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UMass Student Run Businesses That We’re Obsessing Over

With the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on our society; whether it be economically, socially or mentally, college aged students have definitely taken a hard blow from the repercussions of quarantine and the state of our country today. *Cough cough*--oops, maybe that implemental joke doesn’t age too well. The UMass students featured below are just some of the many insanely talented, committed, and forward thinking business owners and dreamers who have remained steadfast in their businesses throughout all the hardships we have been faced with this year. Keep reading to hear about some of the hottest student-run brands, and feel free to take a look at their social media accounts if you’re interested in their products!


“My name is Alizah Raboin, I’m 20 years old and a student at UMass Amherst. I am studying marketing and communications. Over the summer I lived in Amherst in my apartment by myself. I have always been a creative person so I spent most of my time finding new art projects I could accomplish. I would move from one project to the next, sometimes without finishing. I explored many new things; candle making, necklace making, but nothing stuck. I have always loved clothing and expressing myself through what I wear, however, I could never afford to buy the latest, newest, trends. So, I began thrifting locally here in Amherst. I then bought a cricut machine where I began to make my own designs and print them onto thrifted clothes. My creativity took the wheel and I began creating new designs daily. That’s my favorite part. From there, I decided to begin an Instagram shop where people can buy upcycled thrifted clothes and custom designs. A percentage of our profit is going to BLM organizations. The best part is doing something you love and are passionate about, while also helping the environment.”

@shopxchange on ig


The Gelatery 

“I’m Alex, and my business is called The Gelatery! I primarily sell sneakers in both men’s and women’s sizes. Currently my best selling items are Jordan 1s, Nike Dunks and Yeezy 350s. In the near future I hope to start offering vintage clothing again as there was a big demand on campus when we still lived there. I am from Cambridge MA, a finance major at Isenberg, and hopefully will get into more entrepreneurship and continue to grow my own business. I started The Gelatery because I have personally always loved clothing and sneakers. I started collecting shoes in middle school, and have seen how much the industry has grown over the past few years alone. My goal is to always beat the prices that you would find using services such as StockX or Goat.”

@the_gelatery on ig 


“My name is Sophia Apteker and I am the founder of the Band Together Project. As a sophomore at UMass, I am majoring in journalism and communication. I create and sell handmade headbands with various fabrics and styles on my Etsy page. Most of my headbands are made from old pillowcases or curtains, but occasionally I’ll splurge for some new patterns. I started making the headbands in late May, but I wasn’t really thinking of selling them until a few of my friends expressed interest in purchasing them. When I realized that I could sell these products, I knew that I wanted to contribute to a cause larger than myself. For months, I had been reading about the rising number of Covid-19 cases and alarming accounts of police brutality in the news. I was left frustrated and confused, but I knew I had to do something, even if it was just on a small scale. Since I’m from Western MA, I decided to support organizations in my own backyard, Black Lives Matter of Boston and the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. For each headband that is purchased, 20% of the proceeds are split between those two organizations. It’s been so incredible to watch this small hobby grow, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this project takes me!”

@bandtogether.project on ig


“My main products at the moment are resin rings! They are definitely my favorite thing that I’m selling, although I also do some custom work right now too for people who ask. I started off by mostly selling necklaces, and then started painting on jeans and jean jackets and selling those. It all started with jewelry though and that’s what I’m back to currently! I’m from Amherst, MA so UMass was only about 10 mins from my house. I’m 19 and I’m a sophomore art history major. I got into this because I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was in third grade, and one day I started making necklaces for friends and I got enough people asking me to make them for them that I just decided this was such a good opportunity and ran with it! The thing I’m most proud of and happy about since I started Lippy a little over a year ago is all of the amazing people I’ve met who have helped, modeled, given advice, or given support in any way. Meeting people and making new friends is my passion and that is what drives me to do this for sure.”

@lippythebrand on ig

Qwik Nails

“My business’s main products are press on nails, my favorite item is the “Reach for the Sky” press on nails which are white and blue with clouds on them *pictured above*. I’m from Boston, I’m 19, and currently I am a Managerial Economics major but I hope to apply to Isenburg next semester and declare business marketing. I got into selling press on nails because during COVID, my dad didn’t want me to work because he is vulnerable to the disease. So, I quit my day job as a server (I hated it anyways) and I started setting up my business. My favorite things about running my business are actually finding ways to creatively market myself on tiktok, making sure my clients receive the best service they have, and designing my website. To me it’s something that you can really be creative with and put your own twist on. Marketing is just so cool because you can be so creative with it. It’s not easy...sometimes videos flop but other times videos do super well, so you just have to keep pushing."

@qwik.nails on ig and tiktok

Becca Stevens

Amherst '23

Becca Stevens is a sophomore majoring in communication with a minor in business at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She loves all things health and beauty, but has a rich background in sustainability, which she ties into many of her articles. Becca wouldn’t be Becca without astrology and her headphones, which she’s probably using to find new music or watch a documentary.
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