Too bad the poor generation Z. The youngest adults in the country (born between 1997 and 2012) had their financial parade well and truly pleased. Want an affordable home? Sorry guys, baby boomers picked them up in the 70s and 80s when they were earning just over three times their salary. Now that’s a minimum of seven. How about an impressive income, then? No, these have been siled by Gen X, who have earned more than anyone else during the pandemic (enjoying a perfect storm of peak income years and a housing boom).
With Gen Z parents mostly still alive and kicking (read: inheritance is a fuzzy prospect) and the cost of living crisis, they are beset on all sides with money worries. This was confirmed in a recent Deloitte survey, which found that nearly half of Gen Zers exist paycheck to paycheck, citing the cost of living as their biggest concern. With skyrocketing energy bills and recent inflation forecasts for next year of between 13 and 18%, what should poor young people in the UK do?
The answer is that Gen Z will deploy their secret weapon – a willingness to diversify and be flexible. Statistics show that this is the generation most willing to change jobs and make it a long-term employment modus operandi. Between jumps, meanwhile, nearly half (43% of Gen Z) are likely to have second jobs, and it’s these “side hustles” that mark them as a force to be reckoned with. We spoke to three young people in their twenties who have turned their passions into profits.
“I WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP MY VIDEO BRAND”
“Since launching in June I’ve made around £10,000 in sales”
Studying: International Development and Applied Economics at the University of Reading
Lateral stampede: Visual Book Founder
Turnover: £10,000 since launch in June
Aicha Ndayako, 21 years old
I’m one of those people who always take videos – I rarely take photos. My friends are starting to get married and so last year I asked myself what can I give them as a gift that doesn’t already exist?
So I created The Visual Book, a £129 linen bound video album that looks like a coffee table book (thevisualbook.com).
I wanted it to be something people show off to their friends and family, like they do with a photo album. I’m a student and get a monthly allowance from my parents, but I’ve been lucky enough to have £12,000 behind me from my family too. I didn’t know much about launching a product and didn’t strategize at first.
I sent it out to a few influencers – even paid £500 for one – but got no sales from the posts. I decided to do the marketing myself, have a photo shoot, post pictures on Instagram and ask friends to repost.
That’s when things accelerated.
Since its launch in June, I’ve made around £10,000 in sales.
I get at least one order a day, but I’ve also had a few custom orders from companies that have requested different sizes, leather covers instead of linen, or their logos printed on the product.
I can earn up to £3000 at a time from custom sales. I plan to continue growing.
I have to take advantage of this before someone tries to copy me. I’m very motivated and enjoying working on my thesis and running this company – and I’m doing well in both.
“MY LOCKDOWN HOBBY IS SOON SOLD OUT”
“I opened a TikTok account and that’s where the business really took off”
Works: Financial Marketing Consulting in Boston and New York
Lateral stampede: Co-founder and CEO of Smoothie London
Turnover: £6,000 to £10,000 per month
Georgia Humbert, 22 years old
It started as a lockdown project in June 2020. I had been sent home from Exeter University. I was about to start an internship at Warner Bros in London and had a month off, so I started handcrafting gold plated huggie earrings with leopard, seashell, crystal and flower. I had never done this before so I just googled it and used trial and error. I had five models, about six pairs of each, and sold them for £20 a pair. They didn’t sell out, but they sold out faster than expected.
At first, it was a hobby, but as soon as I submitted my thesis this spring, I committed myself to growing the brand. Getting the first 50 customers was easy, finding the next 100 less so. I opened a TikTok account and that’s when the business really took off. A few of my videos went viral and then all of my sales came from the app. When I released my first collection in May it sold out immediately and there has been a steady stream of sales ever since.
Restocks sell out same day – hard to keep up with. I’m growing fast and I’m lucky my clients talk to me and tell me what they want. I even had a pop-up at John Lewis in August. I invested £120 of my savings in Smoothie (smoothielondon.com) and for the first year and a half worked long hours with no financial reward. Seeing my hard work pay off was worth it. Although I still don’t pay myself a decent salary as I prefer to reinvest profits back into the business, I know he’s there if I need him.
“I MADE MONEY WITH USED STYLE”
“Most of my clients come from London, Edinburgh and Manchester because the second-hand fashion communities are big there”
Studying: Art History and English at the University of Edinburgh
Lateral stampede: Sell second-hand clothes on Depop
Turnover: Around £2,000 per month
Nicolas Stark, 20 years old
I started selling my old clothes on Depop (depop.com/glownic). Then the pandemic happened.
I was at home in Fife and started to take it more seriously. I was getting good traffic on the app so I started looking for more items online similar to my style.
I used to find clothes in charity shops, but it got competitive – other sellers were doing the same.
Now I do a lot of my shopping overseas and from vintage wholesalers.
They have big sales for you to choose from – it takes time, but you can find niche items that other people aren’t selling.
I get a lot of requests for tank tops, knits and clubwear.
I have about 400 items stored in my room; about 60% was uploaded to Depop, the rest I’m saving to put on the app later or for pop-up events.
I do an inventory by taking pictures, and I color code all the items in the storage boxes. I take advantage of the fact that sustainable fashion is so popular now.
Most of my clients come from London, Edinburgh and Manchester because the second-hand fashion communities are big there.
Every couple of months or so I do an affordable drop on Depop with items under £20 and can sell around 40 in a day.
A lot of those sales come from people bundling items together to get a better deal.
I’ve also started running pop-up events – about ten so far – and I’m making between £1,400 and £2,000 from them.
It helps me support myself. Most of my student loan will be used to pay utility bills this winter.
FOUR SIDELINES THAT MADE MILLIONS
Grace Beverley, 25, founded sustainable sportswear brand Tala in 2019 while studying at Oxford University. Thanks to the hype (styles sell out in minutes) and reasonable prices (leggings start at £42), the brand has achieved over £10million in sales since then. Earlier this year, Beverley secured £4.2million in funding. wearetala.com
Student-turned-influencer Jess Hunt, 25, launched Refy Beauty amid lockdown after meeting her business partner Jenna Meek, 29, during a photo shoot. He quickly sold out after his viral Brow Sculpt was used by Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber. According to Forbes, the company is now valued at £50million. refybeauty.com
books that matter
After studying courses full of male authors, 25-year-old Molly Masters started the business in 2017 while in college. Its subscription boxes include a book by an inspirational author as well as gifts from women-owned brands. It now has 3,000 subscribers; last year revenues quadrupled to £1million. booksthatmatter.co.uk
Josephine Philips, 24, launched Sojo as a “Deliveroo for Clothing Repairs” in 2021 shortly after graduating. The app and pick-up/delivery service, which secured £1.8million in funding in April, connects customers to local businesses, so they can have clothes fitted or repaired with just a few taps. home.sojo.uk