What It's About
A nanny transforms shoes into walking works of art.
Words of Wisdom
Here's some words of encouragement from Dawn; “If it's a passion, go for it. Start small and build up from there. Ask friends and family to help build your side hustle up! I am very lucky to have great people in my life that have supported me every step of the way.”
The average American will spend over $20,000 dollars on shoes across 268 pairs in their lifetime. With that many shoes being sold there are plenty of options for side hustlers to make money in this market.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1113Dawn Chaplain has been working as a full-time nanny for many years. Every day she puts one foot in front of the other and gets things done. This isn’t just true of her day job, but also the many different side hustles she’s tried. Over the years, Dawn has sold refinished furniture, offered photography services, and gone through reflexology training, just to name a few of her pursuits. At some point she became attracted to Etsy, an online marketplace of handmade goodness. She loved the site and spent hours perusing other people’s online stores, marveling at the fantastic creations. She noticed that diaper cakes were becoming popular. These are stacks of clean diapers decorated as an ornament for baby showers—another creation of the Pinterest and Instagram crowd. Dawn made a few and sold them on the site under the name “Too Cute Diaper Cakes.” But she never figured out a way to make enough money to make it worthwhile. Among other challenges, they were difficult to ship. Still, she liked the creative pursuit, so she kept on the lookout for a more profitable venture that would also satisfy her creative desire. As it turns out, her niece’s thirtieth birthday would provide the next opportunity... Dawn’s niece wanted some Little Mermaid heels, and asked if she could make some for her. Dawn had never done anything like that before, but was always up for a challenge. She agreed to lace up and make the shoes, turning a plain pair of heels into a Little Mermaid themed design. It was so enjoyable—both for her and the party guests—that Dawn decided to try selling them, using the name Heavenly Heels. Building on The Little Mermaid, she came up with a range of designs: everything from Disney princesses to Super Mario Brothers. After selling a few to friends and family for a small profit, she looked to pick up the pace. On that former Etsy store, she posted pictures of the heels she’d made, and asked if anyone was interested. Sure enough, before long she had found buyers for a pair of Super Mario Brothers heels, as well as some Batman themed heels. With the money earned, she bought more shoes that she could work her magic on and resell. In addition to wedding themes, Dawn targets certain styles around the holiday periods. In fact, she had one of her best months yet during Halloween 2019 when her Nightmare Before Christmas heels sold out. Some months are definitely better than others, and Dawn is currently earning around six thousand dollars a year selling custom high heels. Not enough to stop working as a nanny, but it’s a solid, supportive supplement to her paycheck.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Dawn's Etsy Store: Check out Dawn's amazing footwear lineup at her store.
- Like other makers and artists, Dawn sells her footwear on Etsy.
- IT Manager Unlocks the Secrets to a Successful Etsy Shop: Always up for a challenge, this IT manager discovers what it takes to stand out on Etsy, and creates a vintage antique style shop bringing in an extra $1,000-2,000 a month.
- Communications Teacher Turns Love of Journaling Into Etsy Shop: In her search for a side hustle, this college communications instructor turns to her love of journaling. She then learns to manufacture a custom product from overseas and sell it back at home.
- Graphic Designer Finds Success in the Cards: Wanting to keep her skills up-to-date, a designer creates and sells a line of handmade watercolor cards.
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