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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Supporting Students’ Sales: MKE EIP hosts market

Photo by Katie Craig
Last Friday, the semesterly Market Market was held in the AMU.

An eclectic row of booths line the back wall of the Alumni Memorial Union, packing the typically empty study space with the energy and feeling of a farmer’s market. Students stand huddled around countless vendors as they chat and buy goods. The air wafts with the decadent smell of warm hot chocolate. 

This is the Marquette Market, a once-a-semester event hosted by the Milwaukee Entrepreneur Incubator Program, otherwise known as MKE EIP. This organization is an initiative devoted to giving student entrepreneurs and small business owners, the opportunity to connect through different pop-up events in their communities. Their most recent event for the Fall 2022 semester took place this last Friday. 

One of the student vendors at the market, Pouya Mirzaei, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of the Marquette University Boxing Club, was there alongside his teammates in order to raise funds for future club events.

For Boxing Club, we’ve been really trying to look for different sources of revenue so that we can increase our club’s capabilities and potential for the future,” Mirzaei said. “To do that, we’re looking to start selling some club apparel, which is what we’re launching at the Marquette Market.”

While Mirzaei said funding was less of an issue during the 2021-2022 school year, MUSG’s low budget for student organizations this school year has made sponsoring club events much more difficult. 

“We were fine last year, but the budget cuts have definitely made funding harder,” Mirzaei said. “We’re hoping with the funds raised from this and other sales, that we can have some shows at mid-semester and maybe even sooner than that.”

In addition to the many student vendors at the event, there were also a handful of part-time and professional entrepreneurs at the market as well. Brenda Barrales, owner of Tres Ojos, a Milwaukee-based spiritual healing and alternative medicine store, said she was excited to attend the event.

“MKE EIP reached out to me to let me know they were doing an event at Marquette, and I said I would love to,” Barrales said. “They have so many varieties of vendors that it’s cool being here as a small, Latinx-owned business.” 

Barrales said she first became interested in starting her own business three and a half years ago, and, although it hasn’t been easy, she’s happy with how her hard work has paid off. 

“I was always sort of interested in metaphysical, spiritual world things,” Barrales said. “I just decided that this is what I wanted to make my career. My wife and I traveled to pick out the crystals and everything. The jewelry and other products are all handmade by us.”

In terms of any advice she had for Marquette students, Barrales said to never be afraid to talk to other entrepreneurs for advice.

“It’s kind of hard when you don’t know which direction to take, but once you know your direction, it comes much easier,” Barrales said. “Sometimes it’s just reaching out to other small business owners and seeing what worked for them. It helps to find someone in the same niche that you are so that you can get an idea of what will work for you.”

While many of the entrepreneurs at the Marquette Market were from around Milwaukee, some were also Marquette alumni, such as Lyka Radon. A Marquette graduate from the the class of 2015, Radon is the owner of Lyka MKE, a shop that sells sweatshirts, tumblers and other gifts.

Radon said she started her business back in April of this year and has been loving it ever since.

“I always liked making personalized gifts for people and everyone would always tell me, ‘You should sell these!’,” Radon said. “I bought a Cricut earlier this year so I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’” 

Radon said the best advice she can give to any future entrepreneurs — specifically those from Marquette — is that it’s important to do what you enjoy above all else.

“Just do whatever you’re passionate about,” Radon said. “If you work hard, sales might come slowly, but they will come eventually.”

This story is written by Will Eikenbary. They can be reached at [email protected].

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Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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