Students combine creativity with entrepreneurship

Student artists at the University of South Carolina are combining their creativity with business smarts to earn money for themselves and their favorite charities. We caught up with three of these talented “makers” to see how they got started and what they are doing with their new source of income.

Emily Martin

“I have always been a self-starter. So, when I wanted to create and license my own company, it didn’t come as a shock to many. I wanted a go-to jewelry company that fulfilled my wants and when I couldn’t find one, I built”

“I self-taught different aspects of business principles and ownership from SEO techniques and coding to wholesale buying and taxes, and everything else in between.

"Donating to a community I know all too well is by far the most rewarding part of this endeavor. I donate a portion of each sale to To Write Love On Her Arms, which is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.”

“The growth from creating for my friends and family to creating for other marketplaces, such as the Student Made Store, to creating wholesale for boutiques has been beyond humbling.

"As of right now, all of my designs are handcrafted, but I just finished designing and 3-D rendering my first line of manufactured rings. Through several conversations with CAD designers, casters, ethical stone sources, and jewelry manufacturers, I am inspired by the future of Five Saint as we deconstruct the traditional jewelry model through ethical direct-to-consumer sales.”

Summer Rogers

“I began painting in high school and making pieces for family and friends upon request. As I made more and more pieces, I was encouraged to begin selling some of my art after recently returning from a mission trip to Haiti as a means to pay for my trip back after falling in love with the children there.

"My inspiration comes from the opportunity to return and serve the children in the Cambry Orphanage in southern Haiti. Because of Summer Doodles, I have been able to fund the last three of my four trips, and I am so eager to return. Once I am able to fund my trip, I love having the opportunity to do more in my community here at home. I think it is so special to serve others.”

“My favorite pieces to paint include pop-art pets, collegiate pieces and anything with calligraphy. I believe the most powerful thing I can do with my art is capture the highlights in people’s lives – whether that’s a beloved pet, a special place or memory from birthdays, graduations, weddings and so much more.”  

“I love that my experience as a student and lifelong Gamecock fan shaped my favorite work of art and displays the culmination of months and months of dreaming, creativity and incredibly tedious work. The result is Willy B, a 30x40 canvas I'll always cherish in memory of my time as a Gamecock.”

“Running a one-woman business as a full-time college student has been a great responsibility and treasure. My art has allowed me to meet and connect with people all across the country and meet countless customers who come back for more Doodles for different life events. It is certainly sweet as an artist to be trusted to celebrate life’s big moments.”

Allison Lambert

“I first started embroidery out of curiosity during high school. At the time, I worked at a craft supplies store, and I was always trying new things. Something about embroidery just stuck.

"I didn’t turn my hobby into a business until years later, in college. The first time I ever sold my embroidery, I sold a piece I had worked hours on to a friend for only $5.

"At the time, I couldn’t believe that someone wanted to have something I had made, let alone pay me for it.

“Growing my business through my Instagram, Etsy and on the Student Made Store has really taught me how to see the value in what I create. It still feels like Christmas every time I receive an order, but now I know I’m worth it.

“I love embroidery for how unique it is. I love how you can see every stitch in the fabric. It's also incredibly versatile and customizable.

"Working on the designs for custom orders is one of my favorite parts of running my business. It makes me happy to think of the hoops I created hanging in people's homes.”

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