Working hard or hardly working: Students turn hobbies into businesses

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A demanding curriculum and the demand of customers makes for an unusual college experience. For students who have started their own businesses, this combination is part of their everyday routines.

Jake Martin, ’19, and Griffin Mooney, ’19, started their T-shirt design business Out East Company in November.

Martin and Mooney are both interested in fashion and design. With the help of Andrew Reynolds, Martin’s friend from high school who designs the graphics, the three produce and market T-shirts. Reynolds’ art is brought to Lehigh Valley Printing, where the designs are screened onto shirts to be sold. The trio only designs the graphics when they have time.

“School is our priority,” Martin said. “We usually come up with designs when we have some downtime to just hang out.”

They promote their designs on Instagram and through word of mouth.

Due to popular demand, Martin and Mooney are currently expanding the company to include hats. They are both interested in keeping the company as a hobby through their 20s.

Amalia Cote, ’17, and Jacqueline Reverand, ’17, make candles in glass bottles.

“I got the idea when I saw one in a store in my hometown and I thought it was too expensive, so I decided to try to make one myself,” Cote said.

Their company is called Hoppy Glo. They promote their candles on Instagram, and they also make stickers with their logo that they distribute to every purchaser.

Their candles are sold in Bethlehem at Bonn Place Brewing Company on Taylor Street and Lit Coffee Roastery & Bakeshop on East Third Street.

They launched their company at the beginning of this semester because as second semester seniors, they have more time on their hands. Cote and Reverand don’t plan to continue the business after they graduate in May.

Abby Miller,’19, poses with two of her handmade bracelets. Miller has a page on Etsy where she sells these accessessories, which are often purchased as gifts. (Knot Charntanawet/B&W Staff)

Abby Miller, ’19, began making jewelry in middle school. She started her business, The Green Bracelet, by making bracelets out of recycled materials and selling them to stores in her hometown.

Today, Miller’s company, AJM Designs, produces jewelry and wallets. She sells her designs on eBay.

“As my tastes change, so do my products,” Miller said.

While she’s in school, Miller said she designs and produces upon request. But in the summer when she has more free time, she creates more products. She markets the items on Etsy and sells to stores. Last summer she made and sold choker necklaces.

“This is more of a hobby, but I do want to be an entrepreneur in whatever field I go into,” Miller said.

Like Miller, Ashley Blair, ’17, designs and makes jewelry.

Ashley Blair,’17, shows off one of her handmade bracelets. Blair and her friend sell their jewelry through their own webpage, stampedbyashandem.com. (Knot Charntanawet/B&W Staff)

Blair and her best friend from high school, Emily Smith, a junior at Bucknell University, launched Stamped by Ash and Em in January. They came up with the idea in October, then launched the website and established an Instagram.

Blair and Smith sell handmade bracelets, stickers and tattoos each with quirky sayings.

“We wanted to make affordable, fun jewelry for college girls,” Blair said.

Blair and Smith make the bracelets, print the stamps and stickers and ship the orders. Blair said they divide the work evenly, so it’s not difficult to manage.

“It’s never stressful or hard work because we love doing it,” Blair said.

While Stamped by Ash and Em is a hobby right now, Blair said their ultimate goal is to make a pop-up bus that travels to various college campuses to sell their designs. Blair and Smith are looking into a pop-up shop to sell their designs this summer.

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