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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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McFerrin Marketplace: By Aggies, For Aggies

Photo courtesy of Clay Taylor

A student marketplace to support Aggie owned businesses hosted by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. 

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the most current information. 
The McFerrin Student Marketplace will be held on Thursday, April 13, from 4-7 p.m. at the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. 
Started in the fall of 2021, the marketplace invites student vendors to showcase their businesses to other  Aggies.With free parking and on an Aggie Spirit bus route, the center works to help Aggie entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life.
Communications Manager Lara Robertson described the marketplace as an opportunity for Aggie entrepreneurs to share their goods, products or services with a paying audience. Robertson explained that students often struggle with building a network of customers and the marketplace gives them an opportunity to do just that. 
“The biggest advantage [for students] is getting to broaden their customer base,” Robertson said. 
Though the event is generally held once in an academic year, its recent success prompted the center to launch the first spring marketplace. Robertson said the marketplace is a great place for members of the university as well as the Bryan-College Station area to be exposed to new businesses. 
“Because [the marketplace] does have such a range of goods and services, it is not specific only to student shoppers,” Roberston said. “The event is definitely [one where] anyone can find something that they’re interested in.”
First year education administration doctoral student Samuel Evans is a returning vendor at the McFerrin Marketplace. According to Evans, his business Bricoleur has the slogan “Another Day, Another Play” and works to make the best use of available resources. As a three-time Texas A&M student, Evans said he has had the opportunity to work with the McFerrin Center in the past.
“[The marketplace has allowed] me to get some brand recognition for what [my team and I are] building,” Evans said. “The McFerrin Center [is flexible due to its] student ambassadors and different faculty.”
Evans noted that he had not gotten involved in the marketplace till a few semesters ago because his class schedule was conflicting. However, he said he reached out to the center and was able to work with them.
“Naively, a lot of students disengage because they can’t go to this or make an event … they think they can’t interact with the center,” Evans said. “The McFerrin Center will meet you where you’re at.”
Finance freshman Trinity Davis started writing a book during her high school years and self-published it in 2022 as a senior. Her book details the story of a slave named Jona and his journey to freedom. 
“Instead of focusing on physical freedom, I shed light on the mental side,” Davis said. “[Publishing the book myself gave me] more creative control … and gave me a great entrepreneurial experience.”
Davis said she first came to A&M planning to take a break from author events. However, she said she soon wanted to get back into networking and getting exposure for her work. Davis stated the marketplace was advantageous for her as she met others like her.
“[The McFerrin Marketplace let me see] other student entrepreneurs and [be] empowered by them,” Davis said. “Knowing there are other people on campus who are part time students and part time business owners — and navigating that [dynamic].”
Agriculture and animal science graduate student Ashley Dibbs runs a candle, wax melts and car freshener business called AK Rustic Co. Dibbs said she wanted to tell the story of a “spirit can ne’er be told” through scent. With scents like Bootchaser and Ring Weekend, she has a collection dedicated to Aggies’ favorite smells.  
“[My collegiate collection] that’s based off of [A&M]: thoughts, feelings and traditions,” Dibbs said. “Even if you’re not an Aggie, you can get an idea and a piece of Aggieland.”
Dibbs said she and her former partner had received many benefits from their participation in the marketplace. 
“We got a lot of free publicity and marketing,” Dibbs said. “A lot of Aggie support.”
To access the full list of vendors, visit the McFerrin Center’s website.

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