Juggling a full college schedule can be a difficult task, but some crafty students have taken up an entrepreneurial hobby on the side: running an Etsy shop.
Lucy Moeller ’21 has been running a clothing and jewelry business called Lucy’s Trinkets and Treasures since April 2020. Like many people around the country, she was inspired to pick up a new hobby by a case of quarantine boredom.
“I found myself extremely uninspired and bored in quarantine, when I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I saw pictures of earrings and thought to myself ‘I can make stuff like that,’ and that’s how it all started,” Moeller explained.
Annie Krege ’23, who runs an Etsy shop called Earth Friendly Fits, had a similar experience when opening her shop earlier this month.
“I have been embroidering and upcycling clothing for a couple years, and I wanted to do something to share all the hard work I’ve done,” Krege said. “I also think that quarantine has given everyone a lot of time to reflect on ourselves and our choices, and moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle is definitely something I’ve become more conscious of and am constantly working on.”
Both students agreed that running a business comes with its challenges.
“The most difficult part is definitely the online work that goes into my shop. It can be very tedious to add listings and do the back work that goes into my page,” Krege said.
Moeller added that, for her, the most difficult part is staying organized.
“There is a lot more that goes into running a business than just making the product itself. I had to keep track of all my orders and addresses to make sure I got products to the right place in a timely manner,” Moeller said.
However, both students said that there are many fun aspects of running their businesses. Moeller said she particularly enjoys working with new and interesting materials, while Krege loves coming up with new designs for each unique piece of clothing.
Krege also said she has learned the value of her time and the importance of not undervaluing her work.
Aside from teaching valuable lessons, each student supports important causes through their business. For Krege, upcycling and repurposing old clothes is important because it supports a key issue for her: sustainability in the fashion industry.
According to CBS News, the apparel industry accounts for about eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Especially toxic is the so-called “fast fashion” industry, which attempts to produce mass quantities of clothes inexpensively, often creating significant pollution in the process.
“I love fashion, but I understand that the industry is one of the biggest polluters of our Earth. I can still foster my love for the industry while actively working to reduce its negative effects on our world, and that’s the perfect medium for me,” Krege explained.
Moeller’s business also supports a cause. Fifteen percent of her proceeds go directly to the Maddie Kate fund, set up by the parents of Maddie Smart ’20 who died of leukemia in the spring of 2019. The money supports the oncology nurses at the Maine Medical Center.
“During the Spring of 2019, I lost one of my sisters in Pi Phi who had been struggling with leukemia. Her parents sent up the Maddie Kate fund in honor of her…because this fund is directly tied to a person close to my heart, I decided to give back some of my proceeds which I didn’t need,” said Moeller.
For students looking to start a business themselves, Moeller and Krege’s advice is simple.
“My best advice is to do it—there is no harm in trying. If it doesn’t work out, there isn’t much lost but if it does, there is so much to gain. Also, if it doesn’t work out right away, don’t give up. Keep experimenting and keep trying, keep putting yourself out there and people will notice you,” urged Moeller.
“I would definitely advise anyone looking to start a business to set deadlines to hold yourself accountable. They will motivate you to stay on task and not let yourself get lazy or give up! It also helps to have a good support system reminding you what you’re working towards,” Krege advised.
Interested buyers can find each of these shops on Etsy and Instagram.