Students use Etsy website to sell art, clothing
Kaitlin Slack was about 10 years old when her aunt started teaching her proper techniques of jewelry making.
Now, the Howell sophomore sells jewelry in Native American style on the online marketplace etsy.com.
On Etsy, every user may sell handmade goods, supplies and tools to their own items.
Slack said she believes Etsy is a lot cheaper for businesses that are just starting out and don’t have the time, energy and money to create items on a regular basis.
“I started selling my jewelry online, because it seemed like the biggest available market for me as a high school student with little resources,” Slack said.
Over winter break, she made mittens out of recycled sweaters and made more than $400.
Slack is not the only Central Michigan University student selling creations on the online website.
Brynn Good, a Plymouth senior, opened a shop called Bib&Tucker on Etsy a few weeks ago.
“My shop sells vintage clothing in the categories of outerwear, dresses, blazers, denim, blouses and jewelry,” Good said in an email. “I hope to soon expand to handbags and shoes.”
She said her work started as a hobby in high school, buying and modifying vintage clothing by altering them in some way, such as shortening a hem or adding embellishment.
“My shop began as the love child of my obsession with period pieces and all things vintage and my entrepreneurial spirit,” Good said.
She said she likes using polyester, wool, leather and silk — also in vintage format — which she finds through scavenging garage sales and small fabric stores.
The oldest piece she ever found was a dress from the ’40s. Good said she loves the fact that the items she sells can live past their owners’ use and be given life again instead of being thrown away.
“I modify it (the clothing item) so that it can be used toward the next generation,” she said.
Her dream is to become a business owner one day, and Etsy has enabled her to do so on a college-student budget, she said.
While some other online marketplaces require members to pay a monthly fee, Etsy users only have to pay for each item they put up for sale.
Good said it takes a lot of capital to start a regular business.
She said she tries to price items reasonably enough for college students to afford.
A long wool coat will be more expensive than a polyester top, but if she finds a great deal on an item, she said she will transfer that savings to her customers.
CMU alumna Jesi Parker has made her Etsy shop JustFollowYourArt into a success by painting canvases with inspiring messages and quotes.
“I started painting as a way to de-stress from my classes and many student organizations that I was involved with (during my sophomore year),” Parker said. “My passion for painting grew when I noticed the happiness that my work brought to others.”
Selling canvases has helped Parker raise money for LiveStrong and avoid taking out student loans while in graduate school at Grand Valley State University.
So far, she has raised about $300 for the organization.
After graduation, Good said she plans to buy an actual store in an urban area, someplace where she expects to find customers.
“I’m passionate about what I do,” Good said. “If I could be doing this for the rest of my life, I would be the happiest person in the world.”
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