Meet Thora: Project manager and bracelet designer at Tampen Kiel

Part-time business owner Thora

Thora, Maxim, and Amanda have something in common: They all have a day job and a self-employed side business. Their three projects couldn’t be more different, yet they all stem from similar passions—and come with the same challenges.

Our three-part series of side hustlers starts with Thora, a full-time product owner at our own headquarters in Hamburg. While spending her days as a project manager, she found a side business in her passion for water sports.

The bracelets from Tampen Kiel

What’s your side business and how did it start?

When I was a student, I lived in the Baltic coastal city of Kiel. Back then, I was always near or on the water because I loved surfing and sailing so much. That’s when I came up with the idea for my side business. Lots of water sports use bright colored trim lines and, in 2012, I started making bracelets out of them.

More and more of my friends and acquaintances started asking for the bracelets I’d been making. So, I decided to turn my hobby into a business and created a website, Facebook page, and Instagram account. What I enjoyed the most was building a brand with my bracelets that is connected to Kiel, my favorite place. That’s where the name Tampen Kiel came from.

How do you balance two jobs at once?

I never wanted to turn Tampen Kiel into a full-time business. I’ve always enjoyed knotting bracelets and I like doing it in my free time when I’m on the beach or in the park. I just did it whenever I felt like it and had the motivation to.

I purposefully kept the side-business commitments as small as possible from the start. When I have time, I invest it. When I don’t, I don’t.

It’s simple with Tampen Kiel: If I’m stressed or not in the mood, I slow everything down to a minimum. During that time, I only process orders because I can’t postpone them, of course. And I can also simply pause my online store so that I won’t be accepting new orders.

Images from Thora's online store
Anyone with a good idea can get started. You just have to believe in yourself.”

Do you have any advice for someone starting a side business?

First, don’t be shy. These days, even an individual can have a huge reach. For example, by promoting an online store on Facebook, anyone with a good idea can get started. You just have to believe in yourself.

Second: you shouldn’t see your side hustle as just more work. It is work, of course, but it’s also an incredibly enriching experience. I’ve learned so much with Tampen Kiel: about my brand, about my “day” job, and mostly about my own personality.

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Katharina Mühe
Katharina works as a content creator for Jimdo. She is always on the lookout for inspiring user stories that will motivate other self-employed people to pursue their passions. When she is not writing she enjoys cooking, socializing and spending time outdoors.
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