9 Side Hustles That Turned Into Small Businesses During the Pandemic

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Welcome to Small Business Week! Join us in celebrating local shops, mom-and-pops, and more.

Quarantine has been a hectic and anxiety-producing time for many of us, but it's also caused interesting shifts in the ways we spend our time, from how we approach our own living spaces to how we shop. Surveys have found that we're online shopping even more than we did pre-pandemic, and even as early as April 2020, our brains were pushing us to swipe up on those way-too-well-targeted Instagram ads and finally take the plunge on influencer faves like that must-have pan. On the flip side, that's caused a ripple effect that's shifted the way that business owners and creators approach their own work.

Small businesses, from plant subscription boxes to unique, maximalist mirrors, have ramped up during quarantine, with some creatives turning their skills into businesses, and others transforming their existing small businesses into something more expansive.

Below, you'll find some of our favorite small businesses that went full hustle during quarantine. Prepare to get inspired.

In 2020, boyfriends Nicholas Scheppard and Jenson Titus combined their energizing presence with their paint skills to build a booming business around custom-painted murals. Based in Los Angeles, they bring to life the vivid color that so many of us are craving in our living spaces after nearly two years in quarantine — and their murals are true works of art.

Whether it's because we've been craving whimsy or because people are moving away from clean, straight lines, blobs have been everywhere in quarantine. Enter: Lotta Blobs, hand-crafted mirrors sculpted by Shantelle, a London-based graphic designer turned blog sculptor. Created during the pandemic as a way to "occupy [Shantelle's] mind and feed [her] love of creativity," the small business gained a cult following — act quickly to catch a restock!

Window Fleur, a U.K.-based family business, was founded in 2020 during quarantine by cousins Joe and Frannie. They were desperate to have ​something​ beautiful to look at, and were struggling to garden in small living spaces. Enter: window boxes with an eye for design.

If you love supporting small, women-owned businesses, this one's for you. We adore Resident Objects, which sells "pre-loved" objects curated by owners Camille and Yuka. Said objects range from gorgeous taper candles to colorful accessories to chic rugs. In quarantine, it's become a go-to for unique finds and details that will make your living space feel more like home.

This U.K.-based, grow-your-own fruit, veg, and herb subscription box was made in lockdown with a simple goal: making it easier for gardeners who don't know what they're doing to get access to fresh produce. The box includes seasonal seeds, pots, compost, and "loads of real simple guidance."

6. Golde

When cult-favorite wellness brand Golde launched in 2016, founders Trinity Mouzon Wofford and her partner, Issey, were both working at their full-time jobs. Then, in 2020, the business exploded, and the brand began launching new products alongside its beloved face masks. The fanfare around the business continues, and its founders are enthusiastic about its promising future.

Husband and wife duo Bree and Carlos created The Iman Project from their home in Dallas, Texas, and it's found success in quarantine. The small business combines their love of woodworking, furniture, and family to offer affordable furniture that encourages a sense of community.

Their modern farmhouse tables are truly stunning. Plus, their workshops — like Bree Blooms, a virtual workshop hosted alongside The Plant Project to create succulents and florals, and their On the Table workshops, which offer women a space to learn everything from calligraphy to candle making — teach fun design skills in a welcoming environment.

Knitting, upgraded. In quarantine, so many of us have taken on new hobbies, and in August 2020, Benedicte Holmboe of Para Moda launched knitting kits focused on quality and ease (you'll appreciate the brand's guided online video tutorials). The business is currently based out of Copenhagen.

Proving that sometimes creativity is spurred on by the most unexpected life events, Hannah started Pepper Loves during the U.K.'s second lockdown, and the one-of-a-kind candles are fun conversation starters. With quips like "nice bum" and personalized messaging, these are the perfect gift for new quarantine friends.


Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer and editor. Her work has been published in Vogue, Allure, Refinery29, Domino, and elsewhere. She is @RachelCharleneL across the internet.

View Work