135
8 min 29 sec

British Man Builds Terrariums for £600 Monthly Profit

An avid plant collector in the UK makes the most out of a temporary unemployment situation by building and selling glass terrariums.
Etsy International Manufacturing Product Shopify

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What It's About

A fascination with plants leads a man in the UK to a side hustle building terrariums.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Glass Cutting & Soldering
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

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.

Fun Fact

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 135
About 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!
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Getting started on Etsy is pretty simple. The key is taking really good photos and creating a bit of a story around your shop. As long as you’re able to fulfill orders and you enjoy making handmade goods, it will work."
—Adam Shafi #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau