Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Jewelry consignment shown in bookstore: Crafters see success

Credit: Faith Bernstein

The Whitman College Bookstore is proactive in encouraging student entrepreneurship on campus. Currently, the Bookstore has consignment arrangements with crafters, who can display and sell their products in the store. The Bookstore keeps 30 percent of the profit, while the artisan receives the rest.

“It’s nice for [the Bookstore] because they don’t have to make any initial investment, and it’s also great for me because the percentage of the profit that I get to keep is likely more than what it would be if I just sold directly to the bookstore,” said senior Katie Lei.

Lei sells the beaded bracelets and earrings she designs and creates at the bookstore. She fostered her craft at a young age, initially starting with friendship bracelets and crochet and knitting projects. Lei has focused on beading for the past few years, which she states is her “main outlet for [her] compulsive need to make things.”

Sophomore Monica Simmons has been making earrings for six years. Initially, she did this as a hobby, but once people became interested in her craft, she began to sell her pieces.

“There are many talented artists and craftspeople with marketable skills [at Whitman],” said Simmons, who has sold her pieces in the bookstore. “I would encourage other students to sell their stuff. I’ve noticed student products are pretty cheap compared to other retail products. And it’s great to see what crafts people create.”

Merchandise and Marketing Specialist Rebecca Thorpe does the buying for the bookstore and is in charge of consignment for students who choose to sell their products in the store. She made the decision to let Simmons and Lei display their pieces.

Both Lei and Simmons report making a profit; however, neither are planning on going into the jewelry business or retail.

“Rebecca has been so supportive and absolutely wonderful to work with through this whole process,” said Lei. “I would definitely encourage other students to try to sell their products on campus.”


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