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EARN How a 31-year-old built a ‘cash stuffing’ business on track to bring in $1 million this year: ‘Make sure you have the backbone for it’

by Omid Mousaei 03 Oct 2023
EARN How a 31-year-old built a ‘cash stuffing’ business on track to bring in $1 million this year: ‘Make sure you have the backbone for it’

If you know who Jasmine Taylor is, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve seen her on TikTok. The 31-year-old from Amarillo, Texas, began cataloguing her journey with “cash-stuffing” — a money management method by which budgeters separate their cash into physical envelopes — in 2021 and soon became a sensation on the popular app.

It’s one thing to go viral. It’s quite another to turn a spark of internet fame into a full-fledged business. But that’s exactly what Taylor has done.

It started in spring 2021, when Taylor used her $1,200 stimulus check to form Baddies and Budgets. She bought a Shopify account, shipping supplies, a Cricut machine and materials to create cash-stuffing accessories, such as customized envelopes and cash wallets.  

“I just went into it hoping I would make my money back,” Taylor told CNBC Make It in March.

She did better than that. In 2022, her business, which now sells not only budgeting accessories but branded apparel, pulled in revenue of about $850,000. As of March, it was on track to clear $1 million in 2023.

This week, in an appearance on CNBC’s Last Call, Taylor offered advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. “Make sure you have the backbone for it,” she told host Brian Sullivan. “Entrepreneurship has been one of the most challenging but rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. And it’s taught me so much. But if you’re not a self-starter, it is not for you.”

In our recent interviews, Taylor shared some of the most important startup lessons she’s learned so far.

Capitalize on unmet demand

When Taylor started posting her cash stuffing videos to TikTok, she wasn’t looking to become famous or launch a business.

“When I started on TikTok, it was mostly kids dancing,” says Taylor. “I think I was just trying to keep myself accountable. And I put it out there and it went crazy viral, and I was like, ‘Well, well — I’ll be back tomorrow with another one.’”

Taylor says financial content had always felt boring to her, but after her TikToks took off, she knew she had tapped into an area people were hungry for. “I was like, ‘OK, people are actually interested in this,’” she says. “For some reason, people were engaging, so I opted to start the business.”

As her business started taking off, Taylor knew she had to meet her potential customers where they already were, and began to expand her content to work for different social media sites. “I realized that if I was going to use social media to market, I needed to be everywhere that people were possibly looking for budgeting,” she says.

Learn from your failures

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to willing to be willing to screw up, Taylor says.

“I tried a few different businesses and some of them failed. Some of them went OK for a little while, and then they kind of fell off. Toward the end of my 20s, I was really struggling.”

But the experience Taylor had gained from those dry runs has proved invaluable. Take Taylor’s clothing boutique, which folded after about a year. “I learned a lot about how to sell things, about shipping, building a website. Even though it ended up being a failing business, it taught me so many things that were foundational and important that I was able to build on with Baddies and Budgets,” she says.

That knowledge base helped Taylor hit the ground running. As soon as her TikToks started booming, she remembered how she’d tried to build a customer base for her boutique.

“I instantly went on Shopify, built the website and started collecting emails,” she says. “So when we launched, things went really well. We’ve been profitable every month since we started.”

Give yourself room to grow

From the beginning, Taylor’s line of products have cost a bit more than competitors’. But for a business looking to get off the ground and expand, this is essential, she says.

“I knew I needed to have a price that allowed room to grow and hire more help, because [packing and shipping merchandise] is a tedious task” she says. Plus, she says, “we provide quality, the packaging is beautiful, it’s an experience.”

She aims to price her merchandise based on what she calls the method of three: “If a product costs you $10, you mark it up three times so that you can replace the product you bought, you can make profit and buy a new product.”   

The expansion strategy has been working. When Make It spoke to Taylor in March, Baddies and Budgets had hired three contract employees to help keep up with orders. And growth in her business it likely to continue.

“It’s skyrocketed,” she told Sullivan on Monday night. “Since our first interview with CNBC Make It, we’ve probably doubled or tripled in sales. It’s running completely different around here. It’s been amazing to watch.”

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