Elon’s Student Made Store launches its website Sept. 2, in an effort to support creativity and entrepreneurship among students. The website showcases different artists on Elon’s campus and gives them a platform to sell their work online.
The alumni behind the project, Lindsay Reeth '19 and Ryan McElhinney '19, said this project is something they are excited to still be a part of, even after leaving Elon.
“We aren’t artists ourselves, but we say that our art is enabling people to express theirs,” McElhinney said. “We really take joy and pride in giving people their outlet to share what’s meaningful to them.”
Neither Reeth or McElhinney come from artistic backgrounds, but Reeth says despite this one thing the two share with artists is a passion for entrepreneurship.
“It drives us a lot seeing the artists we work with who are budding entrepreneurs,” Reeth said. “Giving them the platform to do that and exposing them to a great campus of professors and alumni is something that is really exciting for us and something that we can totally get behind.
Reeth and McElhinney want to support these students as entrepreneurs but also through their mental health. One feature on the website showcases each seller’s background as far as what their art means to them.
“We want to hear from them what their art does for them in terms of their own feelings of well being and mental health and expression,” said McElhinney. “We want them feeling like they can trust their own process and creativity on campus.”
According to McElhinney, the website allows this project to continue to grow. The first Student Made Store pop-up had roughly 100 visitors and supporters for the artists. The second store had almost quadruple the amount of students.
Starting the store in 2017 is one of Reeth’s favorite accomplishments at Elon.
“It was the number one way that I got to know really what was behind people,” Reeth said. “I was walking by them and being able to know what makes them feel the deepest sense of themselves, I really loved that.”
This deep connection with people and the connection between the work and the artists is what makes Reeth and McElhinney to continue this project in Boston, where they now live after graduating in 2019.
They hope the store will continue to grow by connecting with artists at other universities. They have made contacts with professors at Appalachian State and University of South Carolina, but are waiting to see how the website launch goes with just Elon students before expanding.
The store www.studentmadestore.com is live now.