Nearly a dozen students from middle and high schools in Summit and Stark Counties participated in the first Young Entrepreneur Market (YEM) Pop-up at the Northside Marketplace on Sunday, February 26. When asked about the best part of this event, nearly all the young entrepreneurs said “opportunity”.
“I heard very positive responses from everyone involved,” shared Justin Lepley, Director of Northside Marketplace and CEO of Lepley & Co. Northside Marketplace is an urban market in Downtown Akron that promotes social interaction featuring more than 40 vendors. “Our Young Entrepreneur Pop-up had an amazing range of entrepreneurial creativity,” shared Ilene Frankel, Executive Director at Young Entrepreneur Institute, the organizers of the event.
“Meeting new people is the best part of selling at [in person] markets,” shared Lulu Emanuele, a freshman at Firestone CLC. She’s the artist and owner behind LefthandedHumor. She’s been selling her cards for three years on Etsy and also works on the weekends at a screen print shop. Lulu’s cards are clever, witty, and open from left to right, for southpaws!
Kaylee Carpas, of Anima Candle Co. agrees, “meeting new people is cool and I love the opportunities I normally wouldn’t get.” Anima Candle’s best selling lines are the zodiac and hogwarts candles which are decorated with glitter and dried friends. Kaylee, who attends Revere Middle School, draws inspiration from music, movies, and TV shows. She sold 10 candles and earned $150 in sales at the one-day event.
It’s no surprise that many student businesses got their start during the Covid-19 pandemic when kids had more free time to create. Noah Philabaum, a freshman at Massillon Washington High School, is one of those business owners. Noah’s work is crafted out of vintage silverware. “I make rings, necklaces, and earrings. All my work is handcrafted. I was really bored during Covid and wanted to buy a car”, shared Noah, who took over his basement and made it into a studio. Noah achieved his goal of buying a Toyota Camry while expanding his business.
Jessica Dragar, Outreach and Engagement Manager at Young Entrepreneur Institute was thrilled to bring the Pop Up Market opportunity to 11 student business owners with whom she works. “At YEI, we collaborate with more than ten markets year-round to provide students with selling opportunities throughout Northeast Ohio. We know that kids are creative and entrepreneurial. We’re thrilled to offer them a real world selling experience.” The event was so successful that Northside Marketplace will now be offering a youth-pop the last Sunday of every month. With education, mentorship, and opportunity – kids can build and run successful start-up businesses.
Written by Patty Owens, Young Entrepreneur Market Coordinator for YEI