Carley Simpson started out making her colourful clay earrings as a fun addition to her wardrobe. But several hundred compliments later (and a nudge from her partner) gave her the courage to turn her hobby into a flourishing little business.
When did you start your side hustle?
I launched CabU Design in July this year and officially launched the online store earlier this month! This is after about a 5 year history of making clay jewellery that was for my own use or as gifts for friends/family. Having my own business has been something I have always thought of but never imagined it would actually happen!
Why did you start it?
To be honest…. Clay earrings started taking over my whole house! I love making them and basically made a new pair for every outfit. It was one of those things where people would always comment on my creations and when I told them I made them I would often be met with ‘you should sell these!’ It wasn’t until my fiancé kicked me in to gear and encouraged me to start selling them. We had literally run out of storage space to hold all of the earrings I make!
How much time do you spend on it every week? And where do you fit this in?
Previously it was something I did on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Leading up to the launch of CabU Design I spent about 10 hours a week designing and creating for the launch. I received my first wholesale order last week, so this past weekend spent both days nonstop making earrings! I have about 50 pairs heading to my first stockist in Newcastle this week!
What’s your main source of income – how many hours do you spend doing that a week and why do you do that job?
I have a full time job working as an Executive Assistant for EY in Melbourne. I also study part time, completing a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) through Swinburne online. So with a busy work and study load I like to break away and clear my mind and I find that being creative helps!
What’s your favourite thing about your side hustle?
The actual creating part! I could sit for hours designing and creating mini pieces of clay art. I find it relaxing and a bit of an escape from everyday life.
What’s your favourite thing about your day job?
The people are wonderful but also the flexibility that I get at work. If I need to start a little later or finish earlier in order to get a parcel dropped to the Post Office etc they are more than supportive of it. That’s what allows me the balance I need to run my small business.
What’s the most challenging aspect about balancing the two?
Time! Juggling work, study and jewellery making PLUS maintain a social life can be exhausting! Getting enough time day to day to fit it all in is certainly challenging but I love each aspect of it!
How do you stay motivated to do both?
On the odd occasion I am not motivated and I just need the night off to Netflix and chill . I find feedback motivating overall, getting positive comments from buyers about their experience with my jewellery keeps me motivated to keep the business going. If I can keep balancing all aspects and do well with study, work and my side hustle then I find it rewarding enough to continue.
What’s your end goal? Do you want the side hustle to become your full time job or are you content to straddle the two?
It is certainly a dream of mine to be a full time crafter! Whilst I do enjoy the variety of my day to day work load, being able to focus myself creatively would be ideal, hopefully in the future!
Who is your inspiration when it comes to your side hustle?
I find inspiration for design from so many things – other artists, artwork, colours, gardens, buildings, ANYTHING! Someone who I have always admired and have watched grow their craft business over the years is Rachel Burke (@imakestagram). Her success as a strong female small business owner with unique, bright and fun creations, shows me that anything is possible if you are persistent. Rachel has certainly inspired me to explore my passion with craft and motivated me to pursue my own small business.
What’s one thing that would help you the most to create the working life you want?
Growing my brand to see it succeed in the market. Starting a business is such a big investment of time and funds so seeing it become successful and actually making an income on it would be ideal.
What’s the #1 thing you do for your well-being while you run your side business and a job?
It’s so important to take time out where needed, especially with such a busy schedule! I take my dog to the dog park and sit in the sun for a few hours playing with puppies! If I’m feeling run down or lacking enthusiasm I find this is a great way to lift the spirits again.