How One Recent Grad Started a ,000 a Month Shopify Side Gig

How One Recent Grad Started a $2,000 a Month Shopify Side Gig

How One Recent Grad Started a ,000 a Month Shopify Side Gig



Sheershak Agarwal is not your average entrepreneur. An immigrant with a dream and a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Washington, Sheershak wasn’t satisfied with the status quo of being a software engineer at Qualcomm. He wanted a challenge outside of work.

His Shopify side hustle, IVORY & EBONY, offers water-repellent clothing and moissanite sterling silver jewelry, an unlikely combination that blends fashion, technology, and sustainability.

With an initial investment that grew from a modest $2,800 to a substantial $56,000 within a year, Sheershak’s venture has begun to bear fruit, boasting a remarkable revenue jump to $2,174.88 in February 2024 from just $358.88 in the entire year of 2023.

Infographic showing Shopify sales data of $79 in revenue in Jan 2024 and $2,137 revenue in February 2024.Infographic showing Shopify sales data of $79 in revenue in Jan 2024 and $2,137 revenue in February 2024.

How the Idea Came About

The start of IVORY & EBONY came from a simple but annoying problem: Sheershak spilled ramen soup on his t-shirt and couldn’t find a good way to clean it off.

This led him to look online for a solution, where he noticed there weren’t many options for clothes that resist water and stains in a way that’s also good for the planet.

“That moment of frustration sparked an idea that I couldn’t ignore,” Agarwal says.

He saw a chance to create something new that would help people avoid similar annoyances, focusing on keeping things environmentally friendly. This is how IVORY & EBONY began, mixing technology with fashion to offer unique, sustainable products.

Related: 19 Profitable Digital Product Ideas to Sell Online

Startup Costs

For Sheershak, starting this side hustle involved a significant financial investment (but it doesn’t always have to be that way). According to him, his initial startup costs were initially around $2,800 but then slowly increased to over $56,000 to cover everything from product development, inventory, and marketing.

With the hefty financial commitment, Sheershak still needed to keep his engineering job to ensure a steady income while getting his side hustle off of the ground.

“It was a balancing act, investing in IVORY & EBONY while keeping my day job. But seeing our sales start to pick up in early 2024 was incredibly rewarding,” Sheershak shares.

Finding the Right Path in Marketing

When Sheershak first started with ads on Meta (Facebook and Instagram), things didn’t go as planned. The ads weren’t bringing in sales like he hoped.

But realizing the importance of knowing when to pivot and try something new, he switched to using Google Ads and also added moissanite jewelry to his store, which turned out to be a game-changer.

“Adding moissanite jewelry was a big step for us. It really helped us get more visitors and sales,” he says. 

Looking Ahead

Agarwal offered straightforward advice for anyone thinking about starting their own business: find a real problem to solve, keep your prices fair, and be ready to change your plan if you need to.

He’s excited about the future of IVORY & EBONY. He wants to make the jump from selling just online to opening a real store people can visit. And he dreams of making his brand well-known for being kind to the planet.

What We Can Learn from Sheershak’s Story

Sheershak Agarwal’s path from software engineering to pioneering a sustainable fashion brand offers a lot of takeaways for those pondering their own entrepreneurial journey. Here are three lessons you can draw from his story.

Your Side Hustle Can Be Unrelated to Your Career

Agarwal’s leap from the tech world into fashion and jewelry is a compelling example of how your side hustle doesn’t have to align with your primary career. This divergence can be a refreshing outlet for creativity and passion, allowing you to explore different facets of your interests and skills.

“Diving into something completely different from my day job was liberating and allowed me to apply my skills in new ways,” Sheerhak emphasized.

Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot Until You Find Something That Works

In the beginning, it’s essential to stay flexible, continually assess your strategy’s effectiveness, and be ready to change course if necessary. This might mean exploring new marketing channels, tweaking your product line, or even overhauling your business model.

For example, many successful companies, like Slack, began as something entirely different before pivoting to the products we know today. Similarly, YouTube started as a video dating site before becoming the world’s leading video-sharing platform.

“The willingness to pivot was crucial in discovering our successful path,” Sheershak states, highlighting the importance of being open to change and experimentation to find what truly resonates with your market.

Related: 21 Low-Cost or Free Small Business Marketing Ideas

Work on a Cause You Believe In

Centering your business around a cause you’re passionate about, as Sheershak did with sustainability, can be deeply rewarding. This approach not only fulfills a personal mission but also appeals to like-minded customers, creating a deeper connection with your audience.

Whether it’s championing eco-friendly practices, advocating for education, promoting mental health awareness, or supporting local communities, aligning your business with a cause can drive motivation beyond just financial gain.

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