A man has turned his lockdown side hustle into a thriving business—which he says has now turned over a million pounds.
After the government-imposed lockdowns caused Liam Mchale-Smith’s construction firm to close down and lay him off, he took over the garden shed and began handmaking furniture.
His wife Ruth then posted pictures on her social media and inquiries came flooding in.
Three years later and the man who once made $700 per week as a tradesman has now sold over $1.3 million (£1 million) in goods, and is unsurprisingly “very proud” of it.
“I really never thought something like this would happen to me,” said 33-year-old Mchale-Smith, “I have no experience running a business or being the boss.”
“But I wouldn’t go back to being employed now. I love being the CEO, I’m just glad Ruth is great with computers and social media.”
At age 15, Liam started studying carpentry before taking a job in construction. His first offerings were a wall-mounted garden bar and radiator cover.
“Unique Designs by Liam” continued to grow and by January 2021 he could afford a new workshop, as well as three employees—two apprentices and his dad.
As soon as lockdowns lifted Liam and Ruth were delivering furniture as far away as Aberdeen in Scotland, a more than 350-mile trip on Britain’s motorways.
By the end of 2022, he had sold 10,350 items across Etsy and his website, earning him over $1.3 million.
“It is very hard work,” said Liam. “I can’t take a week off like I used to, so it has a huge impact on our home life.”
“But the success is very much deserved,” Ruth adds. “I don’t know anyone who works as hard as Liam—he’s unique, and such an inspiration to others.”
He has since bought a new family home, and acquired a fleet of trucks and several members of staff who together work to produce up to 40 pieces a day, all handmade from locally sourced materials.
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