North East students packed tents at Robinson Quad on February 11 to fill their hearts and dorms with a range of items sold by small businesses, many founded by students and alumni, at the market in Northeast Valentine’s Day.
The market, which lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., hosted a variety of vendors selling everything from handcrafted jewelry to personal care kits to unique baked goods.
Love in the form of handcrafted jewelry and accessories has attracted a large crowd in the market, including Studio Saya – a Filipino-American company founded and led by Northeast 2021 graduate Mia Narciso. Studio Saya takes online orders from a link on instagram.
“Saya means happy in Tagalog…So I just wanted to make fun, bright pieces that bring people happiness,” Narciso said. “I’ve always liked doing things. My mother growing up taught me how to make jewelry. I’ve always dreamed of having an Etsy, or a small craft business, and I was able to do it in the last year.
For delicious treats, attendees made their way to the table with Sweet Piglet Bakery + Coffee – a women-owned Asian bakery located in Randolph, Massachusetts. Founded and operated by fourth-year philosophy student Meghan Phan and her mother Armanda, the bakery sells a variety of Asian-inspired treats, including lychee crepe cakes, ube cheesecakes, creme brulee pandan and bubble tea, as well as savory foods like smoked salmon sandwiches.
To empower clothing, stationery, notebooks, bookmarks, stickers, headwear and more, attendees visited BGM Clothingwhich was founded by Jae’da Turner, a graduate of the D’Amore McKim School of Business in 2016. Turner’s hobby of using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator turned into a lifestyle brand with the stimulating message of “presence and purpose”.
“I started while I was in graduate school here — really kind of a space for self-expression,” Turner said. “So also a bit like [flexing] new creative skills and tools and different things in design, and has since expanded…I would say crewneck sweaters are definitely my favorite.
Students also found themselves buying “Find your boxes” – curated, personalized, research-backed boxes filled with wellness products that promote healing and foster relationships between people dealing with mental health issues and their loved ones.
A 2019 College of Science alumnus, Mallory Gothelf founded the company to give people a tangible way to express their support for one another. Their boxes include products ranging from lotions, a “badass pimple,” kosher honey lollipops, joint and muscle pain relief ointments, and Asheville Tea Company’s lavender chamomile, among many other relaxing products.
“I wanted to create a physical way for people to say, I care about you, you matter, and I’m here to support you,” Gothelf said. “And pair that with products that would help people and empower them on their journey of self-care and their journey of healing.”
Many people also practice self-care by caring for plants, which Market participants might find at the Emerald City Plant Shop seller. Boston’s first black-owned plant store — founded by Worcester Polytechnic Institute alum Quontay Turner — offers a line of “green babies” to satisfy both avid plant parents and newcomers.
The plant store goes beyond just selling plants, but also sells pins labeled “Plant Parenthood”, a shirt that says “Support your local plant dealer” and a crew neck sweater labeled “Plant Mother” .
“I opened Emerald City Plant Shop, which is New England’s first black-owned plant shop, last May,” Turner said. “Now I’m kind of managing it and growing it, so we have our flagship store in Norwood and hopefully other locations soon.
There were also many vendors specifically focused on sustainability, including Kaolin Beauty, which is a “mission-driven, ethical, non-toxic, zero-waste makeup company that strives for spiritual and environmental excellence.” Founded and operated by Michael Beaudettea fourth-year business administration student, this skincare company sells a range of products from its Gold Cup highlighter to a pink aloe purifying clay mask.
“I basically started it because I saw a major problem with plastic pollution in the cosmetics industry. I wanted to create a sustainable solution that aligned with all of my values,” Beaudette said. “Every product is made with non-toxic ingredients and ethically sourced…and packaged with zero waste.”
rooted life is also a student-owned company with a focus on sustainability. Founded by third-year psychology student Rachel Domb, Rooted Living is an eco-friendly, plant-based snack company that uses compostable packaging instead of single-use plastic and sells nutritious snacks without refined ingredients. Some of their products include Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola and Maple Almond Granola.
“They’re both good for you and good for the planet,” Domb said. “I was an athlete in high school, so I snacked a lot, but I was frustrated with the lack of something that was both healthy and sustainable. I noticed this huge gap in the market that no one was addressing…then came Rooted Living.
In the area of sustainability, the market also presented lake tree, an eco-friendly store, founded by 2020 graduate Henry Turner. This company focuses on a “new approach to sustainability”, creating accessibility for consumers to buy great eco-friendly products. environment. Their products range from zero waste deodorants, coffee filters, shampoo and conditioner bars, sunscreens and more.
“We go out and research and identify the best eco-friendly products for your home and your life and bring them together in one convenient place,” Turner said.
Another company that emphasizes convenience is Bella Suite, a team of three makeup artists co-founded by 2021 Northeast alum Yari DeJesus with her childhood friends Gina Montes De Oca and Jackie Merino. All three offer on-demand makeup services and workshops to women living in Massachusetts. Their expertise ranges from makeup for “photo shoots, formal events, weddings, fashion shows, special effects, makeup classes, or just a girls’ night out.”
“We started in 2013, basically we had a passion for makeup and for the arts,” DeJesus said. “We wanted to express our love for art by delivering makeup to people.”
Students filled the two Robinson Quad tents to search for gifts for loved ones and support small businesses.
“I just wanted to walk around the store and see what great businesses Northeast students are doing and maybe buy some stuff for friends or family,” said Jason Kobrin, a second-year mechanical engineering student. who participated in the market. “It’s really cool to know that students like the ones who graduated here or are still here are continuing and doing cool things.”