Hello Student Affairs Colleagues! My name is Rebecca Krylow. By day I am an Academic Advisor in the Honors College at Purdue University; by night, I’m filling current orders from my Etsy shop, and jotting down ideas for new items to add. It’s hard to believe that my Etsy shop, theroopouch.etsy.com, opened almost two years ago! The look and feel of my shop has evolved in such a short time. After moving from Delaware to Indiana in July 2013, so my husband could begin his Ph.D, I found myself with plenty of time on my hands. My entire professional career was in Residence Life, and after developing a strong skill set, I had my eyes set on Academic Advising. In between applying for positions, and taking care of my two young sons, I decided to take the plunge and open my shop. I had committed the previous two years to making various handmade gifts for friends and family; creative craft and DIY projects was something I continued to enjoy.
At first my shop focused on one of a kind “quote art”, canvases covered with a mix of paper, paint, and other materials, and topped with an inspirational or motivational quote. I created pre-made items, as well as worked with customers for custom orders. Approximately six months later, I wanted to diversify the products in my shop, and challenge my own creativity, so I added leather key fobs. Currently, key fobs are the only type of product I have. Hand stamping each item, and knowing that I have the opportunity to create something by hand for someone is not something I take lightly. I continue to be inspired by the content of orders, and the creativity of my customers! I recently added leather bracelets, and I have a listing for a “live life full” key fob, of which 100% of the proceeds are donated to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research. My oldest son Joey, has the genetic disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome. My shop has almost 600 orders and I am so proud of how it’s developed, but more importantly, how I’ve developed as a maker and a professional. Instagram has served as a tremendous learning opportunity and as a continued source of inspiration. It’s also been a great marketing tool! Should you want to follow along, my handle is @theroopouch.
Having a “side hustle” makes me a better Student Affairs professional in many ways. It has allowed me to connect with my colleagues by sharing my personal passion. It also allows me to connect with my students; during an advising appointment I can advocate for the importance of finding a passion or hobby, and continuing to cultivate that part of your identity. I hope that my experience inspires others to challenge their own creativity and, or, to reflect and find an activity that they enjoy.
This post is part of our #SAsidehustles series, which focuses on the SA pros with a second passion. These Student Affairs Professionals transition their mental and physical energy into a project that acts as both an emotional release and some level of supplemental income. From Etsy shops to horse braiding, these stories are bound to make you want to find your “by night” side hustle. For more information, check out the intro post by Tom Krieglstein. Be sure to read the other posts in this series too!