How To Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Booming Business, From Someone Who's Done It
We chat to Genevieve Rosen-Biller, founder of Bed Threads.
Flax linen bedding is what functional foods are in the nutrition world—they exert additional benefits beyond their primary purpose. Confused? Let us explain.
Not only are linen bed sheets a minimalist’s dream (featuring in every single home inspo pic you’ve got saved on IG), they also come equipped with some pretty impressive health benefits.
But despite your love for all things linen, there’s just one little thing that might have stood in the way between you and your Pinterest-worthy bedroom—the price tag.
That is, until now.
Meet Bed Threads, the Aussie start-up that’s making 100% French flax linen bedding both affordable and accessible.
Founded by Genevieve Rosen-Biller, the brand started off as a passion project whilst she was working full-time as a journalist, writing for some of Australia’s most respected mastheads. She then made the decision to pivot from her decade-long career and delve right into the world of eco-friendly homewares after moving apartments herself and realising that nothing on the market fit her brief.
Here, we chat to Genevieve about how she plucked up the courage to leave her 9-5 job, what she enjoys most about being her own boss and of course, what advice she has for anyone who might me struggling to take the plunge themselves.
You worked as a journalist for almost a decade before launching your own business. What would you say was the hardest part of this transition?
I’ve been really fortunate in that I’ve been extremely passionate about every iteration of my career to date. I’d been a journalist for almost a decade when I launched Bed Threads as a side business. I was working for one of Australia’s biggest and most respected publications at the time and loved my job and my equally amazing team.
But as Bed Threads started requiring more and more of my time and passion (stock sold out three weeks after launching and things have been growing rapidly since then) I knew it was time to step into the unknown. It’s not a decision I made easily but I still use my journalism skills daily through writing and editing content for Bed Threads’ Journal.
How exactly did you come up with the Bed Threads concept? Take us from the very beginning!
Bed Threads was conceived in 2014 when I moved into a new apartment and wanted pure 100% linen bedding. After lots of searching, I found that I was priced out of this option because everything on the market at the time was expensive and was sold as separates. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t an accessible, high-quality product that was bundled together and able to be ordered online, so I decided to create one myself. In 2015, I started what would be two years of rigorous product research and development. My husband Alan and I sourced the highest quality 100% French flax linen bedding, ensured our packaging was sustainable, chose our beautiful colourways, built our website and refined our brand before we officially launched in August 2017.
How long was Bed Threads your “side hustle” before you realised you could make a living out of it? Can you recall the exact moment?
I worked on Bed Threads for two years before launching the website and then for another six months while working full-time. I didn’t have one exact light bulb moment, but it came to a point where working on both was not sustainable—so I made the call to give my growing business the best possible opportunity by focusing on it full-time. You can only work 16 hours a day for so long!
How would you describe your thought process? Did you experience self-doubt and if so, how did you overcome it?
By nature I’m conservative and risk-averse, so I never would’ve left my stable job (especially one I genuinely loved) if Bed Threads was not viable. The most self-doubt I experienced was in the early stages of the business; ordering the first round of stock and building the brand before setting the website live. By launching Bed Threads’ social media channels six months before we were open for business, I was able to receive a lot of positive feedback from followers and this reassured me there was a huge market for our products.
While there was a little self-doubt, I loved the product and knew it genuinely addressed a customer need—at the time Bed Threads was going to be (and still is!) the only 100% French flax linen set that was accessibly priced, with two pillowcases, a duvet cover and a fitted sheet, delivered free, in Australia.
What would your three top tips/advice be for anyone that is thinking of making their side hustle/hobby/interest a career?
Do your due diligence and research—does the product or service you’re offering genuinely serve customers and alleviate a dissatisfaction elsewhere in the market?
Do your numbers make sense? With any business, it’s not just buying and selling—you have to factor in marketing, photography and tech (just as a start) into the cost of your business or product—so ensure what you’re offering makes sense financially. This might seem obvious to people with a business background but as a journalist I had to catch up—fast!
You’re only as good as your team—surround yourself with experts and people who are specialists in their field so your business and product has the best possible chance to shine.
We’ve recently touched on the health benefits of flax linen. Is this something that was a priority for you personally? What other aspects are important to you?
Absolutely! We spend around one third of our lives in bed, so choosing to sleep on high-quality natural bedding like our 100% French flax linen is a way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your eight hours of shut-eye. Our linen is anti-bacterial, anti-static, hypoallergenic and is a natural temperature regulator—so it keeps you cosy in winter and breezy in summer. It’s also a more environmentally-friendly bedding option in that the flax plant requires less water and pesticides to thrive.
Benefits of linen aside, a real priority for me has been creating an affordable product. Most options on the market (for a pure linen duvet, fitted sheet and two pillowcases) start at $500, and are sold separately, while Bed Threads sets start at $250.
“I’ve consciously developed a business model that allows me to pass savings onto consumers so that everyone has the option to sleep on luxurious, beautiful 100% French flax linen bedding.”
What has been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since launching Bed Threads?
Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress! If you aim to get every single element of your business flawless before launching, you’ll never actually open your doors. Choose to perfect the things that really matter—for me that was a premium product that did what it said it would.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
Everyday is different—such is the world of digital and e-commerce—but ‘typically’ I wake up early, have coffee at my local with my husband (and co-founder) before starting the day at Bed Threads. Mornings are usually reserved for responding to emails, dealing with the logistical and technical parts of the business and organising the day’s content (across our social media channels and our website’s Journal. Then, afternoons are usually more creative—whether that’s overseeing new product development, organising photoshoots or merchandising our website.
I’m not sure if running your own business is conducive to stringent work/life balance—in fact, since starting Bed Threads I have never worked harder—so at this point it’s more of a blend. Still, it’s important to switch off so you can continue to create effectively—and for me that is as simple as getting off my phone and turning off all devices!
What are some specific health and wellness practices you follow?
I stick to a vegan diet, cook at home as often as possible, and avoid overexertion. For me, that means no morning workouts. Ultimately, the healthiest lifestyle is the one you can stick to, so most days I exercise in the afternoon or evening, outdoors. Of course, sleep is an absolute non-negotiable—it is the cornerstone of physical and mental health, so those precious eight hours take priority every night… on pure linen bedding, of course.
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.