How this Etch A Sketch artist on TikTok paid off $13K in student loans

ByLavinia E. Smith

Aug 2, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jane Labowitch picked up her to start with Etch A Sketch at age four and “never stopped using it.” By significant school, Labowitch, also acknowledged as Princess Etch, was a professional. However, she struggled to make your mind up no matter whether to consider a risk and pursue art school or perform it protected and key in mathematics.

“A person working day I was in my AP Calculus class, and I was doodling in the margins of my research, and I appeared down and that was my lightbulb minute in which I was like, this is my passion,” Labowitch, 30, tells CNBC Make It.

Jane Labowitch standing next to her art in a museum.

Princess Etch

But following her enthusiasm came with a hefty value tag. Immediately after high college, the Michigan indigenous relocated to Chicago to go to the American Academy of Art, the place she received a bachelor’s degree in illustration. Soon after graduation, she was remaining with about $53,000 in student credit card debt.

By residing with a roommate, functioning section-time even though carrying out commission Etch A Sketch artwork and ditching a automobile, Labowitch was in a position to start off shelling out $750 a month on her scholar financial loans shortly immediately after graduation, and introduced her credit card debt down to $13,484.58 by March 2022.

“I was pretty adamant towards attacking those loans,” claims Labowitch. “I would say about 20 grand of that was Sallie Mae especially. And I was significantly identified to get that paid out off 1st ahead of my federal financial loans, being aware of private financial loans form of engage in by diverse rules.”

To pay off the outstanding equilibrium, Labowitch received creative. By leveraging her TikTok adhering to and unique Etch A Sketch artwork, she managed to pay out off her remaining student loans in 30 days.

Setting the ‘ridiculous’ objective

Like quite a few millennials, Labowitch joined TikTok at the starting of the pandemic. She begun experimenting with stay streaming her drawing system soon after losing in-man or woman prospects.

“I experienced shed a large amount of perform that I was doing with my sketch artwork, like educating workshops, going to dwell occasions and executing dwell portraits. So TikTok was kind of this new avenue to examine to see what I could do with it.”

Labowitch started out accepting donations on her dwell streams to get new limited version Etch A Sketches. She had no plan that she’d start off making revenue as promptly as she did. 

“I uncovered this incredibly silly Etch A Sketch on eBay. And I mentioned, ‘alright, everyone, any resources that I acquire right now are heading towards the obtain of this absurd merchandise I do not will need in my everyday living.’ And it was incredible. Just like that, in an hour I experienced lifted $60. I did it once again for a farm-themed Etch A Sketch and, bam, $40.”

Shocked at the help her followers gave her to acquire these “arbitrary” merchandise, Labowitch determined she would do stay stream artwork for a bigger bring about: wiping out her college student financial loan credit card debt.

Debt cost-free in 30 days

On March 31, Labowitch informed her TikTok followers that she’d be doing are living streamed portraits for “rose” donations. Roses are the most affordable form of currency consumers can trade on the application, every well worth fifty percent a penny.

Though donations were not expected, quite a few of her viewers had been content to help fundraise after seeing her talent. In purchase to pay back off her $13,484.58 in financial loans, Labowitch would have to elevate 2,696,916 roses from viewers.

To hold keep track of of her progress, Labowitch drew a big “rose-ometer” and hung it up on her wall, coloring in her development after each dwell stream.

“I got 5% of the way to my purpose in 1 day. From that position, I just stored updating all people on how things had been likely. And I bought a ton of assistance.”

With the aid came quite a few critics, who suggested Labowitch get a “real task” rather of doing reside streams for income.

“In the starting, I got a large amount of people today saying, ‘Oh, you might be never ever likely to do this, preserve dreaming.’ And the much more it went on, the tune modified to like, ‘How dare you have the audacity to do this?'”

Despite the naysayers, right after 30 days and 117 full hours of reside streaming, Labowitch had built enough revenue to pay back off her loans and then some, a minute she can only explain as “entirely surreal.”

“It truly is the most significant solitary lump sum payment I have at any time produced in my adult life. Just to hit that button and realize that about $13,000 was just becoming withdrawn from my financial institution account in just one fell swoop. Remarkable relief is possibly the ideal way to explain it.”

Fundraising for a larger lead to

Shortly just after paying off her student financial debt, Labowitch made a decision she would start out yet another fundraiser for a new personal computer setup. But shortly just after, the overturning of Roe V. Wade created her place individuals strategies on keep. 

“I decided I’m heading to choose a break from this distinct fundraiser that I was executing. I did a lesser fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. But what I would preferably like to do is use my platform for potential philanthropic endeavors, discovering the correct brings about at the proper occasions, although however becoming able to preserve and sustain myself.”

From June 24 to June 30, Labowitch obtained 28,716 TikTok “diamonds,” each and every well worth 5 cents. This translates to $143.58, which she rounded up to $150.

Labowitch is continuing to do dwell streamed Etch A Sketch artwork for her 475,000 TikTok followers, in addition to commissions and working her have shop on Etsy. She hopes her journey empowers other people to observe their dreams and embrace who they are, even if they are pursuing what other folks may perhaps deem a “silly career.”

 “Just capitalize on you, since you happen to be amazing. I imagine that’s legitimate for all people. Just embrace who you are, have no shame, and persons are gonna really like that about you.”

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