Dirty Jobs: Jay Villemarette (Part 2)

By Amber Middleton

One might look at Skulls Unlimited International in Oklahoma City, one of the only businesses in the world that specializes in cleaning human and animal skulls, and think, “Why would anyone want a skull, no matter how clean it is?” However, Skulls Unlimited’s “products” are in popular demand with museums, veterinary and medical schools, and other educational groups.  Business is booming, and owner Jay Villemarette employs 13 full-time staffers and two part-timers.  The company brings in over $2 million in sales each year.

 In 2010, Villemarette opened his own public museum dedicated to bones to share his hobby with a wider audience. The Museum of Osteology features over 300 full skeletons, ranging from a shrew to a humpback whale.  The museum offers programs, hands-on activities and self-guided tours.  The museum is only one of its kind in the world.  “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher…This is my way to be a teacher and to give back.  I’ve had a lifelong obsession with skulls and skeletons, and decided to take it one step further,” explains Villemarette.

Jay Villemarette at the Museum of Osteology

One reason entrepreneurs may be thriving in dirty jobs is that so few others are doing it, theorizes Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. “There are huge benefits to hopping on the road less traveled,” maintains Rowe. “The best opportunities in the world are often in the cracks. Some of the best entrepreneurs I’ve met began by seizing an opportunity, and obviously you have to look for opportunities where others aren’t looking. You aren’t going to find them on Main Street.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Dirty Jobs: Jay Villemarette (Part 2)

  1. “Seizing an opportunity” is a great way to put the work that employees of “dirty jobs” get into. I find it so interesting how people find these jobs and really make them something of their own. They are truly making a difference by doing the work that they do and traveling the “road less traveled.” So much great information in this post! I enjoyed reading it and learning about a dirty job that I wasn’t aware of.

    Jaclyn Viera

    • Lucinda Choules

      I totally agree with the information on this post and Jaclyn, in today’s economy, it is extremely difficult to get a job. So if you have a hobby or skill that people may pay you to pursue, well by all means capitalize on it and start your own business. You may not become a millionaire, but you might just be able to meet all your current bills. Dirty Jobs is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit condensed into specialized niches, that no one else seems interested in taking on or filling. Finding your niche today may just be the secret to your own personal success in the future.

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