Brothers Start Side Hustle, Build Business With $50M Revenue


This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Sam Lewkowict, co-founder and CEO of men’s grooming brand Black Wolf Nation. At 22, Lewkowict launched Black Wolf Nation with his brother Alex Lewkowict; the business has since grown to achieve more than $50 million in revenue and establish a major retail presence in Rite Aid, CVS, Best Buy and more.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Black Wolf Nation. Sam Lewkowict.

What were your other sources of income when you started a side hustle and began building Black Wolf Nation?
Back then, we were basically living on no income. It was a tough spot to be in, with no real financial security to speak of. That’s when we realized we needed to get creative and find a way to bring in some extra cash — and fast.

Related: These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It’s a ‘Full Hustle’ Earning Over $20 Million a Year: ‘Jump in With Both Feet’

When did you start your side hustle, and where did you find the inspiration for it?
So, picture this: It’s the summer of 2017, and we’re knee-deep in building up our Black Wolf brand. We’re cruising through YouTube one night, checking out all these car detailing channels, and suddenly, it hits us like a ton of bricks. Why not give car detailing a shot ourselves? It seemed like a natural fit, considering our passion for quality work and the surge of interest in the field.

What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?
The first thing we did was hit up every car detailing supply store in town armed with a list of equipment longer than your arm. We wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to do the job right, from top-of-the-line polishes to those nifty little detailing brushes.

Related: Their ‘Magic Internet Money’ Side Hustle Just Hit $1 Billion in Sales: ‘We’d Empty 6 Figures of Cash Onto the Counter. The Bank Teller’s Expressions Were Priceless.’

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your side hustle, and how did you navigate them?
We were rookies when it came to detailing cars. Neither of us had ever so much as waxed a car before, let alone tackled the nitty-gritty of interior detailing. So, what did we do? We dove headfirst into the world of YouTube tutorials, spending hours upon hours soaking up every tip and trick we could find. Then came the real test: practicing on our parents’ cars and hoping we wouldn’t mess them up too badly.

We hit the streets, knocking on doors, handing out flyers and sweet-talking anyone who would listen. Offering that first detail at half price was our secret weapon, and man, did it work like a charm.

Related: The Sweet Side Hustle She Started in an Old CVS Made $800,000 in One Year. Now She’s Repeating the Success With Her Daughter — and They’ve Already Exceeded 8 Figures.

When did you decide to leave the side hustle behind and take your other business full-time?
As much as we loved the thrill of car detailing, there came a point when we had to make a tough call. Black Wolf was growing, demanding more and more of our time and attention. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to our car detailing side hustle, but we knew it was the right move if we wanted to take Black Wolf to the next level.

Related: These College Friends Started a ‘Fun’ Side Hustle That Landed Them on ‘Shark Tank’— Now the Idea Is Helping Dozens Make Extra Cash: ‘Start Saying Yes’

What do you enjoy most about running Black Wolf Nation?
There’s something truly magical about connecting with customers on a personal level. Hearing their stories, feedback and excitement about our products is what keeps us going day in and day out. Knowing that something we created with our own two hands is out there in the world, making a difference in people’s lives, feels intoxicating.

What’s your advice for others hoping to start successful side hustles or businesses of their own?
When it comes to side hustles, it’s got to be low-risk, high-reward — something you can do without high investment costs or burning yourself out. That’s the beauty of a good side hustle — it’s like having your cake and eating it, too, without sacrificing your main hustle in the process.

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