How Stephanie Grace Built a $3K/Month Online Jewelry Side Hustle?

November 21, 2023 , min read


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Starting an online side hustle is an excellent way to flex your entrepreneurial muscles and bring in some extra income. If successful, it can become your full-time gig, marrying your hobbies and livelihood.

As Mark Twain put it:

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

However, ideologies like Twain’s romanticize side hustles and passion projects as a quick way to financial freedom. The reality is a lot more complicated, demanding not just a bright idea but relentless execution, strategy, and sometimes a little bit of luck. 

Stephanie Hyams, a digital marketing manager and founder of an online jewelry brand, knows this all too well. 

stephaine side hustle

Stephanie Wearing Stephanie Grace Jewelry

Stephanie managed to build a $3,000/month online business while maintaining her day job. This article describes how she was able to start her company from scratch, meet her goals, and learn some big lessons along the way. 

Digital Marketing To Digital Gold

Stephanie holds a full-time job as a digital marketing manager for Barclays, a leading commercial and retail bank. Prior to Barclays, Stephanie had a 5-year stint at eBay where she managed the UK fashion and beauty department’s digital marketing. 

It was always Stephanie’s dream to have her own jewelry brand. While at eBay, Stephanie realized there was no good time to start an online business when she had constant work commitments and deadlines. 

Stephanie took the plunge. She used her digital marketing experience and her great eye for design to start up her company Stephanie Grace (SG), a sustainable gold jewelry company providing affordable luxury. 

Stephanie Grace jewelry

Stephanie Grace jewelry 

The company opened in January 2020 with Covid-19 lockdowns hitting the globe a couple of months later. Stephanie seized this opportunity. 

She was able to spend all of her free time working on SG because she couldn’t go out and had nothing to do (other than binging on Netflix). The entire population was bored at home shopping online with the money saved from not going out. The combination of Stephanie’s hard work with Covid lockdowns resulted in instant sales and fast growth.  

Filling A Market Gap

The jewelry market is dominated by either exorbitantly expensive luxury pieces or affordable but short-lived costume varieties. Stephanie identified this significant gap and observed that consumers had to settle for gold-plated options that lost quality over time or silver jewelry that lacked the resilience of higher-end materials. 

Her brand vision was clear; to offer high-quality solid gold jewelry that doesn't break the bank and defies the unsustainable nature of the wider fashion industry. 

She also advocates for jewelry that maintains its quality forever, a nod to both economic and environmental sustainability. SG crafts pieces from durable materials such as 14-karat recycled gold and lab-created diamonds, which offer the same quality as their mined counterparts but with a lesser environmental footprint.

Managing A Job And Side Hustle

Having a full-time job and side hustle demands a blend of passion, discipline, and sacrifice.  Since the early days of SG, Stephanie has dedicated evenings and weekends to nurturing her business.

The raw reality of managing both a career and a side hustle is that something has to give. She has to forego social events in order to manage a pop-up shop, fulfill online orders, or engage with her supplier. 

Stephanie Grace Pop-Up Shop Collaboration,_Kings Road, London

Stephanie Grace Pop-Up Shop Collaboration, Kings Road, London

Stephanie’s narrative sheds light on the glamorized world of side hustles. It's not just about business acumen and strategy. A successful side business is the result of continually grinding after the day job instead of relaxing at home or going out with friends.  


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Design Upskilling And Process

When SG was just an idea, Stephanie enrolled in a jewelry design course at the prestigious London art school Central Saint Martins while working at eBay.

The course along with CAD skills learned in high school provided her with the technical expertise needed to bring her business idea to life. This underscores the importance of continual learning in running a successful side hustle.

Jewelry design process

Jewelry design process

Stephanie takes inspiration for her jewelry design from everywhere. She’ll take photos of jewelry at art fairs or spot something worn by people on the tube (the London metro). She finds elements that she can reinterpret and incorporate into her designs. 

Stephanie finding inspiration while traveling

Stephanie finding inspiration while traveling

Her design process also considers layering and stacking several pieces of jewelry together that would look great and be comfortable for the wearer. 

Organic Growth Strategies

With the time constraints of a full-time job and a limited marketing budget, Stephanie can’t afford to invest in extensive campaigns. Instead, she focuses on the organic growth of her brand.

Her approach was multifaceted. In her pop-up shops, she created intimate, immersive experiences that not only showcased her jewelry but also allowed her to interact personally with her customers. 

Stephanie Grace Pop-Up Shop Collection, Kings Road, London

Stephanie Grace Pop-Up Shop Collaboration, Kings Road, London

Stephanie collaborated with influencers whose ethos and aesthetics aligned with SG. These partnerships extended her brand’s visibility and credibility without the steep costs of traditional marketing.

Influencer Mimi Ikonn Wearing Stephanie Grace Jewelry On Her Instagram

Influencer Mimi Ikonn Wearing Stephanie Grace Jewelry On Her Instagram

Stephanie also used CRM systems, turning data into personalized shopping experiences for her customers. By offering tailored discounts and curated emails, she could engage her existing customer base and incentivize repeat business.

Tools and Resources 

Stephanie leans on data from Shopify Analytics, which offers a granular view of sales patterns, customer behavior, and product performance. The data allows her to make informed decisions and tweak her strategy in real time to align with consumer trends.

Shopify Analytics For Stephanie Grace

Shopify Analytics For Stephanie Grace

Google Analytics provides a broader picture of website traffic and engagement metrics. With these insights, Stephanie refines her online presence, enhancing user experience to boost conversions and retain customers.

The lifeblood of her direct marketing efforts is her email subscriber list. She sends out personalized content, updates, and exclusive offers, which encourages repeat purchases and brand loyalty. 

Biggest Challenges

The journey of establishing SG has taught Stephanie Grace that the conception of a brand is only the beginning and the real challenge is the execution. 

A significant hurdle she encountered was the procurement of materials and the selection of a reliable manufacturer. The intrinsic value of the gold in her jewelry makes business planning more difficult for two reasons. 

Mold for jewelry

Mold for jewelry

Casting equipment to melt the gold

Casting equipment to melt the gold

The finished product before being split into individual pieces

The finished product before being split into individual pieces

Firstly, there is a high minimum size order for gold. Stephanie needs to continuously have enough cash flow in order to meet the requirements, which can be a challenge for a start-up. 

Additionally, gold increases in value and cost when there is political and economic uncertainty. With high inflation, regional wars, and political unrest globally, a gold jewelry business has continually increasing costs. The SG affordable brand message is challenged in uncertain times like these. 

Stephanie’s practical mantra in the face of these obstacles is to make mistakes fast and learn fast. This mindset underscores the importance of agility upon encountering inevitable setbacks. She ensures that each challenge is a lesson rather than a stumbling block. 

Learning from Mistakes

Stephanie encountered a pivotal learning curve that many overlook. She had a partnership in the early stages of SG that wasn’t aligned with her vision and work ethic. 

Stephanie emphasizes the fundamental importance of trust in a business relationship. She advises that if you don't trust the person 110%, don’t go into business with them. This was an invaluable lesson that trust and mutual respect are the cornerstones of any successful business partnership.

Financials: Investment and Revenue

In the early stages of SG, capital was allocated to acquiring stock, website design, packaging, accounting, and email software. Total start-up costs amounted to approximately $25,000. 

Stephanie Grace packaging

Stephanie Grace packaging

SG has relatively low maintenance costs of $100/month covering tech requirements, such as website hosting, Shopify, email, and accounting software. Stephanie has to renew the photography and add new jewelry lines amounting to $1000 every four to six months so that the brand stays current. Each restock can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the order requirements and projected demand. 

Stephanie working at_a photo shoot with_models

Stephanie working at a photo shoot with models

Models wearing Stephanie Grace jewelry

Models wearing Stephanie Grace jewelry

These calculated expenses are balanced against the variable revenue stream, with the business capable of achieving a monthly turnover as high as $3,500 during peak seasons.  Stephanie enjoys a stable income from her well-paid digital marketing role at Barclays as well as a decent turnover from SG. 

Milestones and Accomplishments

Stephanie counts her two successful pop-up shops in the UK's largest shopping malls as significant accomplishments for the SG brand. These events were particularly validating for her, proving that her brand has the potential for even greater success if she ever decided to make SG her sole occupation. 

Verdict: Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Stephanie’s parting advice for new entrepreneurs is crystal clear. Don’t be a perfectionist. Build strong relationships, ask for help when you need it, and remember, you get out what you put in.

Starting a side hustle like Stephanie Grace has been a mammoth task that has required a solid marketing strategy and pure elbow grease. SG's journey serves as a textbook example of how to do it right. With passion, planning, and a lot of hard work, anyone can turn their side hustle into a decent income stream on top of a full-time job. 

stephanie grace online jewelry side hustle

About the author 

Sam Rexford

Hey! I'm Sam Rexford, owner at ChillReptile.com. I'm a 9-5 escape artist, dad, and entrepreneur. I write about escaping legacy systems with online businesses, software, emerging technology, cryptocurrencies, investing, and a ton more. You can learn more about our mission here.

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