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Colby student creates first online art marketplace where student artists keep 100% of profits

'The Cubby' is an art marketplace where only college students sell their creations to the general public and students keep 100% of the profits

WATERVILLE, Maine — Online markets are nothing new. These websites open a global market to artists and craftspeople with small businesses. 

But what about a marketplace that caters solely to college student creators?

A college student at Colby College, Josh Kim, thought that market was worth tapping into.

Two years ago, Kim started working on what would become The Cubby website. It's an online art marketplace where college students can exclusively show and sell their work to the general public. It's unique in that students get to keep 100% of the profits they make and there are no fees to post and sell things on The Cubby website. 

"Our vision [is] empowering college students and giving them all the power in terms of financials and support so they can succeed in the future," said Kim, who will graduate from Colby College with a degree in sociology and product design. 

The Cubby launched at the beginning of 2021 and currently has around 600 student creators from more than 200 colleges across the U.S. Kim said so far, students have sold around 500 pieces of artwork that range from watercolors, photography, apparel, sculptures, and jewelry. 

The Cubby is also growing its team. Kim has hired four other college students to help grow the site with the hopes of getting students from all 50 states and most Universities and Colleges online. 

But if they charge nothing for the creators to sell their items and nothing for the general public to buy said items, how do they make money?

They partner with other companies and brands to host competitions that allow those businesses access to the young community of artists.  

"The Cubby community is a really specific, niche, Gen Z, college student market," said Kim.   

Last month, The Cubby was awarded $25,000 from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs' Top Gun program. For more than a decade, the Top Gun program has helped 300 entrepreneurs in Maine grow their businesses. 

"It was a really hard competition this time around but The Cubby was great," said Tom Rainey of Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

Kim said they are using the prize money to help spread the word about The Cubby.

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