8 min 45 sec

Cocktail Lovers Earn Liquid Profits from Boozy Pins

An expat couple captures the spirit of their favorite drinks with punny cocktail pins.
Arts & Craft International Manufacturing Niche Ideas Product

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What It's About

Cocktail pins lead to intoxicating profits for two expats!

Business Model
Skills Required
Design & Resourcefulness
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Looking at starting an intoxicating side hustle of your own? Well, Brian says that you should study the market and find what people are passionate about. He also says that going super-niche is ok for this kind of side hustle, and we agree!

Fun Fact

When Brian and Gillian made their first sale, they celebrated with drinks, of course! They drank a negroni and an old fashioned, after their first two designs.

Notes from Chris

Episode 814
Five years ago, Brian Burgess decided that he was going to make his wife a Sazerac cocktail, no matter what it took. Although originally from the United States, the two had been living in Barcelona for the better part of a year. Several of the ingredients for the classic New Orleans cocktail, including absinthe and Peychaud's bitters, were thousands of miles away.

Brian was determined, though. He and Gillian had met in New Orleans during college, and her birthday was coming up. It felt special—so he had to find a way.

After some searching, he managed to scrounge up a bottle of absinthe, the bitters, and of course, the right brand of rye whiskey just in time. The two sat out on their tiny balcony overlooking the city, enjoying their drinks.

Brian says now that he’s not sure if that’s when his love of cocktails began, but if it wasn’t then, it was shortly thereafter.

Over the course of the next four years, cocktails became a meaningful part of their lives. The pair had thought of a couple of side hustles involving drinks in some way—from reselling antique barware to starting their own gin distillery. But then, in March of 2018, they had a new idea. One that would be a lot simpler and cheaper.

They were on a trip to Germany. While perusing the local shops, they found one selling enamel pins. This instantly reminded Brian of one of his old side hustles. Back when he was a graphic designer, he’d created and sold buttons for fun. The buttons ultimately didn’t work out—they weren’t very lucrative—but the pins were a similar concept and could be sold for a lot more.

If he could apply his old skills to this new hustle, it might become an intoxicating profit center. So when they got home, he began researching the pins to see how they were doing in the market. Brian found that they were a hot product and that many buyers were hardcore pin collectors. He saw pictures of bartenders with aprons covered in pins … and that’s when it hit him: he could make cocktail-themed pins.

Six months after stumbling on the idea, they were ready to launch. During those months they spent about $800 on startup costs, including a business license, a PO Box, the material for the pins, and shipping and packaging supplies.

By the time they started selling, they had a second pin and it was mid-October. Although they didn’t realize it at the time, this aligned perfectly with the upcoming holiday shopping season. By late December, they had nearly sold out of all 200 of their initial stock, and they needed to put another order in with their supplier.

Even in these early days, they’ve made at least $500 in profit each month, and they no longer have to put any of their personal funds into the business.

Although making a little extra cash is awesome for Brian, another big advantage of this hustle is that it coincides with some of his bigger goals. He’s still thinking about opening up a gin distillery for a few years. Thanks to Tipsy Per Tutti, he’s building valuable connections with bartenders and suppliers everywhere.

We can all drink to that!


  • Tipsy Per Tutti: Don't wait around for "last call"—get your pins over on Brian and Gillian's website now!


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

Yours in the revolution,


Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP

Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC



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Quote of the Day
"The production timeline is pretty quick. So, it's incredibly rewarding to have an idea, design it, have it manufactured, and be selling it in less than a month."
—Brian & Gillian Burgess #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau