Startups That Started As Side Hustles: Part 2

Sometimes it just takes one small idea that changes a side-hustle into a major success story.

Here, we explore some more stories of how some impressive entrepreneurs took their “just for fun” projects and spun them into full time businesses. Let’s get into it…

Wonderbly: Revolutionising Children’s Literature

 

Latest stories published on Tales from Wonderbly Backstage – Medium

 

Wonderbly, initially Lost My Name, has had a huge impact on children’s literature since it started in 2013. What started as a side hustle with the launch of “Lost My Name” quickly became a global phenomenon, after appearing on Dragon’s Den.

Their journey began when Co-Founder Asi Sharabi, disappointed by a personalised book he received for his daughter, thought about creating more engaging and unique stories. He set out to find the right business partners to launch his venture. 

He found three perfect people: David Cadji-Newby, a former TV writer for shows like “The Armstrong and Miller Show” and “Allan Carr’s Chatty Man”, brought a creative storytelling flair. Tal Oron, previously a product manager at CDRide and founder of makersuk.org, provided tech and entrepreneurial expertise. Lastly, Pedro Serapicos, a talented Portuguese graphic designer, illustrator, and lecturer, added artistic depth to their book designs. And Wonderbly was born.

From there, Wonderbly has gone from strength to strength, expanding from one bestseller to over 100 unique titles, and selling more than 8 million books in 11 languages. This innovation led to their recognition with the 2021 British Book Award for Children’s Publisher of the Year.

 

Amy Peacock: A Wellness Brand Born From Personal Inspiration

 

 

Amy Peacock’s Earth’s Secret, a wellness brand launched in 2021, shows just how personal inspiration can become entrepreneurial success.

At just 23 years old, Amy started the company from her bedroom in Northern Ireland, driven by her mother’s battle with breast cancer and the holistic health approaches that eased her journey.

Working as a traffic controller in Australia, Amy used her free time to mould her vision for a health and wellness business. Investing her savings and leaning on her father for business expertise, she launched Earth’s Secret.

The brand quickly gained popularity, selling over 25,000 orders across 30 countries. Today, Earth’s Secret is not just a business but a reflection of Amy’s dedication to holistic health and a tribute to the inspiring journey of her mother.

 

Jess and Jake Munday: From Maternity Leave To Million-Pound Business

 

Custom Neon signs Australia: Founder Jess Munday exclusive interview - 9Honey

 

Custom Neon, founded by Jess and Jake Munday, is an example of a side hustle turning into an international business. The idea began in 2018 when Jake, then running a teeth whitening business, wanted to buy an LED neon sign for his son’s nursery but couldn’t find affordable or safe options.

With a small investment of £250 and Jess’s background in retail recruitment, the couple started this maternity leave project, initially renting out neon signs for weddings.

The business quickly grew, especially on Instagram, leading to a fully booked hire calendar and sales exceeding £5k weekly. Custom Neon’s growth has been huge; as it now boasts over 35 team members across the UK, USA, and Australia, with an annual turnover of £10 million. This journey from a small start to a multi-million-pound company shows that sometimes it just takes one simple idea to get you started!

 

Andy LaPointe: From Finance To Gourmet Success

 

Andy LaPointe | Source | Corporate Advisor for a... | Qwoted

 

Andy LaPointe’s transformation from a finance professional to a gourmet food entrepreneur is a story of resilience. With a career as a stockbroker, investment advisor, and mutual fund wholesaler, Andy’s life changed post-9/11. He decided he wanted to leave his travel-intensive job to do something a little closer to home.

Having grown up working in his family’s pizza business, he set his eyes on the food industry. Alongside his wife, Andy started Traverse Bay Farms in 2001 in Northern Michigan, focusing on gourmet foods like salsa, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, jams, and mustards, using locally sourced ingredients.

Their goal was to replace his corporate income, a target they successfully achieved. Since Andy left the corporate world in 2009, Traverse Bay Farms has continued to grow, winning over 38 national food awards, operating two retail stores, and distributing products across 42 states. Their achievement is not just financial, but they have also built a brand that has become much loved by consumers and celebrities alike.  Andy’s journey from finance to food shows that sometimes you just need to take the leap to turn a side hustle into a thriving business.

 

 

Kalila Bolton and Holly Jackson: From Part-Time Project To Full-Time Business

 

Holly Jackson

 

Kalila Bolton and Holly Jackson, co-founders of SheSpot, have transformed their shared passion for breaking the taboos around women’s pleasure into a thriving business.

Beginning as a part-time project with a sexual wellness subscription box, SheSpot quickly became a full service online store for pleasure products. The pandemic presented an opportunity for both Kalila and Holly to focus on the business.

Transitioning from corporate careers, they dedicated themselves full-time to SheSpot, after securing their first investment round. This switch has lead them to triple-digit growth in customer acquisition and key partnerships with renowned brands like Sephora and Killing Kittens.

Holly brings her expertise in management consulting and e-commerce, while Kalila contributes her legal and tech operations experience, combined with their shared passion for women’s rights.  Together, they aim to take SheSpot global, with plans for big growth in 2024, showcasing how a part-time project can become a full-time success!

 

George Yang: From Passion Project To Industry Leader

 

 

George Yang, the founder of Yanre Fitness and OxygenArk, shows how a small side hustle can quickly develop into an industry leading business. 

OxygenArk, born from George’s deep passion for health, fitness, and hyperbaric technology, started as a personal project. Balancing his regular job, George dedicated evenings and weekends to develop OxygenArk’s first hyperbaric chamber.

This commitment paid off, with sales increasing rapidly in the second year through continued testing and improvement. Growing OxygenArk from a part-time business to a full-time one involved clear planning and expansion, prioritising quality, customer service, and innovative marketing. In just three years, the team grew from 1 to 25 employees, and their annual production capacity soared. George’s story with OxygenArk is not just a business success; it’s a story of how passion, resilience, and strategic growth can transform a modest idea into a thriving industry-leading company. 

 

Igor Reiant: From Immigrant To Entertainment CEO

 

How Igor Reiant Of Entertech Is Helping To Make the Entertainment Industry More Diverse and Representative | by Yitzi Weiner | Authority Magazine | Medium

 

Igor Reiant’s journey from a student immigrant to the CEO of allcasting and KidsCasting is a story of innovation.

Drawn to the world of Hollywood, Reiant, a student from Belarus, wanted to explore acting and modelling as a means to earn extra cash. After seeing first-hand how exclusive and inefficient the industry was, he started thinking about a digital solution to help streamline the casting process. 

Igor created online portfolios, allowing talent to share their profiles globally in seconds. His platforms, allcasting.com and kidscasting.com, also provide a centralised list of casting calls, simplifying the process. This digital product provided fast, efficient access to opportunities, breaking down barriers that once favoured only those with connections and resources. Today, his platforms have helped thousands break into the entertainment industry, showing that problem-solving is the best way to build a business!