8 min 43 sec

Brooklyn App Developer Spins All-Natural Cotton Candy

A mobile app developer gets nostalgic and creates an all-natural cotton candy catering biz.
Food Partnership Product Unique Ideas

Subscribe Now For A Free Five Step Tutorial

What It's About

A sweet side hustle that's as light as air!

Business Model
Skills Required
Creativity & Experimentation
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

One piece of advice that Alisha had for future side hustlers is to master the cold email and follow-up. So many of their successes started with a simple email that they sent to potential collaborators! They made sure to keep their emails short and sweet so that they could convey the value of their business without taking up too much of the other person’s time.

Fun Fact

Who introduced cotton candy to the world? A dentist—Dr. William Morrison of Nashville to be specific. In 1897, he and candy maker John C. Wharton invented a device that melted sugar and blew it through a fine screen to create “Fairy Floss.” He introduced it at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and sold 68,000 boxes for 25¢ each ($6.75 in today’s money). Personally, I think it was a ploy to bring in more cavities...

Notes from Chris

Episode 537
Alisha Vimawala isn’t new to the world of side hustling. Not only is she a full-time product manager for Fueled, an app development agency in New York City, but she also has a successful dance-related YouTube Channel and a published children’s book. But her latest hustle is more colorful and flavorful than all the rest.

In late 2015, Alisha was hanging out with her friend and fellow YouTube side hustler, Margaret Taormina, when the two started playing with a toy cotton candy maker Margaret had received for Christmas. It didn’t take long for them to come up with an idea: all-natural cotton candy catering.

The rest of the holiday went by, but neither Alisha nor Margaret could get the idea out of their head. As soon as January slowed down, they started experimenting with flavors.

They began by ordering some sample materials online: pure herbal extracts, plant-based colors, and specialty sugars. It quickly became clear that, while it would be cheaper to use artificial flavoring, using the natural stuff led to a much higher quality product. [Plus, as a bonus, you wouldn’t die when you ate it.]

The cotton candy they made not only had a crisp and clear flavor, but its light and fluffy texture made each taste like taking a bite out of the sky—not sticky or gooey. Just a couple months into this initial R&D phase, Alisha and Margaret had their first four flavors: mint, citrus, lavender, and rose.

And then a call came. A close friend had access to an incredible opportunity: the Juilliard Annual Alumni Benefit. This was it. This was their chance to test their flavors, see if demand was really there, and get their name out there for the first time.

Alisha and Margaret are looking at opening up their own storefront for Not Your Average Cotton in New York City. They’re using a service called “PopShop” to find short-term pop-up opportunities while they look for investors. Despite the several equipment upgrades, event and regulatory fees, and all those all-natural ingredients, Not Your Average Cotton is profitable and debt-free. Let’s not sugarcoat it: starting a modern-day food product that plays on nostalgia is hardly taking candy from a baby, but the sweet reward is worth it.


  • Not Your Average Cotton: Take a bite out of Alisha and Margaret's all-natural cotton candy—learn more over on their website!


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

Yours in the revolution,


Download Episodes By Months:

Season 6 (2022): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |

Season 5 (2021): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |

Season 4 (2020): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |

Season 3 (2019): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |

Season 2 (2018): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |

Season 1 (2017): JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC |



Earn 50,000 travel rewards points (enough for 2 round-trip plane tickets or $625 in travel credit). You'll also earn 2x points on all travel and dining spend, with zero foreign transaction fees.

I use this card every day all over the world! ✈️

Learn More


Want to build any kind of website for your hustle? If so, you'll need somewhere to host it! This is the reliable company I've used for my past 5 websites. It's cheap, flexible, and you can get support 24 hours a day.

Get your own hosting plan for just $2.49 a month!

Learn More

Quote of the Day
"Start something, even if you don’t feel ready. We learned so much from each of our different pop-ups that we wouldn’t have figured out without actually experiencing it."
—Alisha Vimawala #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

Try ShipStation for 60 Days FREE!

Today’s episode of Side Hustle School is brought to you by ShipStation, the #1 choice of online sellers. 📦

To get a 30-day trial AND an additional month free, click the microphone at the top of their page and enter the word HUSTLE.

Get it Here

Like the Show? Leave a Rating!

Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅

It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.

Here's How

Keep in Touch

There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!

To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau