Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay Reeth.
Hi Lindsay, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My name is Lindsay Reeth and I am the Founder of Student-Made, a network of online shops customized to college campuses that feature products handmade by students! The mission of Student-Made is to offer support to students growing businesses on campus, and also to provide hands-on experience to a team of students who manage the shop on campus as well.
I began Student-Made when I was a student at Elon University, with my partner Ryan McElhinney. We began meeting students who were running small businesses out of their dorm rooms and were immediately inspired. We also quickly found out not many on campus knew about these student businesses, and that they were reaching customers from all over the country, but not their own campus community.
We were so amazed at what their students were doing and we knew that others would be too, so we created Student-Made! It began as a pop-up shop on campus with about 15 students showcasing and selling their products. The turnout was amazing, and we repeated the same event on-campus the following year, this time with 35 students selling their products, and over 4,000 people in attendance.
When it was time for us to graduate we didn’t want to give up on Student-Made and knew there was a future for this community. That summer after graduating we turned Student-Made into an online shop that could run all year long, and from there began spreading to other colleges in Carolina.
Today, Student-Made is at the University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina, Appalachian State University, Clemson University, and North Carolina State University. And this network will continue to grow as we are currently in the works of launching branches of Student-Made at 8 new universities next Fall!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
This is a tricky question… it definitely has not been a smooth road, but I don’t think we ever expected it to be. We decided to build a business from nothing but an idea, and we knew that wouldn’t be easy… but we were so excited to take on the challenge because we loved what we were doing.
I still can’t believe how much we have learned by starting and running this business, which is why one of my greatest passions is providing an opportunity for college students to gain this experience by running Student-Made on their campus!
I really believe that you can do anything if you love it, and I love working with students and helping them build confidence in their passions.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am the Founder and CEO of Student-Made LLC. My day-to-day is running and managing our network of Student-Made branches, as well as our expansion to new campuses. I am most proud of the students that I get to work with every day.
They are passionate and have so much to offer, and I love seeing them lean into their management roles with Student-Made and grow more confident in their skills. I think what sets me apart from others is that I have learned to balance structure and childlike whimsy… working with college students has taught me that!
As a business owner and manager, organization and structure are incredibly important, but only when it is balanced with enough spontaneity and fun.
I love providing welcoming environments for students to learn and really feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and in order to do that, I have become very good at creating fun with enough structure to ensure success.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson I have learned along this journey is to invest in people and relationships.
I believe the thing that makes a company most successful is the people that it is made of, not the idea itself. Strategy and plans can only take you so far, but it’s the people who drive the energy and growth of a company.
So I am always reminding myself that my time spent building strong relationships, teaching tangible skills, and fostering community is my most important work.
- Website: www.studentmadestore.com & www.studentmadeunc.com
- Instagram: @studentmadestore & @studentmade_unc