One MUM has revealed how she made £39million after the hustle of her fashion sense took off.
Bianca Gates, 44, from California, was inspired to start a side business when she couldn’t find the right shoes to wear when receiving guests at her home.
Now, fans of her brand of Birdies sandals include Meghan Markle, who wore them on a trip with Prince Harry to New Zealand.
While working full-time for Facebook in 2015, she started making slippers in her spare time with friend Marisa Sharkey and Birdies shoes were born.
She told MSNBC: “I don’t want to continue walking barefoot or wearing pajamas or socks.”
The mother’s sandals had taken off and she quickly noticed that fans were wearing them everywhere they went, not just at home.
“That was a problem for us in the early days, because the shoes would break down pretty quickly because the rubber soles were so thin and designed to be worn at home,” says Bianca.
She and Marisa decided to expand the Birdies product line to include flats, skates, and running shoes.
Their gamble paid off, and two years after Bianca started the hustle, she quit her job at Facebook to pursue it as a full-time business.
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The couple invested £79,000 ($100,000) in production costs, leaving nothing for advertising – so they held pop-up sales around their local neighborhood.
“We’re going to stand there and set up our little table and display them,” says Bianca. And some days, it’s a huge hit.
“Other days, nobody comes by and talks to us, but that never disappoints us.”
When the mother spotted a celebrity in the restaurant, she seized the opportunity to advertise Birdies footwear,
She said: “I waited for her outside the toilet and pretended to run into her.
“I said, don’t leave, I have your size in the trunk. I took the shoe out and gave it to her, and she pretty much wore us.”
The business has now turned £7.9 million ($10 million) in venture funding into £39.6 million ($50 million) in revenue.
“I think it’s that passion that drives me forward and keeps me working tirelessly because I love it,” says Bianca.
It comes after a man reveals how he turned his after-hours hustle into a £2.1m business with the backing of a big celebrity.