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The year of the side hustle

Brett Riley-Tomlinson


Woman checking orders for her home project

If a year ago, somebody had said to you, ‘I’ll give you three months off work and pay you 80% of your monthly salary,’ you would have said, ‘Great! That’s amazing!’

That’s essentially what happened in April this year.

In reality, however, we all probably spent a week relaxing, maybe doing a bit of DIY; some of us then began to create chores to keep us busy. I even overheard a conversation where a woman had moved everything from under her stairs so that she could paint the little cubbyhole - just because it would give her two days with something to do.

The fact is, we’ve probably never in our lives had this much time to burn, and many people have used the lockdown period to their advantage as a result.

We have all heard success stories of people becoming multi-millionaires when they pivoted their already-multi-million-pound-businesses towards supplying items in demand, such as anti-bacterial hand gel, face masks, or any other equipment necessary during a pandemic. Rather than featuring these ‘curated’ successes, we instead wanted to learn about the growth of businesses that didn’t already have this kind of infrastructure, or hear from people who chose to launch their own business amid a global pandemic.

Quinlan Couture Bridal

Amber-Jane is a bridal designer whose industry was hit hard by the coronavirus, which resulted in no work and, therefore, no income. But instead of painting her under-the-stairs cubby-hole, Amber-Jane decided to do something that she had always wanted to do but which she’d never had the time for, which was creating her own bridal collection. Amber-Jane plans to launch her own fashion show once we return to some sense of normalcy and things open back up; in the meantime, she’s keen to collaborate with others in her industry. If you’re interested, get in touch with her here

Hall Good Books

Diane Hall, editor of our ITK magazine, is also a recognised book publisher/editor. During the last year she has been inundated with enquiries from aspiring authors who have always wanted to write a book but who had previously been unable to find the time to do so; these same authors pulled their finger out during lockdown, knuckled down with their writing, and have subsequently knocked out a manuscript. For examples of the books she’s published, click here.

Pam Goodison Glass Artist

Pam Goodison, our Chief Visibility Officer, also owns a glass company, where she typically teaches people how to make their own glass craft. Following the lockdown, Pam turned to making more of her own items and designing glass kits. She has had the best year to date and is now working every evening and weekend to facilitate her Christmas orders. So, if you’d like to give a unique piece of beautiful glass work to loved ones as Christmas presents, you’d better get in touch with her quickly, before she’s completely booked up. Take a look at some of the work she’s created.


Paul Francis, our very own web designer, runs a miniature commission painting service and runs his own tabletop gaming youtube channel, which has over 1400 subscribers. This year has seen a surge in commissioned work, as people expand their armies and collections due to the extra expendable cash they have from not having to travel to work. He uses a variety of painting techniques to achieve an efficient result and the variety tabletop gaming has means he never really does the same project twice.

Lizzie's Beauty

Liz Cromwell, our Account Manager, has leveraged her spare time to work on her beauty business. Due to lockdown, she’s not been able to carry out in-person beauty treatments, so instead, she created her own stick-on nail range. She posts her creations, i.e. a set of pre-designed/painted nails, to her clients’ doors, which they then simply stick over their own nails. Liz’s nail sets are the perfect treat for the women in your life, or even as a way to treat yourself without having to leave the house. 

As a company, during lockdown, we leveraged our time to explore new opportunities. From this, ITK magazine was born.

With so many stories of doom and gloom out there, it’s amazing to see people I know use lockdown time to do the things they’ve always wanted to, but which they never had the opportunity to act upon.

How have you been leveraging your time this year? You don’t need to have started your own business; it’s amazing to hear the different things people have been up to. For example, one of my friends has spent the year essentially rebuilding his house. He’s happy to be back on furlough to enjoy the fruits of his hard labour!

I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

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