[VIDEO] My Pandemic Side Hustle: Panel Discussion Replay

What happens when a candle maker, a cafe owner, a podcaster and an embroiderer all walk into a Zoom call? This isn’t the start of a corny joke, but rather the start of an unmissable discussion between four inspiring women who each started their own business or major project…during the pandemic.

In a virtual panel discussion held on May 4, 2021 — moderated by the effervescent Meggie Palmer, founder of PepTalkHer — we heard four unique origin stories, complete with some behind-the-scenes guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on below for highlights of the conversation, and scroll down to watch the replay video.

A recap of the conversation

Tarley Jordan, creator of Neon Stitch Club where the ancient art of embroidery clashes unapologetically with vibrant neon, started her side-hustle with a few hundred dollars and a close-knit circle of family and friends as early clients. She’s since recouped her seed capital and is building a community space for lovers of bright fibre arts through new commissions and organic partnerships. Tarley’s key learning has been her appreciation for the time it takes to promote the business online: “It’s one thing to be a maker, but it’s another to be an online content creator as well,” she said.

Amelia Chapelow is an award-winning audio producer who started her first independent podcast project—Linda Marigliano’s Tough Love—at the beginning of this year. For her, this has been a passion project that’s been extremely rewarding, despite not being monetised yet. Amelia has been working quickly to get the content out fast, and has been developing and perfecting as she goes, working with and tapping into her network of professionals: “To have a project where you can see progress really creates a sense of purpose,” she said.

Shweta Khare left her corporate life behind to launch her dream cafe, gertrude, on the Upper West Side, in August 2020. Initially, Shweta wasn’t sure if she’d made the right decision. But she’s since had no regrets since and has been blown away by her fellow small businesses in the neighbourhood who she’s partnered with to creatively tap into a growing customer base. It’s been a hard slog for the young mum, who’s relied on her support network and fantastic team: “I’ve come to accept that there isn’t going to be a lot of balance in my life for a period of time,” she said.

Jennifer Azzopardi arrived in New York at the beginning of 2020 at quite possibly the worst time to be looking for work in a decade. Visa-less, she took what she learned during an online candle making class and launched Scent + Sprout, an all-natural soy candle business. Jennifer encouraged other would-be business owners to set aside their fears and not let perfect get in the way of launching. She also suggested factoring in your own labor to any pricing model (don’t sell yourselves short ladies!) If she could have her time again, she would be more present on social media earlier: “People want to see the face behind the product, and it took me a while to bring myself into the marketing,” she said.

Watch the replay right here:

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Author: Julia O'Brien

Julia is originally from a small town in Victoria and has lived in New York since 2014. She spends her free time exploring the city and other parts of the States, with a razor sharp focus on trying food, wine and cocktails. And some coffee too.

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