Earning money in a space that you love and are passionate about is, for most people, fantastically liberating. Chances are you will already have a community around you to use as a sounding board for your plans, and who could perhaps become customers one day!
It’s something many of us have probably dreamt about or chatted over a few glasses of wine with friends. Unfortunately, for most of us, we get so caught up with the hustle bustle of the modern working world, that these dreams can easily be forgotten or pushed aside for another time.
Nobody’s denying it- trying to juggle a job, a social life, children & other family obligations is exhausting! So why should you take the brave leap and start your own side hustle, and what are the potential benefits?
Having a side-hustle can give you an outlet for your passion and in turn make it feel less like a job and something that you actually can look forward to working on.
Russian born & New Zealand bred, Oxana is a Certified Chartered Accountant and has been with Stopgap for the past 5 years. A dedicated Stopgapper who truly embodies our values of being ‘passionate, agile & daring’, Oxana took the leap of faith early 2018 and did exactly what so many of us have only dreamt of- started her own side-hustle!
Her business, Brand Candy, is a custom rock candy producer whose mission is to “make the world a sweeter place”. In just over 2 months, Oxana has managed to secure some major clients including Westpac and Century21. Her team is highly creative and very passionate about delivering a great, delicious product.
We sat down with Oxana to see how the experience of starting her own business has been, any challenges she’s faced along the way and what the most rewarding parts of the experience so far have been.
Below you can read our interview with Oxana. Who knows, her story might even spark a bit of inspiration inside of you to go out and start your own business!
What motivated you to start your business?
'This must be coming from my family. My parents had several successful businesses and from a young age I was involved. My first business venture was in primary school when I was selling chewing gum to the students, as well as neighbours and friends. I was always on a look out for a good business opportunity but this time I had the inner sensation that this is the one that excites me, this is the one for me! Personalisation increases customer engagements - that's a fact! I'm offering a new dimension to your brand - Taste! Why have a 3D logo if you can have a 4D brand! Regardless of your brand colours, you can choose any flavours. You can be a passionfruit recruiter, a spearmint legal firm, or a tropical fruit travel agency - its up to you!'
You've had some great success so far with your online marketing campaigns. Learning about digital marketing has surely been a big learning curve for you coming from a financial background. Have you enjoyed the experience?
'It's been great fun! I had no idea what I was doing when it came to setting up social media accounts, attracting new followers, and so on. At the beginning I was very much reliant on outsourcing this function to someone else and learn from them. Best thing for me was to talk to people, listen and learn from them.'
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
'The nature of my business is to design my client's brand/logo candy, come up with suitable personalised packaging and labelling, and get it together all ready for the client in time for the event. So the product has to look perfect, on brand and on time. My biggest challenge so far has been to find a reliable delivery service that doesn't delay or loose my client's order items. I can honestly say that I spent hours on the phone to a local postal service looking for my parcels. But I think we found a good one now!'
So far in your experience as a business owner, what has been the most rewarding part of the journey?
'Client's feedback is by far the best reward! Hearing that your candy is delicious and that their customers were impressed and that they want more of my candy, makes it all worth it!'
What's next for Brand Candy? Any plans to build the brand & start selling outside of Australia?
'Once I've established solid grounds in my current market, my next wish is to give my clients sugar free and organic options for their branded candy! There is some interest from New Zealand companies so that's very exciting! Have been living in New Zealand for almost a decade, makes me want to look after New Zealand too! Why not? Let's make their brand delicious too!'
Interested in ordering some of Oxana's Brand Candy for your business? Be sure to check out her website here, or you can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let her know you heard about Brand Candy via our blog and she just may offer you a 'Stopgap special'!