262
7 min 1 sec

Friends Team Up to Sell Colorful Hammocks

After discovering the life-changing magic of colorful hammocks, a humanitarian based in Cambodia recruits two friends to import them to the U.S.
International Manufacturing Product Social Entrepreneurship

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What It's About

Three friends create a side hustle sharing the magic of hammocks with the world while helping others.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Research & Communication
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Stephanie had great advice for anyone looking to start a business with a friend:

"Have a very clear business agreement that includes what each of you is going to do, what percentage of equity you will each own, and what happens when someone is carrying more than their weight (or if someone wants to leave). Inevitably if you run a business like this long-term these situations will come up."

Fun Fact

Color Cloud Hammocks actually launched on Stephanie's 37th birthday, so to keep with the theme, they created 37 color combination hammocks with fun names for a special launch price of $37. They promoted the sale across their personal social media accounts...and waited. They sold out within a couple of hours, and this ended up being enough to cover their shipping costs and all the rest of their minimal, out of pocket start up expenses.

Notes from Chris

Episode 262

Today’s story features three friends who become business partners with the sole purpose of spreading the joy of colorful hammocks to all seven continents. One of these three friends is actually MY close friend Stephanie Zito, who works with me in my travel hacking side hustle, Travel Hacking Cartel. But today we’re not talking about that; we’re talking about hammocks!

It all started in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Or was it Washington, D.C.? In any case, this story begins 15 years ago when Stephanie Zito was living in D.C. after moving back to the U.S. from Africa. She had a bright yellow and orange hammock she’d bought while traveling overseas, and she’d often hang it up in front of her row house on Capitol Hill.

She told one of her friends that they needed to make their own brightly colored travel hammocks and sell them in the weekend art market, but after weeks spent searching for fabric and teaching themselves how to sew, those happy hammocks were consigned to the “well, that could have been nice…” department. They realized they didn't have a business model that would let them sell hammocks cheaply enough to cover their costs.

After two years, Stephanie took a full-time job working for a humanitarian organization in Cambodia. She was walking through the market one day and found some brightly colored nylon. She drew a picture of the hammock she had tried to make in D.C. two years back. The next day, she had an amazing hammock, and the idea to start a hammock hustle returned.

She contacted her friends, told them that she had found a more feasible method for launching their hammock side hustle, and before she knew it, they were shipping their very first batch of Color Cloud Hammocks to the U.S.! To date, they’ve sold over 5,000 hammocks and have continued to support the local women who make the hammocks.


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Quote of the Day
"Many businesses focus on the marketing of giving back, but from our humanitarian experience, we know that it has an even greater impact to invest at the source of our supply chain."
—Stephanie Zito #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau