How to smash the side hustle

When long-term furlough loomed, Jo Hunter dreamt up a business and turned her side hustle into a successful small biz!

Please introduce yourself...
Ey up! I'm Jo Hunter, founder of Northern Slang clothing website www.nowt2wear.couk

What's your main job?
I work as cabin crew for a UK airline and I absolutely LOVE it. Unfortunately since Covid hit and flights stopped I've been furloughed for well over a year. My job meant I was in a different country every week so being confined to four walls wasn't the easiest adjustment, but starting the business has definitely kept me occupied.  

How did you come up with the idea for Nowt2Wear?
As a proud northerner I love the slang! I started with the EY UP T-Shirt. I liked the idea that with everyone wearing masks you had a friendly greeting on your top and it went from there. I wanted to make simple, comfy tops you could put on when you're staring blankly at your wardrobe thinking I've got "Nowt2wear".

Did you have any prior experience in starting a business or creating a website before starting Nowt2Wear?

I had zero experience starting a business or building a website. I'm one of those people who always has ideas but never goes through with them usually.  

I started off with a couple of T-Shirt designs and uploaded them to Etsy to see if there was any interest. The upfront costs were very low so it was ideal as I had no money to put into it. I'm no graphic designer so the Canva app was so helpful for doing my branding and Instagram posts.

The Etsy site started getting sales so I decided to set up my own website using Shopify. It was really simple to set up, there are lots of tutorials that take you through step by step. It's not perfect but I never thought I'd be able to build a working website from scratch myself. It's amazing what you can teach yourself online these days!

What is the most challenging aspect of running a 'side hustle' business?
It's quite hard to switch off and you can find yourself working on it from when you wake up until you go to sleep. You need to be quite strict and give yourself some time off from it but it's tricky because ideas will come to you at all hours.

I've also found it hard not to take things personally, if I got a return for any reason I would be gutted but it's just an inevitable part of any business.

Founder Jo Hunter

What are you most proud of so far at Nowt2Wear?
I think when I saw them on TV, that was amazing! They've appeared on Gogglebox, Steph's Packed Lunch and Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr. It's mad to think I started it from my sofa with my Mum as my first customer and it's recently hit 3,000 sales, I still can't believe it.

Will you carry the business on when you go back to your 'day job'?
I'd love to, the good thing about it is I can do it all from my laptop so fingers crossed one day soon when I get back to the skies I can take Nowt2wear along with me.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to start their own side hustle?
Just get started, now, this minute! Don't overthink it too much or you can talk yourself out of it. Don't wait for it to be perfect to start either.

Get an Instagram (or some kind of social media) going. Make sure it's something you're passionate about. I always assumed to start your own business you needed to write a big fancy business plan but just starting it was the best thing for me.

Lastly, what's your favourite northern slang?
I like Daft Apeth, my grandparents said it all the time so it reminds me of them.

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