Focus | Michael Urch and Greta Sowles
In addition to creating Bodien’s banner for homecoming, freshman Robbie Edwards makes a little extra cash by spray painting. Four years ago he sold a painting for $10, and he has been spray-painting ever since. His average painting takes about a minute and costs him $20 in supplies, selling for a few dollars more. Estimating sales of $1,500 a year, Robbie is happy to fund his spray painting hobby while providing him with a few extra dollars
Senior Ryan Hangartner uses eBay and Craig’s List for a lot more than the typical concert tickets or apartment furnishings. He has turned the process of buying garage sale items and reselling them for profit on these sites into a business.
The job started when Hangartner was in sixth grade and his grandmother passed away, leaving behind a house full of sellable items. Until his sophomore year of high school, Hangartner, his father and his brother, P.J., were selling up to 800 of his grandmother’s items every summer.
The Hangartners sold vases, pilgrim glass, dishware and even a set of Mary ‘s Moo Moos, collectable porcelain cows that sold for nearly $70.
According to Hangartner, the family made between $3,000-$4,000 a summer, which put them in the “power sellers” category of people who sell over $1,000 in three months.
Hangartner started going to garage sales his junior year of high school. Here he would look up items being sold at the sale on eBay or Craig’s List to see if it was selling for more on those sites than at the garage sale. If something was, he would buy the item and sell it later for profit. Hangartner mentioned that electronics, like hard drives or computer routers, make for some of the best profits.
Two summers ago, Hangartner went to over 100 garage sales and made over $3000.
“I think it is fun, especially just going to garage sales and finding stuff that I enjoy,” Hangartner said. ”It doesn’t feel like you are actually working when you are sitting on the couch watching TV and putting stuff on eBay or Craig’s List.”
Sophomore Lexi Friesen, her twin sisters Ellie and Emily and her brother Tyler started “The Rusty Barn,” a craft business using wood, metal and creative teamwork. The idea for the Friesen business started last spring when Friesen’s father called her at school to tell her that he had recently bought farmland and needed to tear down a barn on the property.
The siblings started using a plywood cutter to cut designs, such as words or pictures, into metal and nailing it into the old barn wood. At first, the crafts were more experimental, but soon businesses and local stores began showing interest in the family’s work.
The family sent five or six of their signs to a local store, which ran out of signs within four or five days. “It just kept blooming,” Friesen said.
Friesen also described the process of making the signs, noting that it involves teamwork with her siblings. While she cuts the metal, her sisters do all of the painting and staining and her brother cuts all of the wood and puts the finished sign together.
“The Rusty Barn” now has 10 standard designs. Typically the signs are 12 inches by 28 inches and sell for $45. If sold in a store, the Friesen’s will gain 75 percent of the profit.
There is also a 12-by-12 inch sign and a 12-by-42 inch sign sold for $25 and $60, respectively.
Although “The Rusty Barn” began selling the signs in August, Friesen believes that they have sold nearly 200 signs and have made about $2,500. The signs are currently being sold in three stores, but the family has been in communication with a fourth store and a chain of coffee shops that are interested in selling the signs.
“Honestly, it was a really scary summer job because you didn’t know if it was going to work,” Friesen said. “My dad told me that I just needed to have faith that it will turn out.”
You can find out more about “The Rusty Barn” on their Facebook page.
Caroline Held is among a growing number of students who make money by “donating” plasma to BioLife. An appointment only takes about an hour including transportation time. Although the process of giving plasma is not always pleasant, a plasma donor can make $20 in his or her first trip to BioLife. By making another trip, he or she can make $40 more, totaling $60 per week for only two hours of work. According to Held, some Bethel men have even used this as a way to save up for a wedding ring.