On Wednesday, Oct. 23, students flooded the LaRita Boren Campus Center eager to scope out the first ever Shop the Loop.
The Taylor community showed its support of small businesses, as students showed their creativity, ingenuity and business savvy. Products were intricately and purposefully displayed, giving each station its individuality.
“We always go to farmer’s markets, but we never have something here on campus, and I knew a lot of students had businesses . . . it’s been really fun, because it’s supporting local students’ products and services,” Junior Leah Selk said.
Selk, a public relations major, helped organize the event. She saw it as a great way to encourage up-and-coming businesses on camps, as well as encourage students to develop entrepreneurial skills.
In addition to branching their businesses into the campus market, several students shared their missions and passions at Shop the Loop. For example, freshman Laura Gonzalez’s business selling earrings seeks to promote confidence through bold earrings.
Gonzalez was originally inspired by her mother and grandmother, who both made jewelry. She grew to love seeing the excitement on peoples’ faces when they receive their pair. For Gonzalez, daring earrings are a fun way to walk with confidence.
“Earrings just make a statement and say who you are,” Gonzalez said. “They’re so bold. You can have a simple outfit, and, if you have the right pair of earrings — bam. Gorgeous.”
Taking a different approach to jewelry, junior Meagan Bartow uses materials unique to her business, GEMjewelsCo. Her inspiration lies behind both her love and frustration towards jewelry.
“I just love jewelry and I got sick of spending so much money on something and then having it tarnish and having to buy new,” Bartow said.
After doing some research, Bartow found that German wire does not lose its color. As a result, she created her business model around using German wire. Her designs are intentionally simple and beautiful, while being carefully crafted.
Another jewelry business, Nea’s Jewelry, weaves together faith and jewelry.
Freshman Lynnea Humrichous’s jewelry-making journey began when she prayed over her first homemade bracelet for a struggling friend. After realizing the joy it brought her friend, Humrichous start producing and selling bracelets.
“For me it’s more of a ministry and less of a business,” Humrichous said.
Humrichous prays over each bracelet as she makes them. At Shop the Loop, she was able to witness the reward of her labors of love. She believes that her customers are special and hopes that they feel special while wearing the jewelry.
Like Nea’s Jewelry, 516 Candles is also rooted in faith.
Started by seniors Mikey Maloney and Matthew Beverson, 516 Candles is named after Matthew 5:16, which says. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
The company strives to provide an array of pleasing scents and sees their mission to help affect other people by being a positive light.
In total, there were 23 booths present at the event, which came with a variety of products and purposes. Some students sold curated thrifted pieces, while others offered manicure services. Among other student-run businesses, booths like Assistant Biology Professor Liz Hasenmyer with Second Chance Plants, sophomore Jared Hagan and senior Hudson Taylor with The Par-Tea Boys and senior Josie Starkey with Uncharted Territories offered unique opportunities to customers.
While attending Shop the Loop, freshman Jazzlyn Gavina said her eyes were opened to how she could use her talents to create a business.
“It really inspired me to do something because everybody has talents, but I've never thought about selling it (mine),” Gavina said.
Shop the Loop was also encouraging for many of the vendors, some of which who were making their public debuts.
Selk said she was proud of the impact the event had for everyone involved, including the money raised for the Bahamian relief fund. According to Selk, the event raised over $500 for the fund.
"This event was a brilliant idea that benefited the students who planned it, the vendors and all participants," said Donna Downs, associate professor of media communications. "It was so successful that our PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) plans to continue it each year."