What It's About
A fascination with plants leads a man in the UK to a side hustle building terrariums.
Words of Wisdom
Adam now has a 9-5 job as a Marketing Assistant for a startup called Shiply which he enjoys, but he continues to work on Geodesium. But with each terrarium taking between 3 and 4 hours to complete, the side hustle can be extremely time-and labor-intensive. He cuts the glass himself, which is then copper foiled and burnished; then the terrarium is soldered together, polished and waxed.
It's definitely a labor of love. Adam's advice to listeners: etsy is a great platform to get started, but make sure that your product or service is not terribly labor-intensive.
Each one of Geodesium’s handmade geometric terrariums takes a few hours to create. They range in size and shape, with one of the priciest made up 80 different triangles of glass and costing £135 ($174).
Founder Adam Shafi cuts the glass himself, coats it with copper foil, and solders it together—following the Tiffany technique traditionally for stained glass. Terrariums not only look cool but also help create humidity, which allows plants to grow in areas they don’t normally belong.
Notes from Chris
Episode 135About a decade ago, while researching how to tend his plants, Adam Shafi had come across terrariums. They looked like reptile tanks, or clear plastic pots. But they achieved an important goal: improved humidity for growing the plants. Fast forward to two years ago. Adam had just graduated with a master’s degree but was initially unable to find work because of a turndown in the industry. So, while applying for jobs, he was also looking into buying a terrarium for his plants. He had seen lots of the so-called “geodesic domes” online and in the shops since the geometric-shaped terrariums were steadily gaining popularity. Adam’s interested was piqued, and—with time on his hands—he decided to attempt making one. So far, he has sold over 100 terrariums. Though his profits dropped slightly as he lowered his pay-per-click budgets, he averages about £600 ($770) in monthly sales. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Geodesium: Learn more about Adam and his gorgeous terrariums on his website and Etsy!
- wikiHow: The "learn anything" website Adam used to learn how to construct his glass terrariums
- Shopify: Adam used Shopify to create his main website, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
- 7 Steps to a Successful Start on Etsy: Starting a new business on Etsy can feel overwhelming. Find out how to make the process more manageable (and fun!) by following a few simple tips.
- GE Engineer Sells Hand-Crafted Slate Artwork to All 50 States: A GE engineer uses his skills to make and sell hand-crafted slate artwork to all 50 states. In addition to bringing in a great side income, it’s also given him more courage and security to make decisions at his day job.
- Hand-Stamped Feminist Jewelry Earns $25,000 Side Income: She’s loud, she’s proud, and she’s wielding a hammer to smash the patriarchy with her hand-stamped feminist jewelry line.
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