UF students turn DIY hobbies into extra cash with online shops – The Independent Florida Alligator

August 23, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

For 20-year-old UF student Marissa Ogburn, making necklaces and pendants in her apartment is far from a hobby — it’s a way to pay for school and fund trips overseas.

“It was my spending money in high school,” she said, “but last year it paid for part of my study abroad … and I definitely use it for school as well.”

Ogburn, a sport management and business junior, is part of a niche group of cash-strapped students who have turned to selling handmade crafts online for extra income.

Seventy percent of college students feel stressed out about their finances, according to a national study conducted by The Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life. Co-author Anne McDaniel said finding a way to make ends meet at school weighs heavily on students.

Still, through free marketing platforms and social media, innovative students are finding ways to survive their financial burden while still having money for their social lives.

On websites and apps like Etsy, Instagram and Gainesville’s Free and For Sale Facebook page, UF students looking to pad their pockets can be found selling jewelry, hand-painted glassware and even shot glasses made from recycled liquor bottles.

Interested customers can contact sellers directly on Etsy, making the transaction simple.

Andrew Zacharakis, the director of the Babson College Entrepreneurial Research Conference, said students may find avenues of income if they create products that resonate with enough customers.

“It might set them up to create a larger, more sustainable enterprise in the future,” he said.

Rebecca Diaz, a second-year UF veterinary student, said she has been selling customized, hand-painted glassware since December. What originally started as a Christmas present for friends has now turned into a modest source of disposable income.

“Veterinary school is basically a full-time job,” the 23-year-old said. “It doesn’t necessarily help with those bills, but it definitely helps with spending money so I don’t have to take out loans to have a life.”