As part of TechRound’s Side Hustle month we’ve spoken to entrepreneurs with first-hand hustle experience. Here, we chat with Amelia Trumble, co-founder of Retold Recycling, who shares her inspirations for starting a side hustle, what’s come of it since, and advice for others looking to make money outside of their 9-5.
How did your side hustle begin? What inspired you to start it up?
“The three of us who co-founded Retold Recycling worked together in Marketing at MAC Cosmetics in New York and frequently talked about a long term pivot to invest our efforts into a business that was doing good for the earth. Years later, I was renovating my closets in a small NYC apartment and was frustrated to find no solution to easily declutter unwanted clothes, particularly without adding to landfill. My business partner Noelle and I crystallised the idea over dinner one evening and then Alan invited himself to join us in the business! (Lucky for us, because he is the math guy / a customer data guru).”
How did you manage your side hustle alongside other work obligations?
“Because our mission – #NoLandfill – is so core to what we do, you can’t help but be motivated every day to get the work done. For the first year of operations, I personally packed all of our orders but didn’t begrudge the weekend and late night work because it enabled me to be so close to our customers and have a handle on everything operationally.”
“None of us 3 founders have taken a salary from the business to date and all still work mostly full time elsewhere – I am at approx 30 hours a week / 20 hours a week on Retold. We couldn’t do it without our amazing team and our recycling partner handling everything behind the scenes.”
“For me personally, I have had to consolidate the consulting work I do for my “day job” to all be with just 1 client because it was way too complex juggling the needs of multiple clients AND Retold. You can read all the productivity books and listen to all the business podcasts for tips, but sometimes you have to make an actual change to set yourself up for success – and my clients also understand that Retold will always be my #1 priority.”
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What’s come of your side hustle since starting up?
“We are a fast-growing profitable business! Our consumer business at retoldrecycling.com has grown double or triple digits MoM and we just closed a small Friends & Family round to accelerate with even more marketing / PR.”
“We have just launched our first brand partnership, powering a recycling bag program for Vitamin A Swim, with several more in the pipeline for this year!”
“Hopefully within the next few years we will become synonymous with clothing & textile recycling and take our vision to other countries too!”
What advice would you give to others looking to start their side hustle?
“Just start. You can be paralysed with getting all the details together, but just lean into the areas where you are most comfortable and then ask people for help in the areas where you lack expertise.”
“Also I highly recommend bootstrapping or negotiating with contractors for sweat equity where you can in the beginning – it gives you so much more freedom to go at your own pace and not have investors or debt hanging over your head!”