I’ve known Crystal for years – first as the writer behind the Sophisticated Spender and now, with her new side hustle that we will learn about today.
Name of Side Hustle: Sip and Sew Old Town
Start Date: November 2016
How did you pick your side hustle? I love sewing. Years ago I attended a Sip and Sew in DC and didn’t like the item I made. Fast forward 4 years and I teamed up with Jason Butler to create the #1kSideIncomeHustle Challenge. We had to find a way to make and extra $1,000 in side hustle income. I knew a few people who wanted to learn to sew so I created a website teaching people how to sew!
Did you encounter any setbacks? The online sewing idea was a total flop. I only had 2 online sales. And wasn’t even sure how I’d even teach the webinars. And then the Sip and Sew popped back into my mind.
How did you fund your side hustle? First of all, I have a fully stocked emergency fund. Since sewing is my hobby, I had LOTS of fabric and supplies to unload. (Yes, I hoard fabric.) My goal was to turn all of my fabric into money.They also say, when starting a hobby, find someone who is ending the hobby you want to start. So I bought a few old machines on Craigslist. I found a few crazy cheap machines on Amazon and I reached out to my Facebook peeps. I asked if anyone had sewing machines they no longer used or wanted to sponsor a $50 sewing machine. You’d be surprised at what you get when you simply ask.
How did you find a venue? There’s a Paint and Sip Studio in my neighborhood. I went to the owner and told her I had an idea. Sip and Sew. She loved my idea and we worked out a deal where I’d make clothes for her in exchange for teaching my class there every other Sunday.
When you were first starting out, how did you find clients? It didn’t start off smooth. 0 people signed up for my first Sip and Sew Class. But I didn’t get discouraged. I figured my message wasn’t appearing in front of the eyes of the people who were looking for me. So I totally changed my marketing plan. I started networking and making more clothes.
How are you marketing your business? A picture is worth a thousand words! I’ve posted more pictures. I took a Facebook ads course. I started 2 local sewing meetups. I got a free mentor through SCORE (a SBA program). I attend as many networking events that I can and I make sure I’m wearing clothes that I made.
How much side income have you made? I made $155 in November, $455 in December and $1,059 in January!
Where is your business now? Now I teach classes every Sunday between 2 different venues. I plan on adding a lunchtime or midweek evening class. I also have private parties (a kid’s birthday party and a ladies night out at a condo association). I hope to have 1 private booking per month and at least 6 people per class on Sundays. I’m also starting my own etsy store.
What was the most important thing you learned? Know when to push forward on ideas and know when to ditch ideas. My first online sewing idea didn’t work and I was quick to ditch that. People didn’t know who I was. They didn’t trust me. Now that I have a fan base and a following, that’s opened the door for more income streams from my sewing group. Reach out to your friends. Sandy had SO many good ideas for me. She was the one who told me to create a meetup group and now I have 100 people in my meetup in under 2 months! I also have monthly goals and I am constantly testing, updating, grabbing feedback and testimonials.