Side hustles more attractive with online storefronts

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With inflation cutting into people’s bottom line more than ever, many people are finding creative ways to make money to supplement their income or even replace their traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs.


Kayla Brost is a stay-at-home mom to two kids and owns a business that’s just down the hall from her kid’s playroom.


She founded and operates Brides and Babes, a personalized clothing, custom gift and accessory store marketing its wares exclusively online and at craft or farmer’s markets.


Brost says she first started making handmade gifts for close friends and family before the pandemic.


“To start, it was a hobby,” Brost added. “I just made baby onesies… I was doing it just for fun on the side for friends and family.”


“Once I had my daughter, I was looking for something to help with extra income.”


She launched an Etsy marketplace that then scaled up to a bigger business handling more orders through Instagram.


“I just saw that there’s an opportunity to make some extra grocery money or activity money for the kids,” Brost said. “It’s just been phenomenal for the bank account.”


‘THEY NEED FLEXIBILITY’


An retail specialist at the University of Alberta’s School of Business says social media has changed the way people shop.


Social media has entirely cut out the need to go visit a mall or store, said Heather Thomson, executive director of the centre for cities and communities.


“We see people shopping at the point of discovery,” Thomson said. “They’re looking at an item through TikTok videos, through Instagram, through Pinterest and they can click on it and it brings you to where you can purchase that item.”


“A lot of consumers are thinking, well, I actually didn’t want that, (but) now that I see it, I do want it,” Thomson added. “I didn’t know it existed, it wouldn’t have mattered to my life, but I want it.”


Coupled with the pandemic changing attitudes toward work and life balance, many are reassessing how they want to make a living, Thomson said.


“We have a whole workforce where a typical 9 to 5 doesn’t work for the set-up of someone’s life,” she said. “They need flexibility, but the traditional workforce doesn’t allow for.”


“So if they can find ways to make money and have some revenue coming in that allows them to have the flexibility to take care of their children or their loved ones, or they can be in school,” Thomson says, “is huge.”


It’s also become easier for creators and artists to sell their wares, Thomson says, as inexpensive and easy to use platforms like Etsy help connect them with potential buyers.


“People are starting to see that, hey, I’ve got this extra time, and people are wanting these different things,” she said. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and we are starting to see that more and more people are starting to monetize the different things they can do, whether it’s talents or hobbies.”


‘IT’S JUST INDESCRIBABLE’


With the holiday season approaching, Brost plans to attend different creator markets almost every weekend until the end of December.


Saving money on child care while also doing a hobby she loves makes work seem less like work, Brost said.


“Just becoming a mom and then being able still to bring in an income for my family, to be able to provide some amount for my family, it’s just indescribable,” Brost said. 



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