Courtesy of the Student-Made Store
Custom Spotify car charms, succulent earrings and embroidered clothing are just a few items made by App State students that are now for sale online, along with student creations from Elon University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Washington.
Connecting these products is the Student-Made Store, a website and online shopping destination that specializes in selling students’ handmade creations. App State joined its collection of schools this month, with over 10 App State student artists.
The Student-Made Store founders Lindsay Reeth and Ryan Mcelhinney created the store during their junior year at Elon University in 2017 after seeing a need for a marketplace specifically for students.
“We want to have the opportunity and the space to work with each student and their unique art and make that a valuable piece of what our whole product is about,” Mcelhinney said.
After graduating, the pair spent a summer in Boone, where the town inspired them to take the store online independently and continue showcasing student artists.
“Boone is such a crafty and artistic place. Just remembering all of the stuff from creating the Student-Made Store and how inspired we were by art, and so we got the idea to start the store online,” Reeth said. “We actually started the online Student-Made Store at Hatchet Coffee Shop.”
However, App State was not the first to join the store, becoming the fourth school to work with the Student-Made store, which Reeth and Mcelhinney said brought the store “full circle.”
Mcelhinney and Reeth said they seek to highlight university culture and its student artists, which allows them visibility outside of a large marketplace like Etsy.
“A lot of these students sell on Etsy, but that’s kind of a huge collection of products, and it can be hard to find these students on there,” Mcelhinney said. “So, when we go to a school, we want to make that addition to our website about their culture.”
The pair said App State’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains and passion for sustainability made creators from Boone a perfect fit for the website.
“App was the first school where it was really intentional,” Reeth said. “We wanted App’s culture to really shine on our website, and that’s one of our biggest missions now.”
For Addie Magyar, an App State student artist who sells her paintings through the Student-Made Store, the store allowed her to sell her work without confusion.
“I had tried to sell my art but I had no idea how,” Magyar said. “I tried to set up an Etsy shop but it’s super complicated. They change their rules all the time. It just wasn’t worth it.”
Magyar said the store inspired her to paint again after Reeth and Mcelhinney reached out to her through Instagram.
“I hadn’t even picked up a paintbrush since spring semester because of the whole COVID thing,” Magyar said. “It’s just so, I don’t know, it dulls creativity with quarantine and everything. So, having something to motivate me to keep doing art is really nice for me.”
The store has also built connections between buyers and student artists despite the restraints of the pandemic, allowing App State students the opportunity to sell to those who want to support student artists.
“There’s a huge variety that have been selling like crazy, which is really nice to see for the artists community as well,” Magyar said.
Since launching the App State collection on the website, Reeth said the Mountaineer artists have already received orders.
Both Reeth and Mcelhinney are optimistic about the response towards the App State collection and are looking to include more App State student artists in the future.
“I feel like App State is a community that’s really responding to this and is excited about what it’s gonna bring to their campus and community, which is cool to see,” Reeth said.