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Handmade in College Station

Aggieland+Artisan+Market+hosted+the+Summer+Days+Market+at+Post+Oak+Mall+in+College+Station+on+Sunday%2C+July+30%2C+2022.+Local+vendors+were+on+display+during+the+event%2C+providing+customers+with+a+more+personable+shopping+experience.
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Aggieland Artisan Market hosted the “Summer Days Market” at Post Oak Mall in College Station on Sunday, July 30, 2022. Local vendors were on display during the event, providing customers with a more personable shopping experience.

On Saturday, July 30, the Aggieland Artisan Market hosted the “Summer Days Market” at Post Oak Mall for the community to showcase, support and shop local vendors, makers and artists.

An intimate shopping experience, the market brought together a range of craftsmen and boutique businesses selling everything from soy candles to pressed dry flower stickers to truffle butter for eczema. 

Beverly Lara, owner of a small business called “Just Stitchin Fun,” and Liz Summers, owner of “The South Boutique & Gift Shop,” founded Aggieland Artisan Market as an alternative to shopping malls, big box stores and overpriced mainstream handcrafted products. In the spirit of creating an affordable artisan microbusiness, Lara said she was eager to collaborate with local artisans like herself.

“Liz and I realized that promoters, the people that run the markets, are all from out of town, and they’re charging more than this market could demand,” Lara said.

Lara said her handmade scrub caps and embroidered quilted towels have previously struggled to get into big, expensive artisan shows.

“[Liz and I] also have kids, and getting into the bigger shows in Houston is tough. You got family you got to worry about, you got to travel, and then you have to deal with all that,” Lara said. 

Lara said she created the Aggieland Artisan Market to provide Bryan-College Station artisans with more local, affordable shows. Visitors met and interacted with local artists, designers and craftspeople at the Summer Days Market. 

Bridgette Melton, owner of “Piper Sands,” sat in a booth surrounded by sleekly designed candles in reusable ceramic containers.

“We sell 100% soy wax and dye-free candles, and we ensure our fragrances are also clean,” Melton said. “We pour them in ceramic jars so they can be reused as planters or just whatever our customers come up with.”

Like many others, Melton said her business began as a hobby before it became a family-owned business. 

“I was just looking into making candles, and I thought that it would be a fun side hobby,” Melton said. “We just really loved the idea of being able to repurpose a candle jar because we personally have a lot that we just throw away and [repurposing] helps to reduce waste.” 

Heart and Soul, a boutique selling handmade jewelry and air fresheners, was also started as a passion project for Lissett Lopez.

“During the pandemic, I really didn’t have much to do throughout the day,” Lopez said. “I just wanted to create my ‌own stuff instead of buying it and I started watching YouTube videos.” 

Lopez said her hobby soon turned into a business as interest in her products, especially her cowhide-based reusable air fresheners, “got out of control.” 

“Everyone was like, ‘I want one,'” Lopez said. “And now I make [air fresheners] for larger events.” 

Across the mall, close to Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand, the customization business “AleysinA” was among the artisan stands. Combining their names, Ashley Schenk and Sinahy Gomez, founded AleysinA, a company that creates handcrafted items like color-changing cups and hand painted floral canvases. The tragic loss of loved one Abel Rosiles Jr. in the summer of 2020 inspired Gomez and Schenk to start their businesses.

“Our business motto is, ‘Founded by two friends and an angel,’ and it came about after my boyfriend passed away about two years ago,” Gomez said. “We needed something to kind of get out of our heads and bring comfort to ourselves. It’s also a way to help us raise money for his family.” 

With their meaningful products—  including crystal car charms, photo wood burnings and custom LED plaques — AleysinA business intricately unites the “artist” in “artisan.”

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  • Aggieland Artisan Market hosted the “Summer Days Market” at Post Oak Mall in College Station on Sunday, July 30, 2022. Local vendors were on display during the event, providing customers with a more personable shopping experience.

    Photo by Neha Gopal
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