Alyce Tran knows a thing or two about a successful side hustle. The lawyer turned creative entrepreneur turned her first side venture into a multimillion-dollar global fashion accessories business, before she sold it to her former business partner in 2021.
But, before taking a step away from that venture, she’d already co-founded another creative business with a close friend, this time a vibrant lifestyle and dinnerware brand called In The Roundhouse.
Alyce attributes the thriving nature of her second creative business to identifying a gap in the market, as well as recognising a resurgence in the popularity of dinner parties, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. “I’ve always loved entertaining and making beautiful settings,” she says. “Through this, I found a real gap in the market for tabletop items that really popped, are on-trend and are affordable, so that you can purchase more of a range and create so many different aesthetics.”
Alyce noticed, with the rise of social media, younger people were taking more of an interest in styling their houses, as well as entertaining at home. “Part of it is people want to present tablescapes that look fun and interesting to their friends,” she says.
When it comes to launching thriving creative businesses and successful side hustles, it seems Alyce Tran has the Midas touch. So, what advice does she have for people wanting to follow in her footsteps?
Alyce Tran’s Top 3 Tips for Starting a Creative Business
1. Be different: “There’s no point in bringing to market a product that might already exist. Everything I ever created, I always thought about how it was going to be different to something else already [out there]. In the homeware space, there’s so much stuff that is ubiquitous and plain, so part of the success of In The Roundhouse is presenting products to people that are extremely different to what is in the market, and that comes through artwork, colour, shapes and design.”
2. Go for it: “It’s a hustle – you just need to put yourself and your product out there and see how you go. I also hear a lot of people talking to me about their ideas. I ask them, ‘Do you think your idea is great? Then just go for it. Create the product and get it out there.’ That’s the only way you’ll be able to get market feedback on what it is you want to do. And then just reiterate from there.”
3. But, go slow: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; make the transition slowly. Even now, I am working a second job so that I don’t put too much pressure financially on In the Roundhouse.” [Alyce works part-time for LTK, a global influencer marketing platform that connects brands with influencers around the world.]
Alyce Tran’s Creative Business Essentials
“Yes, I’m still one of those hard-copy people,” Alyce says. “I still print documents and designs, then mark them up by hand. I just find it much easier to digest things when they’re printed rather than viewing them on a screen.”
Hot Tip: To make printing more sustainable and cost-effective, a continuous ink tank printer negates the need for replacing costly ink cartridges, which also means less plastic empties in the bin. Products like the Epson EcoTank printer use designated reservoirs for each of the printer colours and large ink bottles to fill them.
What To Try:
- Canon Pixma All-In-One Home Office Printer TR7660A
- Epson EcoTank ET-4800 Wireless Printer
- Brother INKvestment A4 Inkjet Printer MFC-J4440DW
- Canon MegaTank Multifunction Printer G7060
Tools for organisation
DId You Know? It’s not just Alyce who thrives in a tidy workspace; research shows being organised is good for our output. Scientists from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute found that, because our brains like order, keeping a desk tidy and uncluttered helps workers focus and process information, as well as improving productivity.
What To Try
- Otto Gold Magazine File Linen Mint
- Italplast Desk Organiser Recycled Black
- Otto Diamond Metal 3 Tier Letter File Lilac
- Otto Diamond Metal A4 Pen Cup Lilac
- J.Burrows Desktop File Storage Organiser 5 Drawer Clear
- J.Burrows Mesh Desk Organiser Black
Pens and Coloured Markers
Hot Tip: Try non-toxic Copic Ciao Markers, which produce bright colours and contain ink that dries acid-free on paper.
What To Try
- Copic Ciao Markers Pastel 6 Pack
- Milan Conical Tip Fibre Pens 50 Pack
- Copic Original Dual Nib Marker Assorted Colours 36 Pack
- Born Dual-Tip Graphic Design Markers 60 Pack
- Staedtler Triplus Gel Pens Assorted 15 Pack
- Paper Mate Flair Fineliners 24 Pack Candy Pop
- Staedtler Pigment Arts Brush Pens 24 Pack
Coloured Cardboard and Paper
Hot Tip: Vibrant Quill A4 paper has a thickness of 125gsm, making it ideal for cards, artwork and invitations and comes in an assorted pack, so there’s plenty of colours to choose from. It’s also acid-free and won’t react with your precious art supplies.
What To Try:
- Quill A4 Paper 125gsm Assorted 250 Pack
- Quill A3 Board Orange
- Quill A3 Board 210gsm Peach
- Quill 125gsm A4 Cover Paper Assorted Colours 500 Sheets
“I love different-sized notebooks to keep to-do lists in, my thoughts, and also sketches,” says Alyce.
Did You Know? There are many health benefits to expressive writing. In a meta-analysis of 13 studies in 2018, Cambridge University Press found that writing down our emotions, even negative ones, improved both physical health and psychological wellbeing.
What To Try:
- Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Plain Pocket Notebook Red
- Otto A4 Recycled Notebook 120 Page Mint
- Keji A5 Notebook 160 Page Spot Pastel
- Otto A5 Colour Block Notebook 120 Pages Pastel Pink
Information correct at time of publication. Global trade conditions may impact availability of some items. We apologise for any inconvenience.