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How this Etch A Sketch artist from TikTok paid off $ 13K on a student loan

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Jane Labwich got her first Etch A Sketch at the age of four and “has never stopped using it.” In high school, Labwitch, also known as Princess Etching, was a professional. However, she had a hard time deciding whether to take the risk of pursuing an art school or to major in math safely.

“One day I was in the AP Calculus class and was doodles in the margins of my homework. When I looked down, that was the moment of my light bulb. This is my passion,” said 30-year-old. Labowitch talks to CNBC Makeup. this.

Jane Labwich stands next to her art in the museum.

Princess etching

However, following her passion, a high price tag came along. After graduating from her high school, she from Michigan moved to Chicago, where she attended the American Academy of Art, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration. After her graduation, she was left with a student debt of about $ 53,000.

By living with his roommates, working part-time while commissioning Etch A Sketch, and abandoning his car, Labwich was able to pay a student loan of $ 750 a month shortly after graduation, March 2022. By now we have reduced our debt to $ 13,484.58.

“I was very particular about attacking those loans,” says Labowitch. “I think about 20 grands in it were specifically Sally Mae, and I especially decided to pay it off first before the federal loan.

Labwitch has become creative in order to repay unpaid balances. By leveraging her TikTok follow and unique Etch A Sketch art She was able to pay off the remaining student loan in 30 days.

Set “ridiculous” goals

Like many millennials, Labowitch joined TikTok at the beginning of the pandemic. After losing the opportunity to meet her, she began experimenting with livestreaming the drawing process.

“I lost a lot of the work I was doing in sketch art, such as teaching workshops, attending live events, and creating live portraits, so TikTok explored what he could do with it. It was like this new means of. “

Labowitch has begun accepting donations livestream to purchase the new limited edition Etch A Sketches. She never thought she would start making money as soon as she did.

“I found this very ridiculous Etch A Sketch on eBay, and” satisfactorily, everyone, the money I received today is directed to the purchase of this ridiculous item that I don’t need in my life. “said. And it was incredible. Just like that, I raised $ 60 in an hour. I did it again for a farm-themed Etch A Sketch and Bam for $ 40. “

Shocked by the support his followers gave her to get these “any” items, Labowitch decided to do live stream art for the greater purpose of clearing student debt. did.

No debt in 30 days

On March 31st, Labowitch informed TikTok’s followers that they would be doing a livestreaming portrait to donate “roses”.Roses are the worst form of currency Users can exchange in the app, each worth half a penny.

No donations were needed, but many of her viewers were happy to help with the fundraiser after seeing her talent. To pay off her $ 13,484.58 loan, Labowitch needs to raise 2,696,916 roses from her audience.

To track her progress, Labowitch drew a giant “barameter”, hung it on the wall, and colored the progress after each live stream.

“In a day, we were 5% on the way to our goal. From that point on, we kept updating everyone about what was going on, and we got a lot of support.”

With the support of many critics, Labowitch suggested getting a “real job” instead of doing a live stream in cash.

“At first, many people said,’Oh, I’ll never do this, I’ll keep dreaming.’ And as it progressed, the song said,’How bold I am to do this.’ Is it changed like “?”

Despite the denials, after 30 days and a total of 117 hours of livestreaming, Labowitch earned enough money to pay off the loan, and then some, she can only say “completely surreal.” was.

“This is the biggest lump sum I’ve ever made in my adult life. At the push of a button, I can recognize that over $ 13,000 has been deducted from my bank account in one fell swoop. Incredible. Reassurance is probably the best way to explain it. “

Fundraising for higher purposes

Immediately after paying off the student’s debt, Labowitch decided to start another fundraiser to set up a new computer. But shortly thereafter, the overthrow of the Roe v. Wade case put her plans on hold.

“I decided to take a break from this particular fundraiser I was doing. I did a small fundraiser for a planned filiation, but ideally my platform would be a future philanthropic activity. Use it to find the right cause. You can maintain and maintain yourself at the right time. “

From June 24th to June 30th, Labowitch received 28,716 TikTok “diamonds”, each worth 5 cents. This was converted to $ 143.58 and she rounded it up to $ 150.

In addition to commissions and running its own store on Etsy, Labowitch continues to stream Etch A Sketch art for 475,000 TikTok followers. She pursues her dreams and accepts who she is, even if her journey pursues what others may consider to be a “stupid career.” I want to empower you.

“You’re great, you just take advantage of you. I think that’s true for everyone. Just accept who you are, don’t be shy, and people will love it about you.”

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