On Thursday, April 15, the Missouri State University Student Activities Council hosted a business fair to highlight student business owners on the North Mall.
Alyssa Decker, junior hospitality leadership major and SAC campus activities chair, said the main focus of the event was to showcase student businesses, but it was not a marketplace.
Business owners were allowed to showcase products and students could place orders for later purchase, but no money was allowed to trade hands during the event.
Decker said seven businesses were featured, and around 200 students came and went during the event.
”We had businesses that did hand-painted vinyls ... we had handmade earrings, stickers, different fashion accessories,” Decker said. “It was just a really cool event. We also served food, played music and gave out free t-shirts.”
The event allowed businesses to show off new products, which was the case of Statement Handmade.
Abby McGrath, sophomore sociology major and owner of Statement Handmade, said her business came about during the lockdown in March 2020. She creates monthly collections of handmade jewelry — her most popular being her daisy earrings. McGrath said she mainly operates online, using Etsy as a selling platform but makes sure to use several social media sites to cover her bases.
McGrath said her products range from $10-20, and that most business came during the start of the pandemic but has slowed down in recent months.
McGrath said her favorite part of the event was meeting people, as well as cutting them a deal on her product.
“There was a really good turnout,” McGrath said. “I was doing a thing where if you follow me on Instagram, you get a 10% off discount code. So, I had a lot of people following me and a lot of people interacting with my pages. I saw a lot of people so it was really fun getting to see them.”
For Andrea Collazos, sophomore graphic design major, the event was not her first time showing off at a business fair.
Collazos is the owner of Designed by Grace, a store specializing in hand painted vinyl records and custom signs. Collazos said all vinyls painted are pre-made, but can also be custom ordered. She features two sizes in the larger 33 RPM records and minis 45 RPM.
Prices for regular sized records are $12 and mini vinyls at $10. Collazos operates mainly on Instagram; customers direct message her for pricing and purchase of products.
Collazos said she created the business as a fusion of multiple hobbies and career goals.
“ I love both art and music and painting vinyls was a hobby that joined the two,” Collazos said. “Additionally, the goal I would like to achieve with my degree is owning my own business. So I decided to create `Designed by Grace to fuse the two and make what I enjoy and my goals a reality.”
Decker said SAC is in the process of transitioning members and stipulated the next campus activities chair is allowed to do a similar event in the future. She said she loved seeing events like this come together as it connects students.
Follow Tinsley Merriman on Twitter, @merrimantinsley
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