Inspiring entrepreneurs turn hobbies into small lockdown businesses

By Chelsea Centkowski

With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting lives and work schedules, many individuals have turned to starting small side businesses in order to earn a bit of extra cash during lockdown, at a time where most people can’t go to work.

For some, their business venture began as a hobby, but when the virus hit, it became a primary source of income.

Elisha Shipley, 22, owns Bakes By Elisha, a bakery business based in Derby through which she sells homemade cakes, brownies and other baked goods.

Her inspiration for starting her business came from a love of baking she has had since a young age.

“During the first lockdown I started baking a lot more and giving them to my neighbours. They all loved them and often said how I should set up a business,” she said.

After pondering on the idea for a while, she decided to start her business, adding that she was very happy that she did.

During this trying time and with most people not being able to physically go to work, it is important to keep busy and for many, their businesses help to keep their minds occupied.

Chloe Warren, 20, co-owner of Grace & Chloe Designs, makes and sells quirky pieces of jewellery and has personally found that the process of making her pieces is beneficial to her mental health.

“Life can become very dull when you’re not going anywhere or doing anything,” she said.

She said it is exciting to receive orders and positive feedback, adding: “With our focus on the business we’re always working hard on something.”

She emphasised how these positive factors and increasing productivity help build up the business, while also being beneficial for their owner’s personal mental wellbeing.

Many business owners today use social media platforms and online sites, such as Etsy, to promote and sell their products.

Tierney Dhillon, 20, from Leicester, is the owner of Love, Luna jewellery, a site where she makes and sells custom jewellery and her own handmade pieces.

“I’ve had more success through Instagram,” she said, when asked about the efficiency of selling items online. “Virtually all of my sales are through there.”

Tierney stressed how helpful her social media platforms have been in getting her business off the ground, as is the case for many small business owners.

From jewellery to artwork, beauty products to baked goods, many small business owners have harnessed their creative skills to sell their personal, handmade products, with the process sometimes taking hours to complete.

Charlotte Shearwood, 35, from Scunthorpe, owns Eco Natural Beauty, a business which specialises in homemade, eco-friendly, plastic-free beauty products.

Ranging from bath bombs to soap, facemasks to haircare, each product and order takes a specific amount of time, with her all day moisturiser being the most time consuming.

“From start to finish, the product takes five hours to make and yields eight 80ml pots,” adding that the smaller products take a lot less time to create and usually take an hour per batch.

Many small businesses are struggling during this pandemic, however, despite the difficulties, many of the owners absolutely love what they do and what they create and take a lot of pride in their creations.

The businesses above can be found on their respective social media pages: @bakes_by_elisha, @itsgraceandchloe, @loveluna_jewellery and @eco_naturalbeauty.

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