Every day they’re hustling

Leigh started his woodwork side hustle after making something for his wife four years ago. Picture: Rob Carew

PRECEDE: A side hustle is a job that you can work on top of your full-time job. It is a flexible second job that brings in money, but it is also something that you are passionate about that you don’t get to pursue in your main job. Kids Today reporter Melissa Meehan spoke to some local parents about their side hustle.

The Classroom Collective, Ferntree Gully

Victoria Gilbert was always heavily involved in her work.

So it’s no surprise when the primary teacher was on maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter Nellie, she really missed teaching.

After the second round of remote learning last year she had the idea to create pre-made learning boxes targeting each strand of the Victorian curriculum.

“I saw how much parents were struggling to get their hands on resources,” she said.

“It made me think that parents who don’t have an educational background don’t know how to find them.

“And it’s really important that it’s available.”

Each box includes real resources that are used in the classroom that can now be purchased by parents to have at home.

It also targets children who are beginning school, and gets them on track – particularly with writing.

Victoria has returned to work as a prep teacher (one day a week).

But it has cemented her belief that these learning boxes are so important.

“I am constantly undoing children’s writing, as parents have tried to do the right thing by purchasing resources from the newsagent/book shops, but in turn, have actually taught their children the incorrect writing formation,” she said.

“The resource boxes are affordable and very aesthetically pleasing – I can’t stand the ugly resources we are often presented with.

Each box is personalised and custom boxes are also available to target specific learning needs.

“My dream for this side hustle is to make the connection between school and home learning so much stronger, and for parents to feel supported – particularly if another remote learning is to ever come around again,” she said.


HomerMade Woodworking, KNOXFIELD

A hammer and a bunch of nails was all it took.

Four years ago Leigh Calavetta wanted to make something for his wife.

He really enjoyed the process, and then made something else for a family member.

And HomerMade was born.

“My sister is a graphic designer, she went into new business mode, created name and logo and the rest is history,” he said.

Working night shift for his full-time job as a forklift driver, Leigh has afternoons free, which he admits are getting fuller with two kids running the house.

“I make them whenever I can,” he said.

“You just have to manage your time, it’s definitely possible, there is lots of early mornings, some late nights.

“But it depends on how much you want to put in.”

It’s amazing that building things wasn’t even a hobby for Leigh at all.

He wanted to make something for his home and had “a crack” with a hammer and nails.

From there he got better, bought some new tools, sold some items and got some more tools.

He is completely self-taught.

He now sells dining room tables, office desks, popular lately, bench seats, buffet units, chopping boards and wine bottle holders.

I really enjoy working with my hands, I drive a forklift which isn’t really creative or mentally stimulating and I really enjoy turning nothing into something.”



Baby got shade, Knox area

Courtney and Kate are two friends that have the perfect partnership.

They started Baby Got Shade in 2017, and six months later Kate was pregnant.

They laughed about paying her maternity leave.

They’ve always treated it as a side hustle, an escape from their everyday lives, and that’s what makes it work.

“I work three days a week, I’ve got two kids,” Courtney said.

“And she and her husband run a building company with two kids as well.

“We’re great partners, we are very similar.”

The key element is finding someone who understands that sometimes life gets in the way, according to Courtney.

“There is no guilt if I don’t put too much energy in it, because Kate understands that life gets in the way,” she said.

“It’s been really fun, and we made a good profit in our first year which was insane.

“I don’t know how we did it, with small children around, but I think it’s one of those mum things – you just do it.”

A far cry from her every day job as a family lawyer, Courtney says it couldn’t be any more different.

“People who buy the shades are usually pretty happy and excited about what’s to come as opposed to divorce and separation,” she said.