Student Spotlight: Sydney Steele

February 1, 2019
4 min read

Originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Sydney Steele is a current junior at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she majors Illustration, while also running her own business — The Cash Monet. The Cash Monet is an online shop where she sells original, hand painted canvases and posters that are suitable for all ages. She also creates custom pieces. We spoke to Sydney about her experience running a business while in college, how she balances all of her responsibilities, and what the future holds for The Cash Monet.

The Cash Monet’s unique and trendy prints are perfect for any dorm room. From pop-culture, celebrities, to mesmerizing designs, there is truly something for every college student.

Lexi: What was your motivation behind The Cash Monet?

Sydney: I was always painting, doing art, but I never really found something that I loved until I got to school and decided that I didn’t want to be just a student. I wanted to do my own thing, start working now and start making my own money. I opened up my online shop through shopify and started a website [to sell my art pieces].

Lexi: How did you get involved in painting and art in the first place?

Sydney: Early. In fourth grade when I was really young, my parents put me through art lessons. They saw something in me, so they wanted me to keep trying and to just do the best I can.

Lexi: What is it like running a business while in college?

Sydney: Honestly, it’s really hard. My business comes first, before anything else. My teachers are pretty understanding about that now. At first it was really hard, because I didn’t tell anyone, but now that I am pretty successful, they understand that this comes first. I do manage my grades and I do fine in college.

Lexi: What do you think the future of The Cash Monet looks like?

Sydney: Honestly, it is unknown. I am spending all summer just working on it, so I have many, many ideas. Eventually, I want to go into clothing. I love designing my own clothes. I also do want to start getting my work into galleries, so many things. Every day changes and I am excited to see what this path will take me on.

Lexi: Will you continue to do this post grad?

Sydney: My goal is to get my business running successfully enough so that I will be able to do this as my full time job.

Lexi: A little bit of a side note, but The Cash Monet pieces are great ways to spice up a boring college dorm, blank apartment wall, etc. What are some of your best college decorating tips/ hacks including pieces from The Cash Monet?

Sydney: I think what I am really excited for to work with Blue-Prynt is that I am going to be creating custom pieces just for them. This will be for whatever kind of theme you want, if you want more of a relaxed, blue theme or any other color. The custom orders give you the opportunity to get something for what each person likes, and their theme. For dorms, if you want something more edgy, you can get neon colors. If you would like something more relaxed, you can do pastel colors. There’s a great variety.

Lexi: What is your ideal college living space design and decor look like?

Sydney: For college living space, for design, I would go more of with a simple picture with a quote or a saying. I think that would flow really well with college decor.

Lexi: Who are your business and artistic role models?

Sydney: Alec Monopoly, I love him. Gary Vaynerchuk, love him. He is such an encouraging entrepreneur. My role models include people in my immediate family, who I look up to and aspire to be like.

Lexi: What are three words to describe what you hope for the future of The Cash Monet?

Sydney: Success, inspiration, and color.

Lexi: I know you are currently abroad in Barcelona, can you tell me a bit about what that’s like, how you’re still running your business, and how it influences you and your work?

Sydney: Honestly, going abroad could not have come at a worse time, because my business was just blowing up. I am still able to do all of that while I’m here, and every weekend while I’m traveling I am so inspired to do new things. It really does open up a new path of inspiration, seeing the world.


Sydney is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, but is still running her business. You can follow The Cash Monet on Instagram here and keep up with her business and website here.


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Warby Parker