4 Female Founders On Starting Your Own (Side) Hustle During A Pandemic


4 Female Founders On Starting Your Own (Side) Hustle During A Pandemic


Despite the whirlwind of a year that it has been thus far, 2020 has most likely had you reassessing and re-evaluating your current and future work goals. Whether you’re entering a tough job market as a recent graduate or were furloughed from work, there’s never been a better time to start thinking about diversifying your streams of income. So if you’ve been putting off turning that side passion into a side hustle, now is the time to get started!


I spoke to four fabulous women on how they started their own side hustles and the advice they wish they knew at the start of their journey. From the importance of finding a mentor and asking for advice (FYI: make sure you’re following The Junior Network on Instagram for any mentorship opportunities) to researching your audience – get inspired and get booked!


Rosette Ale

Founder of sustainable fashion brand, Revival



Hey Rosette! Could you tell me a bit more about the start of Revival?

Starting Revival was a combination of my own passion and seeking to create positive change in the industry. I started off re-selling vintage clothes whilst I was in college as I was really good at finding gems in charity shops and vintage markets. Over time, I learned more about the negative impact the fashion industry has on the environment and wanted to do more to help. 


What do you find the most challenging aspect of having your own business?

I can be very indecisive! At times I struggle to move forward with certain things and they end up getting delayed. It’s also been challenging to balance my schedule. Admin can take up hours of my day when I could’ve been making an order or working on marketing.


What’s one piece of information you wish you knew before starting? 

It’s so important to have a business partner and/or mentor before getting started as I’m still figuring a lot of things out. For instance, how to upscale efficiently and finding a production facility to work with etc. 


How have you found navigating your own business through COVID-19? 

It definitely came at the worst time as I had so many plans for this year. I wanted to do more physical stores and/or pop-ups to build brand awareness, but all of that had to be put on hold. However, I’ve been blessed with some social media coverage and takeovers which have really helped us grow our Instagram following.


What’s your best piece of advice for anyone looking to start their own business?

Make sure you do lots of research beforehand and think about the bigger picture – where do you see your business in the next 1-5 years and how can you get there? Also, be prepared to work! If you put the effort in, your business will grow and flourish.



Grace Ambrose

Founder of jewellery brand, ByGraceAmbrose



Hey Grace! Could you tell me a bit about your background?

Hi! My name is Grace, I currently work as a Creative Director within the financial industry by day and a self-taught accessories maker by night. 


So how did you get started with ByGraceAmbrose?

ByGraceAmbrose really started as a hobby, which snowballed from something I did as a distraction and therapeutic outlet, to landing my first boutique pop-up at Stylist Live and being featured in Vogue. 


Working within a corporate environment, I wanted something that allowed me to be unique and quirky and my solution came in the form of bright and playful necklaces. As I began wearing them to work, the pieces became showstoppers and conversation starters, which led to orders. Hearing customer’s feedback and getting sales confirmed that there was a demand for my necklaces. 


What have you found most challenging about starting your own business?

The most challenging aspect I find is taking time out. Running a side hustle whilst working can be exhausting and cause burnout, so it’s important you know how your body works and bend to it as your energy levels allow. For anyone looking to start their own side hustle, ensure time for self-care is built into your calendar.


What’s one piece of advice you wish you knew when you first started, that you know now?

There is no right or wrong pathway to get to your goal, just do it and you will create your own. Also don’t doubt your ability, but know when to seek advice and who to seek it from.


How have you adapted during COVID-19?

I started doing live crafting classes on my Instagram page which I set-up to help anyone suffering with mental health during this time. Joining the class gave participants a creative outlet and provided them with an opportunity to acquire a new skill. This was an idea that was in the pipeline but brought forward as a result of COVID-19. 


What’s your number one piece of advice for anyone looking to start making an income from their own hobby?

Ensure you have a support system around you that you trust – friends, family and those with a similar vision. It’s important to have people who make you step out of your comfort zone, they will be your guide every time you get stuck, have a wobble or want to celebrate. I truly found this invaluable.


Shannon Murray

Founder of High Flying Design



Hey Shannon! Could you tell me a bit about what you were doing before setting up your own website design business?

After graduating with a 1st class honours in BA (Hons) in Fashion Journalism at UCA, I worked my way up from a Call Centre Operator to Senior Marketing Executive within the insurance industry. But since January 2020, I have been designing Wix Websites for small to medium-sized businesses in health, wellbeing and beauty.


What made you take the leap to start designing for businesses at the start of this year?

I was discussing with my marketing assistant what each of us does in their spare time to stay creative and at the time, I was designing and setting up my own wedding shoe blog. Another colleague overheard me talking passionately about web design and ended up recommending me to one of her friends who was in need of a website. This ended up creating a domino effect where people started contacting me directly for websites. 


If you go back to the beginning of this year, knowing what you know now, what what you tell yourself? 

That everything doesn’t have to be perfect when you start a business. Just be yourself. The right clients for your business come to you for what you offer.


How have your plans for the business changed since COVID-19? 

I dreamed of doing this for people when I came out of University but didn’t quite have the confidence to do it full time. When my team was furloughed in March and the demand for websites seemed to pick up, I just thought ‘F*** it’. I didn’t feel passionate about my 9-5 and I don’t have a mortgage, so it felt like the right time. I leave the security of my 9-5 on October 2nd and I honestly can’t wait for my new start to begin. 


Unexpectedly, COVID-19 has had a really positive effect on my business. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for most of my clients, however, it has given the majority of them the time that they would never have had to renovate their headquarters and invest in a website!  


What advice would you give to our readers looking to take their own leap of faith?

Honestly just research, create a plan and implement it. If this strategy doesn’t work, repeat the process and more importantly, do not give up because you could be one step away from success. 



Rachel Mason

Founder of female CBD brand, Our Remedy


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Hi, I'm Rachel – The Founder of Our Remedy CBD. ⁠Here's why I started this company ✨⁠ ⁠ I’ve always struggled with sleep fuelled by the anxiety of whichever ‘woman’s problem’ I was currently going through. From finding out I’d never conceive naturally to cancer cells found on my ovaries – I’ve had my fair share.⁠ ⁠ I found CBD a really helpful way to manage my sleep and anxiety but I couldn’t find one I liked the taste of, so I’d put off taking it and the sleepless nights would creep back in and bring with it a day of exhaustion (and a craving for anything beige 🍕).⁠ ⁠ The more I learnt about CBD the more I realised it could help others with all sorts of issues related to female health. I decided to create a CBD brand with a difference, focused on period problems and with a person behind it who understands. The unique mix of peppermint and clary sage means it tastes a little different too.⁠ ⁠ I am incredibly passionate about our environment, which is why you’ll only ever find Our Remedy bottled in recycled packaging and printed with soy ink and also why we are the first and only CBD company in the UK to offer plastic free re-fills ♻️⁠ ⁠ DM's are ALWAYS open if you have any questions about how CBD might help you ❤️⁠ ⁠ ⁠ #periodproblems #periods #cbdforperiods #cbdforanxiety #cbdforwomen #periodsarenormal #periodfacts #endo #mentalhealth #selfcare #timeofthemonth.

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Hi Rachel! Could you tell me a bit about your background?

After graduating, I spent three years in graphic design roles within pretty corporate companies. At the time, my partner had started vaping and sensing it could be big, we took the plunge and got into vaping retail – so I quit my job and we opened two shops within a few weeks of each other. It was completely crazy but still incredibly exciting.


That’s so exciting! So how did Our Remedy come to be?

We started selling CBD in the vape stores in 2016 and it intrigued me to see the level of interest in it. My experience with creating my ‘Pink Label’ vape juice range inspired me to feel I could do the same within the CBD market; empower women and give them something that they really want, so I created Our Remedy in January this year.


What do you enjoy the most about being the director of your own company?

I love seeing the results of all my hard work paying off. Whether that’s as simple as my most-liked Instagram photo ever, an amazing review from someone about how CBD has helped them or a keyword I am tracking getting to the first page of Google.


What have you learnt along the way that you think has contributed to your success?

The area I have really developed over the past few years is the importance of knowing and understanding your customer. For me, building a brand is about presenting an idea that means something to someone. If you can’t identify your audience then how will your audience identify you?


What advice do you have for someone looking to start their own side hustle?

Before all this, I had no entrepreneurial experience as I was only 25 when I took the plunge and started the business; it was (and still is) trial and error. You have to try to avoid failing the same way twice


Budgeting is also so important, everything I have started has been started on a shoestring. It’s good to test the market first before spending lots of money. With Our Remedy, I created the Instagram account to see if there was any interest. It also meant I had a small engaged audience I could ask questions to – it might not sound a lot, but having 300 people who are all your target audience is super valuable. 


Words by Heather Ibberson


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