any contact info of any kind. You'd think if most of his customers were happy and prosperous, he would WANT you to contact them. In fact, he makes his "licensees" sign a contract not to divulge any details of the Starscapes "method." Talk about intimidation! It works too, because I called several people I found on the web, before I found one who was willing to talk!
Starscapes may not be a complete scam, but it's ridiculously overpriced. And like the founder's prior occupation, it's mostly smoke and mirrors!
St. Louis, Missouri