Student-Made UofSC fosters mutually beneficial relationships between campus artists and provides business opportunities for students through the platform of an online marketplace.
Student-Made started as a campus pop-up shop for student artists selling their crafted goods at Elon University in 2019. Today, it has grown to span four universities and has expanded to an online store where it functions in the digital space to market artists using social media.
The purpose of the business is focused on the community of student artists, co-founder and director Lindsay Reeth said.
“The mission of Student-Made is to support creative students on campuses working to grow their business by connecting them to their supporters within their campus community and also our growing network of campuses,” Reeth said.
Student-Made UofSC is connected to 15 artists from the USC campus and several alumni. The items being sold range from décor embellishments such as paintings, prints and embroidered hoops, to beaded necklaces and clay earrings, all made by students here at USC.
She has a goal for Student-Made is to extend to 12 new campuses over 12 months, which would further expand student artist connections and business opportunities across the United States.
Kaitlyn Speiser, a third-year psychology student and Student-Made artist, honed her Cricut machine skills over the COVID-19 pandemic, and now prints designs onto a variety of functional mediums. Speiser said she has found Student-Made to be helpful in forming relationships with other artists on campus.
“The most helpful thing that I've gotten from joining Student-Made store is being connected to a network of artists at USC. It's been really awesome,” Speiser said.
Fellow student artists on campus uplift each other in group chats, bounce new product ideas off one another and find community through each other's support and help in learning how to navigate the small-business world, Speiser said.
Allison Lambert, a fourth-year sports and entertainment management student, is also a collaborator for Student-Made. She’s been embroidering and crocheting since high school but only started to sell her products years later due to a challenge most small-business creators face: Having to start from the ground up.
“One of the things that I was struggling with before I met Student-Made ... it's hard for the student artists to start. You have to market yourself and that can be really hard because you don't know how to,” Lambert said.
With the support of Student-Made, artists on campus can sell their goods at the Soda City Market. Their art can also be featured in collections on the website with USC-themed categories such as Gamecocks, Cola and Greek Life.
Artists pay $10 a month to display their crafted items on the Student-Made website. This covers the costs of order tracking and customer service. This aids student artists in balancing their time, energy and art, Lambert said.
“You have to get licenses and you have to pay fees and that could be a lot for one artist to handle, especially if you're a smaller business. You know, we're all students," Lambert said. "We can't be spending eight hours a day of our week building up our inventory or marketing or branding and all that."
When USC was added to the Student-Made docket, its team said USC's branch was more successful than it was at Elon University, Reeth said.
"Everyone was buying Gamecock things," Reeth said. "We were like 'these people really have school spirit."