Side-hustler Emma onto a good thing
Thursday, 5th March, 2020
By Annette Northey
Emma Fenton works full-time for the Outback Mobile Resource Unit, but has joined the ranks of many other young entrepreneurs and created her own ‘side-hustle’.
Side-hustles, anything you do to make money outside of your main job, are increasing in popularity in Australia, especially with the younger generation, and Broken Hill is no different.
Emma said she started making jewellery for herself initially.
“I make mostly earrings, usually polymer clay which is my go-to, but I also sometimes use fabric and resin.
“I found that was all the stuff I wanted to wear, and I don’t wear a lot of bracelets or necklaces, so earrings are my thing.
“There wasn’t a lot of stuff available that I liked in Broken Hill, so I started making it myself,” she said.
Even though she has been making jewellery for quite a while, Emma has only recently turned her love of creating into a way of making a little money.
“I think I’ve always been quite creative in that sense, and so it was like an outlet for both sides.
“I got a product at the end that I could keep and I could also be creative at the same time,” she said.
She decided to turn her hobby into a venture in September 2018.
“I can’t remember exactly when I first started making jewellery, but I used to use wire and beads, then progressively I found out about polymer clay.”
Working with polymer clay is time and labour intensive, so you would think working full-time, which includes travelling long distances and staying away from home for days on end, sometimes a week, would prevent you from extending yourself to this degree.
Not always so.
You see, Emma loves to create.
“I do it when I can, essentially. If I can take it with me I will. I’ll pack up all my clay and my tools and take it with me.
“Usually we are out five nights a week, so if there is an oven I’ll do the (polymer) baking as well. We (Emma and her colleagues) have just spent the week in Tibooburra and I took everything up with me.
“We have a service up there too, and a little house, so I had that facility available to me,” she said.
Her start-up - ‘Holy Fox’ - is now chugging along.
“Even if I’m not in town I can take earrings with me and I’m still able to take photos while I’m out and post them in real time. It’s been fantastic having that social media aspect.
“And then there’s word of mouth. Word of mouth is huge.
“To have people come and track me down, specifically, at the markets is really flattering; and to think something that you produced, people love it.
“It’s really taken off. I mainly just do market days when I can. With my job I travel five days per week, so I’m usually out of town more often than not.”
Asked what she would say to someone contemplating getting a side-hustle going, Emma said go for it.
“Do it. Jump in and have a go. Because if you’re thinking of doing it and you just sit there and think, ‘Oh, what if I do this but it doesn’t work?’ Well, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
“You’ve also got to be willing to put that bit of effort in,” she said.
Emma said, overall the whole experience has been really great.
“I think when you first get into it you wonder if anyone is going to like it, or purchase anything.
“But then when you find that people do like it, it’s like a little push, to push yourself harder.
“Like I said, I’m happy that people like what I do, and I like making.
“I’m in the middle of making a website, but people can just come and find me at the Community Markets every month.”