April English graduated from Western Kentucky University as a chemistry and art history double major, but what she does now isn’t the typical career you’d envision for those areas of study.
This isn’t uncommon in today’s society though. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 2010 only 27.3% of college grads held jobs that were related to their college major. English is a recent alumni works for herself in a career unrelated to her major. She makes and sells rugs through online platforms like Instagram and a website through Big Cartel.
When she first graduated she worked a full-time chemistry position, focused on the security of the science industry. “But I just really didn’t like it,” English said. “It made me realize I want to work for myself.”
English explained that she started making rugs in the spring of 2020 while everything was shut down due to Covid-19. But she said “It's kind of evolved into a career for me, rather than just as a hobby. But I do still like creating stuff. And I think that's what I was meant to do.”
The appeal of doing this for a living is that she can make her own schedule and work on her own time.
“You can create your ideal job,” English said. “If you work for yourself.”
Rug making started as a hobby in March but then slowly turned into a career when she started posting them online during the summer.
“So I was going to work all day, and then I would get home at four, and just work on rugs, and then go to bed,” English said. “It was a lot of work.”
“But I think once I started posting them online, friends and family, and then strangers, started buying them. Then I started getting more commissions, and it just kind of built, like snowballed, from there. So there was a certain point where I was just tired of working at my other job and I wanted to do this full time. So it was, I guess, a year into it when I decided to do it full time.”
English said that starting off, her friends and family were a huge part of building a foundation for her company. She said they helped by being some of her first followers and sharing her business, and they continue to support her and help her creatively with design ideas.
Her college friends have all gone different routes. They’re based all over - in Nashville, St. Louis, or Lexington - and range from doctors to architects. English said she’s the only super artsy one.
English’s college experience and the connections she’s kept exemplifies that your college experience isn’t always about what you study, but the connections you make while you’re there.