Top E-Commerce Businesses Which Began as Side Hustles

e-commerce side hustles

It’s the month of the side hustle here at TechRound, and we have been offering expert advice on how to set up your own if you’re considering it, alongside featuring some individuals who have been successful in running their own whilst still working alternative jobs. Here, TechRound has featured some businesses which began as side hustles and specialise in a variety of sectors, from running their own online training camps to setting up sites supporting small businesses and their founders.


Side Hustles Featured:

  • The Tactical Athlete
  • Melita Latham London
  • Five Dot Botanics
  • Laylo
  • Pop-Up Pigeon
  • Bare Kind
  • Instant Commerce


For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.




The Tactical Athlete

farren morgan


Founder(s): Farren Morgan


Every year the Army selects outstanding individuals for soldier of the year – soldiers that are making a true and significant impact in the British Military Community. Farren Morgan was one of the honorary recipients to be nominated, and successfully won the award for his Tactical Fitness style and how he managed to train any civilian into a fully fledged soldier in a short timeframe (2020).

He was constantly asked by people outside of the military to provide fitness programmes and programmes to help any normal civilian from zero to hero as quick as possible. This is when he had the idea to set up Farren Morgan Coaching in the first lockdown in 2020. He started off with my first E-Book, The 8 week Tactical Training Programme. This programme is designed to get any person ready for military training in 8 weeks if followed correctly. This Ebook has currently helped over 500 people into the Military, police force and fire service. It was the first ebook to help the new intake of women get into the infantry. This is what gave him his perfect start and this was all carried out through Instagram with weekly live chats and motivational workouts.

Since the start of his side hustle, Farren has released 3 more Tactical Training E-Books and in 2021 he evolved his business, now named The Tactical Athlete. He offers a training subscription service delivered through an app with 5 sessions per week, so individuals can train in the exact same way that he did.


Melita Latham London

melita latham london


Founder(s): Melita Latham


Melita Latham is the founder of her own e-commerce site, Melita Latham London, which she runs as a side hustle.

She originally founded the company as a travel accessories business but added other British brands, mainly small businesses, to the retail portfolio  during the pandemic as she wanted to use the platform to help other small businesses that saw difficult times due to lack of sales.

Melita Latham London now stocks products from Homeware, Beauty, Children, Wellbeing products, organic products and so much more, all of which are made by British brands. Running her side hustle has allowed Melita to encounter some amazing businesses, albeit virtually, and have many amazing product offerings.

Melita has gained a lot of knowledge the hard way but she has learnt the best way to overcome problems. She believes that the best part of having an e-commerce site is that you can change and adapt quickly. When the travel industry stopped running Melita had to change tactic, and believes the best part of the business is that it’s always evolving.


Five Dot Botanics



Founder(s): Zaffrin & Brian O’Sullivan


Founded by wife-and-husband Zaffrin & Brian O’Sullivan, Five Dot Botanics is one of the UK’s fastest-growing independent vegan skincare brands that is leading a minimalist skincare revolution.

Full-time TV lawyer with a skincare side hustle? “Say no more,” said Zaffrin. Balancing a full-time job, a side hustle, and raising three kids sure isn’t a piece of cake but the key to O’Sullivan’s success comes from being fully invested in their journey and products. Zaffrin herself, has always been interested in the beauty industry but she knew that growing up with an Asian background, it would be difficult to break into. She says, “the skincare industry is very competitive and it never used to have people like me owning skincare businesses or building beauty brands. I love that it is changing and that launching a brand is more accessible, which is allowing more voices to question the status quo.”

To launch the business Zaffrin had to take out a hefty personal loan. A few months later, she took an investment from Worth Capital. She didn’t let anything get in the way, in fact, she was in hospital being induced when she took the call from the investor!

They’ve overcome various challenges and continue to thrive. When Covid hit, their retail plans were cancelled so they quickly turned to Amazon, which ensured Five Dot Botanics could continue the business throughout lockdown. This was critical in continuing the momentum of the newly found business, helping them diversify early on, and keeping the investors happy. Also, from a supply chain perspective, it made a world of difference. Zaffrin described “logistics being the bane of [her] life since starting the business.” Fulfilment by Amazon solved all these issues, freeing up her time so she could focus on what she’s passionate about.

Despite exporting challenges brought on by Brexit, they’ve recently closed their first deal in Hong Kong and have also joined Amazon Launchpad to access more support and leverage Amazon’s German presence to restart European market plans. The O’Sullivans are making the most of Amazon’s support, helping them in their commitment to their side hustle so they don’t have to compromise their main jobs.





Founder(s): Laura Riches & Laura Rosenberger


Laylo started with a moment of serendipity during the 2020 summer lockdown. Me and my friend (also called Laura…) independently had the idea to create a luxury boxed wine brand, but it was only when she messaged me to ask for some advice that we realised the coincidence.

A week later we compared notes and it turned out we shared the same vision… top quality wines in beautiful boxes, which could be proudly displayed on your countertop.

At the time we were both working 4 days a week as freelance consultants. We thought this could be a fun side hustle in the “extra day” and set to work creating our first wine – a Tempranillo from Spain. Our plan was to sell it to family and friends as Christmas presents, so there was no marketing budget. Just word of mouth and a bit of social media hustle.

Within weeks of launch we’d already sold out, had featured in national publications, been nominated for a wine award and had been approached by a significant investor. Between my consulting gigs (and me looking after my toddler) we were working evenings, weekends – and my husband even moonlighted as a delivery driver. It was a whirlwind!

In January 2021 we decided we needed to be “all in”. Since then we’ve raised investment from the Angels, founding teams and senior executives from some of the most successful D2C brands including Bloom & Wild, Hello Fresh and Butternut Box. We held a Christmas popup in Selfridges and have launched 6 more critically acclaimed wines.


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Pop-Up Pigeon

sally brockway


Founder(s): Sally Brockway


Sally Brockway, 57 from Kingston in Surrey founded pop up greetings card company Pop-Up Pigeon in 2017.

She always felt that spending £5 on a piece of card that would be chucked away within 24 hours was a waste of money, but back in the early noughties, her father went on holiday to Vietnam and bought some pop-up cards. He sent one to her daughter Alice, now 19, for her birthday and Sally was obsessed with it. It was the most incredible card she had ever seen. It folded flat, but when you opened it, this beautiful intricate 3D design of somebody on a bike wearing a traditional Vietnamese hat, popped up. For a while, she’d been pondering the idea of a side hustle, because she wanted to learn more about e-commerce, and this looked like the ideal opportunity.

She did a lot of research and used the platform to talk to card manufacturers in Vietnam. She received hundreds of samples and wasn’t satisfied with any of them. Then, I received a set of cards from a small factory in Hanoi and I knew she’d found a supplier. Their sales manager spoke English and talked her through the process from ordering through to delivery charges and customs fees.

There are lots of people out there selling Vietnamese pop-up cards and she realised that she needed to stand out and to do that, she had to design her own cards. She took up adult ballet at the age of 51, so decided to design a ballerina card. She couldn’t find one she liked anywhere, so there was clearly a gap in the market. She also designed a card based on Cow Parsley, which is one of her favourite hedgerow plants. Recently, she designed a range of in-a-box cards, which is essentially, things that pop out of a cardboard box – they have a heart, a cat and some heart-shaped candies. These are doing really well at the moment.

They have now also added matchbox gifts to our range. Sally chose them because they are really quirky, postable and well made. They also sell little matchboxes with worry dolls in them. These always do well round about GCSE and A’Level time.


Bare Kind

Lucy Jeffrey Bare Kind


Founder(s): Lucy Jeffrey


Lucy started her side-hustle when she was working for HSBC, and has grown it to the point of being able to quit my job!

She started with reusable drinking straws, which she drop shipped to customers. This was a good model to begin with because it is low cost and risk, you do not hold any of the inventory yourself. Once she had some traction she began to level up the products from there.

She bought her own inventory so she could control packaging and shipping times, and she also branded them with a logo. Her headline product now are bamboo socks where 10% of the profits help save the animal on the sock. This was Lucy’s side hustle for a couple of years until she quit her job at the end of 2020. She was able to negotiate low enough MOQs to be able to afford buying in some product, and luckily her Mum was willing to help her with shipping.

Product is a great way to build a side-hustle because there are so many options out there. You can find so many different products via Alibaba, and then if like Lucy you want to bring production into Europe you can start reaching out to factories to make more bespoke products.



Founder(s): Judi Durand


Judi Durand is a 22 year SVP for Public Relations firms but also owns a CBD Wellness Boutique called They feature FREE wellness product samples, toys, books, snacks, life improvement classes, skin and wellness assessments and herbal tea daily, for anyone who can’t afford CBD wellness in their community, because they do not believe any adult, child or teen should suffer pain, stress or hunger, just because they cannot afford it.

They feature a rare, smoke-free, wedding-flowers smelling, chic environment and customers from our community and communities from as far away as 50 miles who frequent our boutique, have even started to donate their change or round up their total purchases to join them in providing free products.

Their community is not impoverished, but the pandemic has caused numerous families who are patrons and strangers, of all ages, to experience poverty, and many for the first time in their lives. They are lending a hand through funds, foods, books and expertise.

They are happy to provide this “service of presence” online and in store: being an available space where people can get away from their homes and have a free cup of tea and wholesome snack, providing people with the chance to email or tune in for demos on plant based food, or learn something new about their body or life, and perhaps how to supplement their food at home with snacks that we share in store or we will ship!

They have become a destination for relief from various issues. And it all started as a side hustle.


Instant Commerce

instant commerce


Founder(s): Coen van Hees (CEO), Doeke Leeuwis (CTO) and Sam Van Hees (CMO)


Instant Commerce is a frontend as a service solution which enables any eCommerce brand to build a high-end headless storefront. Because they are ‘no code’, business owners do not need technical expertise or a development team to build their online offering. They seamlessly integrate with scores of different systems like Shopify, Storyblok, Algolia and more using APIs. In short, with Instant Commerce any online seller can launch a comprehensive headless webshop that rivals the functionality of the biggest retailers for a fraction of the price and time. The result is the best possible experience for their customers and ultimately, a huge increase in sales.

Before officially launching, co-founders, Coen van Hees (CEO), Doeke Leeuwis (CTO) and Sam Van Hees (CMO), spent a long time working with eCommerce companies helping to scale their offerings on Shopify with their agency, Story of AMS. A problem they consistently encountered was business owners struggling to manage, scale and update their storefront. With technology moving so quickly and consumers expecting more and more functionality, eCommerce companies had to dedicate much more time and resources to keep up. Many businesses simply don’t have the expertise or money to make this happen efficiently. When they encountered headless technology they realised there was a way to create a platform that could do all the heavy lifting for these companies. By making it no code they removed the need for big development teams. The result was the Instant Commerce solution – a way for eCommerce companies to create the best possible storefronts at minimal cost and effort.

Instant Commerce fully launched this year and they have taken on scores of partners and clients. Their plan is to expand across Europe while continually upgrading their platform. Ultimately, the goal is to become the world’s leading headless storefront platform.


Drift Drinks

Drift - Isabelle Hefford


Founder(s): Isabelle Hefford


Drift Drinks was founded by Brand Marketing specialist, Isabelle Hefford. Her passion for delicious drinks and a personal struggle to find variety in the alcohol-free options available in pubs and supermarkets quickly turned from a personal quest into a new side hustle. After taste-testing over 75 different drinks, Isabelle discovered that alcohol-free beverages pack as much flavour as the real deal and wanted to create a platform to showcase the incredible craft brands she had discovered.

Isabelle turned the idea into reality in 8 weeks and launched the non-alcoholic drinks retailer in November 2021, since then it has surpassed all growth targets.

Drift Drinks strives to offer alternative choices for those who live for balance in life, it’s an accessible platform to discover and shop great-tasting alcohol alternatives, from beer and cider to cocktails and functional drinks, whilst offering brands a dedicated platform to reach new audiences and drive business growth.

Drift Drinks is on a mission to shift the ‘sober’ industry perception and curate the world’s best craft alcohol alternatives for all, it is about providing choice for all those that have given up, cutting back or are simply just curious. Isabelle has been overwhelmed by the positive response from such a widespread of consumers – comprising fitness enthusiasts and new and expecting parents, to career people that want a mid-week drink but can’t afford the hangover.

Isabelle has just launched subscription boxes to continue the offering and is excited for what Drift Drinks will become in 2022 and beyond.


For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.