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Woman's 'side hustle' building toddler beds captures niche market

'I am someone who prefers to shop small or local, so I appreciate the community doing the same,' said Jessica Carbonara

Jessica Carbonara picked up a thing or two growing up watching her grandfather and uncle at work, both of whom are carpenters.

Now the Bradford West Gwillimbury resident has started a business making floor and house beds for toddlers and young children.

She uses real spruce pine wood, sands every inch and rounds the edges for safety, and makes sure all nails and screw holes are hidden. Carbonara can even make tweaks, variations, and custom items for those interested.

“My uncle specifically built furniture for a number of years,” she said. “I have seen him do some accent walls and trim work, so I knew how to use a saw, plan, measure and things of that nature. One day it came around to transferring my two-year-old daughter out of her crib, so I started looking into Montessori and toddler beds online.

"I saw the prices and thought to myself the markup was crazy, I can build this myself, so I did. There was a learning curve at first, but I have built so many beds by now that it has become second nature.”

It went from a fun project to a business after making her daughter’s bed and showing it to family and friends. They all had the same response; “you should build these,” so she did.

“I started building them on one-off occasions for family and friends, but it wasn’t until I advertised on Facebook that it really took off,” she explained. “My first four days listed on the platform, I had over 6,000 clicks on my listing. Needless to say I am now very busy and I’m so thankful this opportunity presented itself.”

It’s now been about a year since Carbonara started what she calls her “side hustle,” but she never thought it would become what it has with so many people interested in taking advantage of her skills.

“At the beginning I imagined I would build one to two beds a month and have a little extra grocery money,” she said. “But when I realized the demand for these beds and received hundreds of messages, I realized it was a niche market."

The community support Carbonara has received has been a big part of the reason she’s finding success.

“The community has been excellent,” she said. “Most of my clients are from Bradford and its surrounding areas. I am someone who prefers to shop small or local, so I appreciate the community doing the same.”

Carbonara specializes in beds for younger children and toddlers, consisting of mostly floor and house beds because she says they’re aesthetically pleasing, fun for the kids and safe since they are on the floor or raised minimally.

“If someone wants to have a bed built for their child, just get in contact with me and we can discuss the size, style and time frame you wish to have it made,” she said. “I take a small deposit up front to secure the pickup date and any outstanding balance is paid upon pickup once the client is satisfied with their order.”

At first, Carbonara’s goal with the business was to bring in a little extra money each month, but seeing the success has motivated her to do more with it.

“Now that I see the demand and the quality of my work, I see this turning into more than that,” she said. “My current goal is to corner the Bradford and surrounding marketplace so when people think of beds for their littles, I am the first person they think of. Bradford is a great community with a lot of young families. It’s been a pleasure serving the members of this community in my small way."

Those interested in getting in contact with Carbonara can reach her by email at [email protected] or by phone at 647-448-9399.