Jenny Eisler learned to knit in the first grade, and was good at it. She also did time as a Girl Scout, which imbued her with an admirable can-do spirit.
Consequently, when New York City locked down last spring to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and Ms. Eisler, 25, was stuck in her studio apartment in NoLIta without much to do, she impulsively ordered some embroidery hoops, needles and thread on Amazon, correctly betting that a creditable chain stitch was but a few YouTube tutorials away.
“The first thing I embroidered was the word ‘quarantine’ in green thread on my gray hoodie,” said Ms. Eisler, who works at an online fashion retailer. “I embroidered all my clothes,” she continued. “And then when I ran out of my own stuff to embroider I started embroidering things for my sister.”
Just by Jeanie (a tip of the hat to her plush rabbit) said that, so far, she has netted $20,000 from a product line that has expanded from sweatshirts to sweatpants, socks, baby blankets and onesies (short- and long-sleeved models).
Meanwhile, Lan Ngo, a pharmacist, banks $3,000 to $4,000 a month on sales of the dollhouse furniture she makes in the spare bedroom of her rental apartment in Clovis, Calif. And Jeff Neal, a project estimator for an industrial painting contractor, pockets $2,000 a month breeding crickets, roaches and other so-called feeder insects that he sells to amphibian and reptile owners, primarily through his website The Critter Depot.
Instagram, and was surprised and pleased to discover there was considerable interest in the prospect of owning an original Sarkis: “I was being asked for players like Ben Wallace, Steve Nash and Allen Iverson. It just snowballed.” So far, Mr. Sarkis said, he has sold more than 100 paintings.
But the will of the people forced him to shrink both the canvas (from 32 by 32 inches to 8 by 11) and the price (from $300 to $50). Even so, “I’ve definitely made more money than I put into it,” Mr. Sarkis said. “I understand pricing and overhead.”