Almost every student at the 5Cs has experience juggling academics, extracurriculars and personal lives, but only a few add running a small business to the balancing act.
Becca Magnan PO ’22, Madison Seto SC ’21 and Carrie Young SC ’21 are three such entrepreneurs; they make and sell art through their respective self-run businesses, making names for themselves within the 5C community and online.
“My shop is, to me, not just a space for physical jewelry, but an outlet for me to express my creativity,” she wrote in an email to TSL. “I love art — I paint and sketch, but this is one outlet that is easy to show to people.”
One of Magnan’s favorite things about her business is “seeing people wearing [her] jewelry around the campuses.” It’s “especially cool knowing that people are buying local,” she said.
Seto is a visual artist who designs stickers and sells them on Etsy while advertising on Instagram. She said her business, Madison Seto Design and Papery, is a perfect match for her college lifestyle.
“My art originally manifested in making large, elaborate, three-dimensional things,” Seto said. “When I came to college I obviously couldn’t take all my tools with me. I ended up turning to two-dimensional art forms that I could digitize in my dorm room.”
She was excited to make the shift to stickers.
“I’ve always liked the idea of stickers and people who cover their laptops and water bottles with stickers,” Seto said. “Stickers aren’t a print you have to frame. They’re art you can have with you all the time to make you feel better, rather than having to be in a certain — maybe formal — space.”
She explained how her art business keeps her creative drive alive: “If I weren’t selling my art I would never make it,” she said. “It’s the process of creating that gives me energy and desire to keep going. Once it’s done, I don’t need the product, so people get to enjoy something I also got a ton of joy from making.”
Seto touched on the importance of the community giving back to student businesses.
“Making your first random sale, in which someone you don’t know buys your product, is just so exciting and humbling. You think, ‘This person doesn’t know me at all and values what I make enough to pay for it.’ It’s a surreal feeling,” she said. “People are willing to support other Claremont students even if they don’t know the impact they have. Everything they do matters to us.”
The small vendor community is also important to Seto. “It’s also really inspirational to see other college students that are doing the same thing because we’re all juggling all these things at the same time,” she said. “We can influence others to create their own businesses because, even though it’s challenging, we’ll support each other. The community [aspect] of it is great.”