Money Moves How one student is sewing her way through college
To offset the expenses of college, some students find creative ways to generate income.
Junior Taylor Purdy, a marketing major, makes extra cash working with embroidery and vinyl. She has set up a shop on Etsy called “ItsSewPurdy.”
Purdy comes from an artistic family, and when she expressed an interest in embroidery, she immediately had her mother’s support. For her 16th birthday, she received an embroidery machine, a gift that marked the beginning of a craft that would eventually become a source of income. The following Christmas, she was given a vinyl machine that soon expanded her range of products.
During her junior year of high school, she began selling her work and has continued to do so in college, although it’s been fairly challenging with space constraints.
“It was easier at my own house, obviously, to spread out because I had half my basement,” Purdy said. “In college, I had to simplify a little bit.”
But to Purdy, it’s worth the challenges.
“For me, this became a way to have a flexible job in college without having a structured job because that doesn’t really work with my schedule,” Purdy said.
When asked how she balances work and college, Purdy said that it’s mostly a matter of making detailed to-do lists and setting her priorities.
“I’m very structured in my to-do lists and prioritize what I need to do versus what I may be able to push off to another day,” she said.
On deadlines, Purdy said that it often depends.
“When I’m talking to somebody about a certain order, I’ll usually say, ‘Is there a certain day you need this by?’ That way I at least know when they need it, and then I try to stay to a strict guideline.”
Of course, since her work is creative and mostly commission-based, the pay is not consistent.
“It depends completely on the week because I never know who’s going to walk through the door,” Purdy said. “There are some weeks that I make $5, or, right before today, I did two sorority orders and made close to $250.”
Her business is not something she could make her entire living off of, but it does help some in offsetting her college expenses.
“Does it help? Yes. Does it pay for everything? No,” Purdy said.
Taylor’s roommate, senior James Bard, a sociology major, said he has lots of things she has made and that Purdy makes a lot of vinyls for their apartment.
“Taylor’s products are absolutely beautiful,” Bard said. “Not only does she take time to make every one of them perfect, but she truly enjoys doing it. Even when she has a bulk order for someone like Chick-fil-A or a group on campus, she takes her time with each individual one.”