Student businesses thrive, foster creativity

By Rebekah Otey
Staff Writer

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With any college student, time is always of the essence, and many find it hard to juggle being a full-time student with involvement in campus organizations, church and part-time jobs, not to mention still trying to have a social life.

Imagine managing your own business on top of that.

For Union students Ben Hamilton, Jeff Lancaster, Courtney Searcy and Kathryn Buncik, doing so is nothing new.

Hamilton and Lancaster, both junior digital media studies majors, own Moonshine Print House, which they run out of their dorm room.

Searcy, senior art major, and Buncik, junior art major, run “This World I Found,” an online greeting card business.

“It has become something that we really want for Jackson, as we have come to really care about the city and the art community here,” Searcy said. “We’re hoping to open up a shop downtown as soon as possible after graduation.”

Searcy has been making cards since childhood, but she first started selling her cards this summer.

Buncik and Searcy sold their cards at an arts and crafts fair along with other artists in September. It turned out to be a success.

Why start a business as a full-time student when it seems the venture would only add stress?

“We were required to take a couple of graphic design courses, and I guess you could say that is when things really took off,” Lancaster said.

“We found a mutual admiration and respect for designers all over the globe, but one thing we kept coming back to was the medium of screen printing.”

Lancaster and Hamilton spend countless hours and many sleepless nights running the business. They first have to design a product, which could be anything from T-shirts to cards and posters.

The two then create stencils, followed by inking the paper.

Many times, the inks have to be mixed to create the exact color they want. Finally, the ink is applied to the material.

So far, Moonshine Printhouse has produced Valentine’s Day cards, several posters and Union University “plague” T-shirts (related to the recent stomach virus outbreak across campus).

They are talking with the writer of a music blog in Nashville about making prints for its shows.

For Searcy and Buncik, after much deliberation and testing the waters, they decided to start their business in late January this year.

The two must design the cards and then keep up with orders online so they can ship them.

Greeting cards – some cute, some serious, and everything in between — are available at

Having a business as a full-time student has its challenges but also can be beneficial, Lancaster said.

“It affords us the opportunity to seek out the kind of clients that we want to work for and, honestly, it allows us to make whatever inspires us,” he said. “We don’t have consistent hours or an office or anything like that, so with things the way they are now, we just kick our roommate out of the living room for an evening and make a mess.”