I’ve been thinking a lot more about side hustles and how it pertains to personal finances over the last few weeks.
While I don’t plan on turning Invested Wallet into a side hustle blog, I find there is so much value in side hustling.
For me, it added more money to my pockets, helped pay down debts, and taught me about business and entrepreneurship.
So, I’d like to start a recurring series on the blog called “Side Hustle Corner,” where I’ll interview others who have a side hustle. The questions will be relatively similar, but will vary pending the side hustle.
I’d like to have variation, but doesn’t matter what your side hustle is.
I think it’s cool to learn about others side hustles, what people created, why, and give everyone a bit of exposure as well.
If you are interested in being featured in side hustle corner, feel free to hit up my email: todd [at] investedwallet [dot] com.
On Side Hustle Corner #1, I have my fellow co-worker, Chris Reese and is e-commerce side hustle called Mose Martin, Independent Luxury Eyewear. You can follow the brand over on Instagram at mose_martin.
Below is my interview with him.
First, tell us a bit about yourself a bit
31 years young. Married. Father of 2. Identical twin. Lover of Film, Video Games, Fashion, Disneyland, Music and Tech. Nostalgia enthusiast.
I speak Spanish fluently. Am a connoisseur of ice cream. And would be the 6th member of the Simpsons family if I had the chance.
What is your side hustle? And why did you choose this one?
I’ve had a few side hustles over the years to varying degrees of success, but since early 2016, I’ve been entirely focused on designing eyewear that speaks to my personal design taste and interest, under the brand label ‘Mose Martin’ (named after my grandfather.)
When I was about 8 years old, my good friend got a prescription for glasses. I remember the first day he walked into school wearing his new glasses, it seemed like the entire student body wanted to shake his hand. He was THE MAN.
He literally had throngs of people following him down the hall. And from that point, I realized that eyewear alone possess the ability to change the way someone looks, while also enhancing their cool factor by 100x.
I also love the rich history of eyewear and its ties back to music, Hollywood and fashion. All things that I love to a molecular degree.
So for me – eyewear is the perfect amalgamation of my passions. It just makes sense to me. There’s nothing cooler.
There are a lot of people in the e-commerce and in the eyewear space, what are your plans to distinguish yourself amongst the rest?
My focus from the start has been pretty narrow – I want to design and create eyewear that I myself would love to wear, or that I would love to see my wife wear. My hope is that my particular taste in design speaks to others as well, but from a design philosophy this has been the simple focus.
In my world, good design also means good quality. I’m not a fan of ‘cheap’ and appreciate durability and beauty in craftsmanship. With that in mind, my goal has been to manufacture my eyewear using the very best materials the optical world has to offer; which has lead me to establishing relationships with artisans all over the world (Italy, Japan, Germany etc.) to source the different pieces that go into Mose Martin frames.
Currently, all Mose Martin frames are made to the same spec and quality as other brands that retail for $400+.
However, because we have a direct to consumer model, I have found a number of ways to reduce costs to a fair price point – Mose Martin frames start at $135 and range up to $150 currently and can stand toe to toe with some of the leading designer brands in the world in terms of quality.
I back this confidence up with a lifetime warranty on all our frames.
Why did you want to start a side hustle? (Creating your own business, increasing your income, potential to flip, passive income, combo of things, etc)
Creative fulfillment. At the end of the day, if I can create a pair of frames that a customer falls in love with, and becomes brand loyal too – I will have reached creative Nirvana.
My goal is to continue working in tech (Shout out to EveryoneSocial!) for the next few years, successfully exit some things I am doing there and pursue Mose Martin full time afterwards. I would love nothing more than to build this brand into something I can hand off to my children one day.
What has been the most challenging part to starting your side hustle?
Learning how to design eyewear from scratch, with less than ideal tools was pretty challenging. However, it was much *more* challenging to find factories that would work with such a small brand like us in the beginning, that would allow us to order in small, handmade batches, and that hit all the marks on the quality side.
I burned through 5 different factories, tens of thousands of dollars and 2 years worth of work until I finally got in with the right one that met the strict quality standards I had set. I lost so much time during this process that it almost burned me out completely.
I took a 1 month break in 2018 to step back and analyze why I was doing this and if I really was passionate enough to see it through. After a good chat with the mirror, my wife, and few other advisors that I trust, I picked myself back up and went full steam ahead.
What I didn’t want to accept at first, is that for someone like myself – an industry outsider with 0 ties to anyone in the optical world – the only way I was going to get anywhere was through trial and error. And that it would take time and patience. Once I came to terms with that, I dug in deep and never looked back.
What is your ultimate goals with your side hustle? How do you plan to reach those goals?
The ultimate goal? To become a globally worn and beloved eyewear brand that people connect with because we have something to say and we communicate that through our designs and the brand itself.
I have personal numbers that I want to reach from a business perspective to make sure things grow and scale efficiently so that we can stay in business, but to me that is the less interesting goal.
If someone in London puts on a pair of Mose Martin frames and smiles ear to ear – and I somehow knew about it – that would mean everything to me.
For those looking to create and run a side hustle similar to yours, what advice would you give them?
Start now, don’t procrastinate.
Understand that it will be hard, there will be moments of frustration and probably unhealthy levels of self-doubt; but if you can wade through that you will realize that you can accomplish anything you want.
Also, be patient with yourself, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Anything else you want to add?
If anyone wants to hit me up and talk eyewear, size, fit, quality, Disneyland, video games, film, music (or anything in-between) – shoot me an email! Let’s become virtual penpals: email@example.com or connect on Instagram!
Make sure if you are looking to support a side hustler and get a sweet pair of shades, to check out Mose Martin.