A FedEx driver hand-crafting soaps. A hairstylist hawking porkless bao buns. A restaurant manager repurposing denim jackets.
The dream of turning a hobby in to a Plan B career is almost a cliché of the gig economy, with countless tips published on selling vintage comic books, brewing beer, playing video games and even telling jokes.
After a year scarred by the coronavirus pandemic, however, in which millions of Americans lost their jobs, it’s starting to look more like a necessity than a fantasy, particularly for people who have been laid off or forced to step away from jobs to tend remote-schooled children.
Yelp recorded nearly 100,000 business closures during the first eight months of 2020, but also a 10 percent rise in new businesses selling cupcakes, doughnuts, cakes, macarons and other desserts. Etsy saw a 42 percent spike in new sellers in the third quarter of 2020, when compared to the year before.
“It could be that some just wanted to answer their creative calling,” said Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trend expert. “But for many during this unprecedented time, it’s about people who have faced unexpected financial challenges, whether they are unemployed or furloughed by their jobs.”
Here are five who made the leap during the pandemic.
Livestreaming Red Sauce
“I grew up in an Italian-Portuguese family,” Dan Pelosi, a creative director for Ann Taylor who oversees in-store design and marketing, said. “Food is what we did.”
And as a self-described homebody,…