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After coming back from a hike with the wrong socks that absolutely wrecked Rami’s feet , he was shopping for better hiking socks, but everything in the merino wool sock market was either itchy, hot, or just plain ugly. It was at that moment, he saw an opportunity to capitalize on the beauty that his home state (WA) had to offer and create his own brand of hiking socks.
When going into a meeting with a manufacturer, he says you should be thinking about it as a marriage. You two are going to grow together, so start the relationship off on a good note and know what you’ll need from them 5 years down the line as you grow.
These are the top questions he recommends asking when talking to a manufacturer:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many units can you manufacture in a month?
- What is your Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?
- What is your lead time?
- What’s your starting price/unit and are there price breakpoints?
- What are your color and sizing options?
- Do you do packaging in-house?
- Can I get a few samples to try out? (Related: Check this guide on designing and prototyping a product)
During the interview, he drops knowledge bombs non-stop. Including juicy details on costs and marketing strategies. If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle or simply an ecommerce business of any kind, you need to read it. Growing a side hustle to $170K in sales is no joke.
Looking to start a socks brand? Check these out:
- Top 100 wholesale sock manufacturers in the world
- Guide to start a socks brand with costs, pros and cons, success stories and more
Ryan and Lowell worked together at an eCommerce company. Funnily enough, Ryan was Lowell’s boss. Ryan had been a casual CBD user for a few months when he heard talk of the 2018 Farm Bill coming down the pipeline. The 2018 Farm Bill was what unequivocally legalized CBD on the federal level. He also was really interested in the recurring revenue model that subscription boxes provide.
The initial idea for starting the box was to “private label” all of the products that’d go in the box. However, they soon realized that the startup costs involved with starting the business this way were too high. They quickly pivoted to a model where they’d showcase other brands inside the box every month and then slowly, over the next several years, start to introduce their own.
Since they started, the biggest growth channel has been Cratejoy, a marketplace for subscription boxes and in any given month 20-40% of their sales come from that platform.
More successful side hustles
Starting a successful side hustle is one of the most sought-after goals nowadays. Doing something you love while earning some extra income. If that’s your situation right now, I’ve gathered some stories so you can get some extra insights and inspiration:
Marissa did mystery shopping, took surveys online, drove for Postmates and DoorDash, worked at a grocery store, and did anything she could find for extra money. Until she realized that starting her own business was probably a better option and that’s when her $2K/mo travel agency was born.
Making jewelry was Aziza’s hobby. But she started getting so many requests that was able to grow it to a $5K/mo side hustle selling custom necklaces.
Here are some awesome learnings from starting a curated gift boxes ecommerce side hustle and growing it to $12K/mo.
Online courses can be a great side hustle too. Kirstin started a $650K business teaching people how to manage Pinterest accounts for others.
Through the years, Chris has combined his job as an accountant with starting different side hustles. His latest effort, a $2K/mo power banks e-commerce.
Brad is the founder of TechKeys, a $5K/mo online retail store dedicated to mechanical keyboard parts and accessories.
If you want to go even deeper, I have curated a great selection of the best business ideas to make money with a side hustle.
Crowded Kitchen is a plant-based recipe website and a photography and creative content business, with an organic audience of nearly 200k on Instagram, ran by Lexi and her mother.
Besides the more common food blogging and Instagramming, what caught my eye here was that about half of their revenue came from content creation for food and beverage brands. They started offering photography and recipe development services to brands for them to use in their own social media marketing. I love it.
And one thought from Lexi that I’d like to highlight: They haven’t ever had content go crazy viral on social media and gained 10k followers overnight, but rather they have been incredibly consistent over the last several years and have grown a high-quality organic audience as a result. Consistency is key, always!
Bolton Bikes is an electric bicycles and upgrade components for competing brands ecommerce. The best thing about this business is how Kyle, the charismatic founder, has mastered Youtube as an acquisition channel.
During the interview, he makes a pretty bold statement: “I don’t pay for advertisement, I get paid to sell.” That’s right, his Youtube channel is so popular (80K subscribers) pays him what he used to make working a full time job. So much to learn from him.
If you’re looking to start or improve your Youtube marketing strategy, you also need to read the story of Cameron, who has reached 5 million YouTube views and $40K in revenue.
Quote of the week
"Because we’ve focused so much on a product to make people happier, it’s been pretty easy to recognize the product fit. When it’s working, you know. When it’s not working… oh yeah, we know that too.”
Shane Kovalsky, Founder
At Hemp Crate Co. ($50K/mo) they’re looking for a virtual assistant (or two) to handle many of their day-to-day operations. Additionally, we’re looking for a marketing firm that is purely results-driven and knows its way around the CBD industry.
At MinJournal ($150K/mo and 150K copies sold) there are open positions for Digital Marketing Manager and Customer Support Manager.
At Scribly.io ($37K/mo) they’re looking for passionate writers, editors, social media community managers, and technical SEO to join their remote team.
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At Mystery ($150K experiences platform) they’re hiring a Software Engineer, an Engineering Lead, a Sales Lead and more.
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