Starting a small business is no easy task, but student Rebekah Strickbine, a sophomore double majoring in art and communication, has done just that. Her online shop, powered through Redbubble, offers T-shirts, stickers, prints and more.
Redbubble is an online shop that hosts independent artists and allows them to sell their artwork. The artists upload their artwork into Redbubble and Redbubble takes care of the rest.
Art has been an essential part of Strickbine’s life from a young age. When she was little, she watched her older sister draw and paint. They listened to audiobooks together and drew pictures to tell the story. Their parents were always very supportive and encouraging as they offered feedback. That is something Strickbine still values now.
“For me, creating art has a lot of memories attached to it, and the things that I create are usually tied to stories that I have either imagined or read about. I’ve always loved beautiful things, like nature, friendship and family — the things that give people hope and encouragement — so creating art is a way to try to share these encouraging things with others,” said Strickbine.
When she considered starting a business back in 2021, Strickbine had many questions circling around. She questioned whether she needed an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or an official copyright to protect her work. She even wondered how to turn her physical paintings into digital art.
With all these questions, she started small and created her Instagram and Facebook accounts. She then took it a step further by creating business cards for friends and family to prepare for when she did find a way to sell her work.
“Initially, starting a business felt like a really big challenge, and it was easy to get overwhelmed. I had to learn to take it one step at a time,” said Strickbine.
After she started the social media pages and gave out business cards, she decided it was time to get her products out to people. She set up a booth at a friend’s garage sale and then had her aunt sell some of her art during an art fair.
“All of these steps helped encourage me and teach me the things I needed to know to make the next small step,” said Strickbine.
Newman University allows Strickbine to live out her passion for art by encouraging her to push her boundaries and be creative. The foundation art courses that she took during her freshman year have allowed her to develop the technical skills necessary to create art that resonates.
Professor Shannon Johnston, assistant art professor and director of the Steckline Gallery, shared this with Strickbine’s art class: “It is important for an artist to find their message and figure out what they want to tell the world with their art.”
“Helping students find what they want to say through their artwork is the biggest part of my role. An artist can have all the skill in the world, but if their work lacks passion and perspective finding their audience will be even harder,” said Johnston.
Johnston stated that she is thrilled to see Strickbine take this step and start her art business.
“Rebekah is an ambitious and creative student. Her passion for making art and building a career is clear and I believe will take her far. I am happy to continue supporting her creative endeavors,” said Johnston.
To support or purchase Strickbine’s artwork in the form of prints, T-shirts, stickers and more, visit her Redbubble business page.
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