Student entrepreneurs to sell goods and services through new online marketplace

May 9, 2024
Fourth-year student Tommey Jodie began doing bead work in high school, and will soon sell her wares through the online platform Student-Made Arizona.

Fourth-year student Tommey Jodie began doing bead work in high school, and will soon sell her wares through the online platform Student-Made Arizona.

This article originally appeared in the University of Arizona News.

Wildcat creativity will be on display like never before when Student-Made Arizona launches in the fall. A partnership between Arizona FORGE and Student-Made, the online marketplace will provide students with a place to promote and sell their products and services to the community.

Student-Made was founded in 2017 at Elon University in North Carolina. Co-founder Lindsay Reeth, who was an Elon student at the time, had met classmates struggling to launch small businesses from apartments and dorm rooms. Many of those aspiring entrepreneurs were not business majors and often struggled to identify their audience and effectively market themselves, Reeth said. 



Student Made LOGO

As someone without a business degree herself, Reeth said she understood the challenges faced by college students looking to start a business without formal training and knowledge or access to mentors or startup capital.

"I wanted to create a positive place for students to explore their creativity and to reach an audience in the campus community," Reeth said. "I wanted to create that experience for them so they could gain more confidence. I knew that if I was so excited to see what they were doing, that others on campus would get just as excited." 

Student-Made held its first pop-up market in 2017 on the Elon University campus and today partners with more than a dozen universities across the country to host fully customizable, online retail spaces through which students can sell their handmade goods and services, such as photography, tailoring or tech support. The company has already partnered with Arizona State University, which launched the Student-Made at ASU platform last year.

Reeth described Student-Made as a two-part program. First, Student-Made assists its partner school in establishing an online marketplace for its student entrepreneurs. After the online platform is established, the company hands the site's operations over to a seven-member student management team.

The management teams allow students to better understand what it takes to run a successful business, Reeth said, and includes positions managing social media, events and partnerships, and finance and strategy.

Among those chosen to participate in Student-Made Arizona is Tommey Jodie, a fourth-year student pursuing a double major in nutrition and food systems and food studies.

A pair of beaded earrings made by Tommey Jodie, who will sell her work on Student-Made Arizona in the fall.

A pair of beaded earrings made by Tommey Jodie, who will sell her work on Student-Made Arizona in the fall.

A beadwork artist, Jodie began her artistic career while attending high school in Winslow, Arizona. She was inspired to create after seeing artists post their work on social media and has developed a unique style rich in pastel colors and images inspired by her dreams and the local environment.

"I see butterflies with such vivid colors everywhere, and I want to incorporate that," she said. "I am also inspired by Tucson and the nature here, my friends and music. It's usually a lyric, or something that I'll hear, and then I try to transform that into something that I like." 

Jodie said she was impressed by the networking and community-centric nature of Student-Made. In addition to selling her beadwork on the site, she will serve as the management team's community engagement manager.

Student Made is partnering with Arizona FORGE at the university to launch Student-Made Arizona. A unit in UArizona Research, Innovation and Impact, Arizona FORGE provides education, support and startup acceleration for student and community business ventures. FORGE stands for Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs. 

Julie Barbier Bularzik, venture development education coordinator for FORGE, said Student-Made Arizona offers students who may not have thought of themselves as entrepreneurs the opportunity to see themselves in that role.

"It's one thing to sit in a classroom and learn about business in theory. It's another thing to actually work things out," she said. "This program will give them the opportunity to develop original ideas and original products. I think developing those skills and learning to see yourself as somebody who can be entrepreneurial, somebody who can create opportunities – that's a life skill."

FORGE is working with UArizona Trademarks and Licensing to allow students to produce branded goods, and exploring potential Student-Made Arizona partnerships with CATalyst Studios, the School of Art in the College of Fine Arts, the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in the Eller College of Management, and the John and Doris Norton School of Human Ecology and its Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing.

"I look forward to identifying student entrepreneurs in different corners of campus, from different colleges," Barbier Bularzik said. "I am also thinking about this city. Tucson is filled with artists and creatives, and some of the biggest markets in the state. I look forward to connecting with those folks who want to support students at the University of Arizona."

Student-Made Arizona is currently accepting applications from students interested in marketing and selling their goods and services, as well as those interested in joining the management team. Students can apply on the Student-Made Arizona website or by emailing  

Read original article here.