Starting A Creative Side Hustle

Starting A Creative Side Hustle

Tom Harrison, a second-year Marketing student at the University of Liverpool, turned his passion for fashion, street wear and trainers into a thriving business. We asked him about what inspired him to start, the skills he's gained and his long term plans. 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm a big Liverpool FC fan and love streetwear and trainers after being inspired by Virgil Abloh and Kanye West. I've recently launched my 'side hustle', selling trainers on social media. 

I studied for a Business National Extended Diploma level 3 which is where my interest in marketing began. The freedom of doing coursework in my own time was a positive change compared to exams. My career goal is to land a graduate job in Digital Marketing or Consulting whilst building my creative side hustle selling trainers on social media.

I first came across Dan (Gradvance) and Sophie (Pretty Little Marketer) during their Employability and Careers Workshop delivered at the University of Liverpool. I followed them on Instagram to keep up to date with their content – this helped develop skills and gave me insight into two people who have produced their own opportunities through entrepreneurship.  I learned the importance of taking a risk, working towards something new and how this would improve my employability and personal marketing skills.

What inspired you to start your side hustle?

I’ve always thought that no one makes a difference being like everyone else. During my first year and the hybrid environment, it was challenging for students to gain the usual university experiences. Dan and Sophie’s presentation inspired me to go for it whilst I had the freedom.

First it was finding trainers. I knew I had a passion for it as I had been following social media influencers on trainers for years. I found a pair of Adidas Yeezy 350 releasing on Adidas and bought them with money saved up from a part-time job. With my first asset in hand, I set up my Instagram and got started working on a platform following blogs influencers and meme pages related to the industry.

What skills have you gained from growing your side hustle?

My skills have been enhanced through my side hustle. I’ve made logos, do regular promotional posts and providing marketing and admin support for discord groups run with 2.5K members {Prime Backdoor, Bricks and EP}. I’ve learnt to build a strong network of regular clients, using suppliers to help me source trainers within days. It’s been extremely beneficial to put methods learnt at University, such as being digitally confident, along with daily negotiation skills and networking within a business.

What are your 2022 plans with the business and long-term career goals?

I want to re-invest as much capital and time into it as possible into my business whilst maintaining attention and grades at university. I started this page a year ago and have scaled it up to more than I could’ve imagined. I’ll be keeping this going after university.

My long-term career goal is to land a marketing job in an innovative organization such as Gym Shark or Unilever, using the experience and skills from  degree, part time work and side hustle. I want to keep working on the HYP ‘’Network’’ in my free time even out of passion with plans for much more than 1 shoe Instagram page! (Possibly using my previous eCommerce work towards a Shopify website).

What would you say to someone who wants to run a business but doesn’t know where to start?

For anyone who needs that push, definitely go for it especially whilst your young. I love the quote ‘’what if it turns out greater than you ever imagined?’’ Every successful business started from someone with an idea who took action. My business isn’t anywhere near where I want it to be however, its also in reflection been built to a point already where I don’t need a part-time job to pay for my nights out, petrol or insurance on a new car which is amazing! And that’s a level of gratification you can’t get often, it’s a measure of success and personal development which is always worth an attempt.


Follow Tom: on Instagram

@JDA_X_TREADZ on Tik Tok