Soloist stories

“How I built my online side hustle into a massive success in just 3 years”

- February 23, 2022 4 MIN READ
Cleanse & Co. founder, Hayley De Angelis

Melbourne-based entrepreneur and self-confessed crystal queen Hayley De Angelis is the brains behind eCommerce sensation, Cleanse & Co. Hayley took her business from side hustle to seven figures in three short years, so when she dropped into the Flying Solo podcast, editor and host Cec Busby was keen to pick her brain about the secrets behind her success.

From dark times comes a bright idea

Like many business owners, Hayley’s business success started with a passion. Whilst struggling with her mental health, Hayley turned to mindfulness and the healing properties of crystals to facilitate a positive mindset throughout her healing process.

“I hit rock bottom,” Hayley admits. “I started using crystals a lot in my life, sort of like comfort or a safety blanket as some people would call it. I would have them in my pocket, in my bag. And every time I looked at them or touched them, I just remembered that I’m okay, I’m safe. I found that helped me grow and start to heal.

“I think it’s really hard to get out of that dark place when your mindset is in one spot. Crystals helped me with that. I do still struggle with depression and anxiety,” Hayley says, “although it’s a lot easier to manage when you take steps of being mindful and using tools around you.”

Starting with nothing

Hayley realised that using crystals to promote mental healing was something that she could turn into a business – and not just for new age aficionados.

“You could go to a hippie shop, but it wasn’t modern; I found it wasn’t for everyone,” says Hayley. “I thought, I’m going to share this with everyone and make it an immaculate, minimal approach. So it suits everybody, not just one type of person.”

However, without capital for stock or a storefront, she had to think outside the box to get her business idea off the ground.

“I didn’t have the budget to start my own business at that point”, Hayley reveals.” I managed to save up around $1,000 for my website and packaging. Then I’d go to a local crystal store; I’d take a photo of the crystal that I liked [and] I’d put it on lay-by. I would list it online, and then once the crystal was sold, I would pay for the lay-by. Slowly from there, I started to increase. And that’s sort of how I grew my business with practically nothing.

“You think you need a lot of money, but I think if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, you can make it work.”

Listen to Hayley De Angelis on the Flying Solo podcast:

Scaling a side hustle into a successful seven-figure business

After gaining some healthy traction for her business amongst friends and family, Hayley decided to dip her toe into the social media influencer pool, with excellent success.

“I was doing a lot of organic marketing through Instagram. I decided to reach out to an influencer – I saw that she loved crystals [so] I asked whether I could drop off some crystals and products for her. She said yes, and posted for her audience. And then overnight, we got about 5,000 followers and about $20,000 worth of sales.

“She helped get our name out there; it was amazing. From there, we just grew, and crystals became quite popular.”

The next big challenge was scaling her business to meet the new demands of her success.

“I rallied my friends,” Hayley reveals, “and for the next few days, we were in my lounge room in Port Melbourne. The house was just a bomb site! It was orders everywhere.

“I was working full time and then coming home to pack orders late at night or early mornings. I was struggling to juggle the two, and I decided, you know, I’m gonna go all in. I’m going to quit my job and do something that lights me up – my passion is spreading awareness about the healing of crystals and mindful products.

“So we went from my lounge room to the garage, and then I got two or three workers – all family and friends. From there, we moved into a factory, and I remember looking at the factory and thinking, ‘this is way too big for us!’. But before we knew it, we were bursting at the seams. We now have two factories and a team of about 30 women – a big, beautiful team of strong women.

“I was really scared, but I had a lot of support around me, and it all paid off. We learned a lot, and we were able to put processes and procedures in place moving forward to navigate the business growth.”

Advice for other would-be business owners

The fast track to success has also meant a fast track to business knowledge for Hayley, so she has three top tips to share with others keen to turn their passion into a business.

1. Self-belief

“Believe in yourself. It’s really scary, but you have to believe in yourself. My dad said to me that if you are uncomfortable, you are growing. You don’t grow if you are always comfortable. So leap, believing yourself and the universe has your back.”

2. Get your socials right

“I think social media is a very powerful tool that you can use, you need to target the right people, and they need to gel with your brand and your vibe.

“I always try to help small businesses out on both my platforms. I think people with only 5,000 followers sometimes have more reach and more pull from their customers and their community because their followers trust them more.”

3. Leadership skills

“Learn how to manage a team – you’ve got to rely on your team, but also help them grow at the same time.”

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"