November 8, 2021 at 1:30pm
Dane Lisser

Makers, Crafters and Artists showcase products

Starting your own business can be thrilling and exciting, but it can also be a daunting experience that requires much planning and key decision-making. Sometimes all you need is the right space and motivation to make it happen. 

Millikin University's first Makers Market, hosted on Nov. 6 in the University Commons, gave makers, crafters and artists that space to showcase a wide variety of goods and services.

In an interview with the Herald & Review, Yuhan Hua, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Millikin said, "You need to have hands-on experience and really go through with it. It's important for students to recognize what they create and what people are willing to buy because there's actual value in that."

Millikin Makers Market

Photo courtesy of the Herald & Review/Mateusz Janik

Organized by Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship and Women in Business student organization, the event featured more than 40 vendors made up of Millikin students, faculty and staff, as well as local middle and high school students.

Items at the event featured clothing, personalized gifts, soaps, candles, tumblers, jewelry, artwork, greeting cards and baked goods. Some of the services included makeup, photography, and cello services for weddings and other special events.

"The market gives students more of an incentive than a letter grade because people are paying for their products and they are being recognized by strangers," Hua said.

Elizabeth Wolpert, administrative and program assistant at the Center for Entrepreneurship and advisor for the Women in Business student organization, said the president of the student group came up with the idea of creating the market to bring awareness to all the student businesses on campus and create a setting for them to sell their products. 

"The Center for Entrepreneurship is a resource on campus that we want for all of the students to know that they can utilize throughout their business journey," said Wolpert. "We're here to help no matter what your major is, and that's something we really wanted to showcase."

Bethany Gotts, program coordinator for Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship added, "What we would really like for our community and other people to see is the entrepreneurial spirit across Millikin. The entrepreneurship goes beyond just the business school and what students are doing is really phenomenal, whether they are creating artwork or they are making jewelry."

Bailey Benton, a senior business management major from Argenta, Ill., owns Proverbs 31 Boutique. She says the market is a great opportunity for students to get their name out.

"My main mission and goal for my business is to sell modest clothing to women," Benton said. "I want people to promote more of Millikin's business side and being a Millikin business major, promoting that and all the opportunities that the university offers."

Photo courtesy of the Herald & Review/Mateusz Janik

Gotts said the Center for Entrepreneurship and Women in Business student organization had a goal of 20 vendors, but had to move spaces in order to have a bigger venue to house everyone in one spot.

Skylyr Choe, a sophomore art therapy major from Gurnee, Ill., said her printmaking course professor encouraged her and other students to come out to the market and sell their artwork to see if it would be beneficial to them.

"What I hope to get out of this is just a little bit of experience with selling and marketing out to the public in general," Choe said. "There are a lot of students who come and haven't really had that experience, such as myself, and they might find it helpful to start off in an environment that's filled with a lot of their peers so there's not as much pressure."