Small business advice personalized for those who are new to business
Welcome to the first installment of our Legit Side Hustle Interviews! Each of these women have started their own legit side hustle earning at least an average $200 per month and working less than 10 hours per week. Enjoy!
Editorial note: some responses have been edited for readability and storytelling. These interviews are not clients of New Morning Coaching, unless noted.
What do you do?
I live in Moab, Utah and my side hustle is making upcycled leather earrings that embody the West. I make genuine leather earrings by up-cycling materials that locals utilize for their livelihood; remnants of worn-out gear from working cattle ranches of the area. Prickly Pairs, my earring brand, serves as a symbol of the life the locals choose to live in this truly unique area of the world.
How did you get started?
I started about three years ago. I come from a farming and ranching background that epitomizes the Western United States. My family are cattle ranchers, we strive to be self-sufficient and live off the land. I started several years ago after attending the National Finals Rodeo and seeing vendors selling faux leather earrings that I loved. My brother saw them and offered to make me these earrings, that’s what piqued my interest. He actually got me a jewelry crafting kit for Christmas that year. I ordered from Amazon a few sheets of faux leather (to save the real leather for once I perfected my prototype) and started making my prototypes, experimenting with different shapes and styles. I started selling them to family and friends and now I have my earrings in three stores along main street in Moab, Utah. Now, I salvage old leather scraps from well worn livestock and horse equipment as well as some scrap leather from tanneries and saddle shops. Every pair of leather earrings are truly one of a kind, no two are the same because of the uniqueness of the upcycled leather.
What do you like about doing this?
This is my creative outlet. My day job is director of a home health and hospice company, and of course, that’s in addition to being a full time mother. I love that so many people and the stores in Moab have supported me. I like seeing that people like the earrings I have made and the tourists take home a little piece of the West when they choose my earrings as a take-home keepsake. I love thinking about all the places my earrings have ended up. Personally, I love going out wearing my earrings and know that even on my toughest cattle-ranching days when I’m covered in literal cow shit, at least my earrings look good!
How did you come up with your design ideas?
I gain inspiration from Pinterest and pay attention to trends and common styles. I pay attention at events and gatherings like rodeos, county fairs, and livestock auctions and what the women are wearing. To make my side hustle more sustainable in my limited time, I’ve reduced my earrings to three main prototypes: Salty Palomino, Follow your Arrow, and Rebel Heart. I named these after the lyrics of some of my favorite country songs.
What were your start up costs?
Pretty minimal to start. My brother gifted me a jewelry making kit and I purchased the faux leather sheets from Amazon for prototypes ($14-$25), and of course I needed jump rings and earring hooks ($10). Now I use mostly upcycled free leather from family and friends, but I’ll also sometimes purchase scrap leather from local tanneries at $3-$5 per sheet.
Where do you sell?
Moab is a small tourist town, so most of my business is to tourists through the stores on main street and also to locals through word of mouth. I’ll get texts and emails from strangers or friends of friends who want to place an order. Even random people at the grocery store will sometimes walk up to me and say “you’re the earring lady, I need another pair of these.”
How much time do you put into this per month?
My business really is seasonal. During the holidays (my busiest season), I’ll spend 4-5 hours per week. During the rest of the year, it’s probably more like 2 hours a month.
How much PROFIT do you earn per month?
This last Christmas season (November and December), I profited $500. During the rest of the year, it’s slower, so probably $80-$100.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone thinking of starting a side hustle?
My piece of advice is to just go for it. I never saw myself as someone who was a business woman, who could push a product for a profit. If you feel strongly that your product will resonate with people, go for it. Make some adjustments as you learn and grow in your business. I think the life lessons you learn the most from trial and error. I think it’s really important to be generous with your product. I give away a lot of earrings, i.e. raffle baskets and charity events. The earrings will have my name on my card and it gets my name out there but more importantly, I’m just being generous. I strongly believe whatever you put out comes back to you. Be generous with your time and your product, and it will come back to you. That’s definitely been the case for me and my success.
Thank you so much, Anna for sharing your story with us! If you’d like to order a pair of Anna’s earrings you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to subscribe to our email list so you can get updates for all the interviews! Wondering what makes a side hustle legit? Read our previous article.
Hey! My name is Christine and I'm an entrepreneur and small business coach. I've learned most of what I know through trial and error. I help women who are new to business to take their next steps with confidence and clarity.