Students open small businesses


Maggie Kirby (left) is a senior majoring in Accounting and Digital Marketing. She owns That’s Sew Mags and does embroidery and pressed flower pieces. She began selling her artwork in March of 2019 and says that the Coronavirus has only affected her small business minorly. Maggie can be found on Instagram @thatssewmags.

Here at the University of North Alabama, many of our students are artistically talented. They create beautiful pieces, just with the stroke of a paint brush or the push of a needle. 

It is from this immense talent that many students have moved to starting their own businesses in hopes of selling their art.

Molly Stephens, a senior majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in English Language Arts is one of the many students doing just that. 

“I’ve always painted but actually establishing a business and selling art and stuff was May 2018,” said Stephens. “I think I started to do something that I enjoyed and if people bought it, they bought it and if they didn’t, they didn’t.”

Stephens owns Mezzy Paintings and has a style that she describes as “dorm decorations” and more personal stuff that would be able to be produced a lot at one time. 

“I think it has been successful,” said Stephens.  “I think the reason it is, is just constituency. I always try to do whatever I can when it comes to paintings. I accept different challenges and having a really good support system and networking.”

Mezzy Painting started out as Stephens selling her work to her sorority sisters and it then grew from there to what it is now. 

“Just the reaction is worth so much more than what they pay for the painting,” said Stephens. 

Stephens started selling before the coronavirus pandemic, but she says the virus has positively affected her business. Due to COVID, Stephens has been able to sit down and try things she would not normally do and come up with new things to sell.

Stephens can be found on Instagram and Redbubble @mezzypaintings. 

Another student who started her own art business is a freshman majoring in Fine Arts with a Painting Concentration.

Maeve Eubanks owns MaeveEubanksShop and she said that Before college her mom found a poster of what she wanted to do from kindergarten and hers was being an artist. 

“I’ve been doing arty my whole life, but I started selling my stuff when I was a freshman in high school,” said Eubanks. “I knew it was something I wanted to do when I got older as a real business. So, I wanted to start early and really figure out what it looked like to do.”

Eubanks explained that when she sets her mind to something, she does it.

“I love bright colors,” said Eubanks. “Over the summer, I really started playing around with really bright landscapes and animals. I really love things that are alive.”

Recently, Eubanks began selling her work on Etsy and she says that she has been quite successful. 

“I am almost at double digit sales on Etsy,” said Eubanks. “Recently I’ve gotten my first out of state order.”

She said it has been difficult to get her name out of the Shoals area, but through the use of selling and promoting her work on apps like TikTok, she has surpassed that barrier. 

“I want to make other people happy with it [her art] too,” said Eubanks. “It’s why I lean towards bright colors, I want to bring people a little bit of joy.”

Eubanks explained that there is a common misconception around artist and art majors. 

“This is my life, I sold my soul for this stuff,” said Eubanks. “I dedicate all my free time to this. It’s not at all easy to be an art major. We’re [art majors] not lazy, we’re just a little different.”

Eubanks’ can be found on Instagram @meowvey and on Etsy @MaeveEubanksShop.

The creativity amongst UNA’s students does not stop there however. Maggie Kirby, a senior majoring in Accounting and Digital Marketing also brings joy to the student so UNA.

Kirby owns That’s Sew Mags Embroidery where she says she is “sewing one happy moment at a time.” 

“I was looking for a way to get out my creative energy and I gave it [embroidery] a try and immediately fell in love… it’s slow, but very soothing and relaxing to sew and make art.”

She started selling her artwork in March of last year, after her friends encouraged her to do so. She explained that it was a great way to have a side business while going through school. 

“My aesthetic is ‘cottage core’ but I love embroidery work, line art and renaissance art,” said Kirby.

She says her favorite piece to create is a tie between her pressed flower pieces and wedding pieces.

“I love making them [wedding pieces] because it’s a commemorative memory for one of the best days of their lives,” said Kirby. 

Kirby explained that she tries to not measure her success by someone else’s, so to her, her business has been successful. 

Kirby can be found on Instagram @thatssewmags and 

Another way students of the University are finding creative outlets is through creating jewelry. 

Sophomore, Laurel Ann Butz is majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and is the owner of Dwell Jewelry Design. 

“I just wanted a creative outlet that others can benefit from,” said Butz. “I started making it in April of 2020.”

Butz opened her business and started making her jewelry during the Coronavirus pandemic, and she explained that her business has been affected by the virus. 

“The general product and my side of shipping has not been affected, but the resource to the materials has been cut down to half after COVID,” said Butz. “I couldn’t ship things all of the sudden.”

Even though this affected Butz, she did not let that stop her from creating her pieces. 

“I wanted a jewelry line that did not highlight the jewelry, but more to highlight the person,” said Butz. “Simple and sustainable pieces are at the heart of it [Dwell Jewelry Design].” 

Her jewelry is polymer clay that is mixed with metals.

Butz explained that it is a growing platform in today’s world. Her style comes from taking simplistic shapes and making sure they’re broken down so it is pleasing to the eye. 

Butz can be found on Instagram

Finally, students have also found ways to create art through the production of stickers and vinyl. Logan Hossley, a sophomore majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Digital Marketing with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. 

She owns River City Designs and says that because she grew up on the river her whole life and then she came to UNA, which is also close to a river, that it inspired the name. 

“Both of these cities have been such a big part of my life and growth and being who I am,” said Hossley. “That’s why I want to give back to both of those places that I lived a little bit.”

She first started her business back in Sept. after she saw some other people doing it and she wanted to make stickers for the Big/Little reveals within her sorority. 

“I kind of watched some YouTube videos and I was like ‘well I can do that’ because I like to draw,” said Hossley. “So I started looking at some ideas and stuff, started drawing them and then I sold in our [her sorority] GroupMe.”

After that, she realized she really enjoyed making stickers, so she decided to continue to do so. With her stickers, she likes to design things after she sees something she likes, but with her sweatshirts, her style is minimalist. But, she also does custom sweatshirts where she can do what her customer wants. 

“I think people like to support small businesses,” said Hossley. “It’s more personal when it’s small owned and it’s not big companies making stuff and it’s handmade.”

Hossley can be found on Instagram @shoprcd and on Etsy @RiverCityByLogan.