With leftover acrylic paints from her recent paintings, UNC first-year Natalie Bradin creates buttons, each with a unique color palette and texture depending on the painting it came after.
Bradin, a studio art and journalism major, then sells the homemade buttons on the Student-Made UNC website.
The website offers a place for artists to sell handmade accessories, prints, clothes, collectibles and art pieces to their campus community. The platform is student-run, and all artists are students.
“Student-Made allows me to share my recent projects with the Carolina community,” Bradin said. “I love how supportive all of the artists at Student-Made are and how we all hype up each other’s projects. It motivates me to create more items in the store.”
The Student-Made UNC shop is currently comprised of more than 20 student artists across different years and majors, whose work is available for purchase on the website.
Student-Made UNC is part of a larger Student-Made Store program, which currently has branches at Appalachian State University and the University of South Carolina, and will soon expand to include College of Charleston and Clemson University.
Lindsay Reeth, a 2019 graduate of Elon University, started the platform during her junior year of college in 2017.
Reeth said she started the initiative on Elon’s campus as a way for college students to gain support for their individual businesses on their own campus.
“I met a lot of students who sold on Etsy and to people all over the country, but I never saw them selling on their own campus,” she said. “I thought this was an incredible opportunity to connect students to people on campus who want to support them and see what they’re making.”
Reeth said that Student-Made started with a pop-up shop on Elon’s campus, which attracted more than 300 shoppers. The following year, Student-Made’s pop-up shop brought in over 800 shoppers — with a revenue of over $8,000.
In the summer of 2019, Reeth said she decided to shift Student-Made to an online marketplace and bring the initiative to more schools. Campuses that are interested in joining Student-Made's network can fill out an interest form online.
On UNC's campus, Student-Made also provides an outlet for students to connect with other artists.
UNC graduate student Charlotte Rogus currently sells hand-knit hats through the Student-Made shop.
“As a graduate student in Student-Made, it’s been really cool meeting people in all different stages of life," Rogus said. “For me, it’s been a great way to get to know my campus more and get to know other people as well as gathering more inspiration and insight into other people’s creativity.”
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