Shopping from students: entrepreneurs of App State


Courtesy of Lauren Creed

Student entrepreneur Lauren Creed’s artwork of Belk Library.

Jaclyn Bartlett, Reporter

From painting and graphic design to embroidery and calligraphy, App State has a wide variety of artistic talent. For these three students, art is not only a method of self expression, but a business as well.

Graduate student Madison Hensch is currently studying for her master’s in special education while running her embroidery business, Madison & Thread, on the side.

What started as a way to keep busy during the pandemic soon became a way for Hensch to earn money while enjoying her hobby.

Hensch’s embroidery work for her business, Madison & Thread. (Courtesy of Madison Hensch)

“It just means so much more to artists when you pick their pieces out, where you get something personal from them,” Hensch said about supporting small businesses. “You’re getting more personalized pieces that actually have love and care put into them.” 

Hensch began dabbling in embroidery in the summer of 2019 but did not have the time to put serious practice into it until the pandemic hit.“People would always tell me, ‘you should sell this, can I buy this?’ and things like that, and I was like, ‘yeah, maybe one day,’” Hensch said. “It’s unfortunate that COVID happened, but it did give me a lot of time to work on my pieces, and that’s kind of how I decided I was going to start selling them because I had the extra time to make them.”

Hensch said she gets inspiration for her embroidery from her love of nature, and a majority of her pieces, as well as her website and Instagram, follow a natural theme, using mostly green colors. 

Hensch’s pieces often take multiple hours to finish, with her longest commission taking over ten hours. 

Customers can buy from the options available on her website or contact her for personal commissions. 

Another student and small business owner is senior and studio art major Inaya Mack, who started her calligraphy business, Letters of Grace, during her sophomore year. 

Mack sells a variety of products ranging from clothing to home decor on her website. (Courtesy of Inaya Mack)

Mack found her talent for hand lettering her freshman year when she spent her free time doodling and replicating designs from Pinterest. 

She began using her skill to write inspirational quotes to put around her room and keep her motivated and eventually started her Instagram to share her art and words of encouragement.

“I thought maybe other people would like to see it too, because it’s a creative thing, it’s art, but it’s also something where you’re able to share encouraging words and things like that,” Mack said. “I thought it would be helpful for other people to see those things written out in a creative way.”

She didn’t plan on turning her art into a business until she started getting commissions. Now, she sells a variety of products from clothing to home decor and has designed wedding decorations for multiple events. 

Lauren Creed, senior and studio art major, is another student entrepreneur who runs a graphic design and art business, Studio Seven. 

Creed said she has been interested in art all her life but really began to develop her skills and style in high school and college.

Creed’s artwork of Kidd Brewer Stadium. (Courtesy of Lauren Creed)

Her business is not only a way for her to make money but something that helps improve her mental health.

“I struggle with anxiety so, it’s a way to help me relax and like a form of therapy too,” Creed said. “So, I can have fun with it, but also I can make what I want and try to sell that and get that out there too. So, it’s beneficial for both.”

On Creed’s website, customers can buy prints and artwork or contact her for graphic design work. 

All three students also sell their products with the Student-Made Store, a business that sells and helps promote student-made products.