Friday night, upstairs Lakeside turned into a Student Made Store, where students were able to sell their handmade goods ranging from embroidered hats, knit scarves, astrological paintings to skin care products and personalized journals.
The idea for the store came from juniors Lindsay Reeth and Ryan McElhinney, both of whom are aspiring entrepreneurs themselves. McElhinney said the idea came to him last spring during a leadership philosophy class in which he had to create a sustainable leadership project. The store is just coming to fruition this weekend because of the help of his roommate and Reeth. Reeth said she was eager to join the project because she wanted to help other students feel confident in their work.
“One of our main goals is to just build confidence in the students and their artistic work. To show that people really appreciate what they do, and that they are actually really talented and in the future they could maybe make a business loving what they do,” Reeth said.
McElhinney echoes these sentiments adding that he hopes to showcase these students and get the word out to the entire Elon University community about the work they are doing.
“A lot of these 15 businesses we didn’t even learn about until the Student Made Store came about," McElhinney said. "Now we get to encourage support for them.”
Freshman Griffin Glendinning, a videographer and photographer, used this event to get his name out to the Elon population.
“Back in Philadelphia I work with artists at concerts and I do music videos," Glendinning said. "I started doing photography for promotion so that people can look into it and see that I do video.”
Glendinning sold prints at Friday night’s event and used the evening as a networking opportunity.
“I don’t think a lot of people at the school know I do this stuff, so I just want them to see what I do.”
The Student Made Store also featured clothing items and handmade canvases.
Livi Murray used the event as an opportunity to sell “Trust Your Art” merchandise from her clothing company, PrettyVibes. Trust Your Art is a movement she began while interning over the summer.
“I think spreading good vibes is such a positive and pretty thing, so that’s kind of why PrettyVibes came up in the mix and Trust Your Art is just a segment of that,” Murray said.
Reeth and McElhinney faced a few roadblocks while trying to get the store up and running. McElhinney said they were a little nervous after hearing from Barnes and Noble — who have a contract to be the exclusive retail business on campus — but after meeting with the employee in person, she gave them the go ahead.
“We had a meeting with her and she was a former art major in college, so she was like, 'This was a great idea and go forth with it,'" McElhinney said.
After the success from this past weekend, the two know they will be able to do it again, with goals of eventually holding events to donate the proceeds to charity. But for now, the focus is on student involvement.
“Long term the goal is to definitely have the store open on multiple occasions — hopefully monthly,” Reeth said. “And to have different groups of sellers at different times and maximize student participation.”
Reeth and McElhinney are excited to continue this project and watch the store grow as more sellers become involved.