Making your Side Hustle your Main Hustle | with Fran Dunaway

March 16, 2020

Melanie Johnson and Jenn Foster, owners of Elite Online Publishing, interview entrepreneur Fran Dunaway. Fran teaches how to truly listen to your customers, and create a brand that means something. Learn how Fran turned her side hustle into her main source of income, mistakes she learned from along the way, and her tips to success.

Listen Below:

Watch Below:

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What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How to listen to what your customers what and deliver
  • Learn about the growing pains of a new business, and how to overcome those challenges
  • Using your resources to learn early on
  • Utilizing social media and podcasting for advertising
  • How to use movements and communities to build your brand
  • The importance of finding mentors to support you


“We had a lot of learning to do, so it was just a journey really finding the right people that we could pester, take out for coffee or drinks and pick their brains and find out all the things we didn’t know.” (4:35)

“Its a balance of continually assessing where you are and what you need what the company needs at a certain time, because it really drastically changes as you grow.”  (6:15)

“When we created the brand, we didn’t want the brand to focus on trying to tell you how to be cool, but wanting to express how cool we think you already are.” (11:24)
“We want people to feel comfortable and confident in who they are stepping out into the world.  I think that a lot of brands somehow bring up the opposite of that because they have these beauty standards and these body standards and all of these things that we’re continually, as women, hammered with. So, it’s really important that there’s a brand celebrating you and helping you feel confident. I’m really proud to be that brand.” (17:29)

About Fran Dunaway:

Fran likes to call herself the accidental entrepreneur. In 2013, she had a great life – partner in a media strategies firm with big budgets, lots of vacation time, regular exercise, and excellent sleep habits. She and her wife, Naomi Gonzalez, started a little side business because they wanted some cool button down shirts, like a Robert Graham for women. They picked the name TomboyX for their side project because they thought it was cute.

When the name started resonating with women around the world, they knew they had an instant brand. It turns out the word ‘tomboy’ opens the door to a conversation about being whoever it is you want to be. Women were SO elated to have a brand that saw them for who they are at their core. So, when customers started begging for TomboyX to design the first boxer briefs for women, Fran and Naomi obliged.

In September 2014, they pre-sold two styles of boxer briefs designed for women and sold out in two weeks. They have never looked back. TomboyX has since refocused solely into the underwear/lounge wear market and is thriving on the fact that people of all shapes and sizes want to be part of a brand that stands for values they share. Their customers continually prove that there is a toughness required to express your individuality – the defining characteristics of a tomboy.

Read more here.

Shop TomboyX here.

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