Market offers opportunity

Christine Hansen

While trying to beat the cold this winter, some students are creating and selling cozy crafts for the season.

The Wildcat Market offers a unique chance for student entrepreneurs to sell their goods to fellow Wildcats.

Greg Laskowski, junior environmental studies and sustainability major, sells wire-wrapped rocks and gems, which can then be used for jewelry. (Anthony Viola NW)
Greg Laskowski, junior environmental studies and sustainability major, sells wire-wrapped rocks and gems, which can then be used for jewelry. (Anthony Viola NW)


“The Wildcat Market has been a part of NMU student life intermittently since around 2009, when the CSE (Center for Student Enrichment) put on the program,” ASNMU President Amber Lopota said. “ASNMU adopted it later and has historically struggled with finding the perfect home for the weekly event.”

Now held every Friday in the atrium of the University Center, Lopota said merchandise found at the market varies from week to week, including jewelry, baked goods, custom artwork, stickers from LOVE Marquette, Birch Bark art, crocheted and knitted hats, scarves, polished stones and more.

“This is an opportunity for students to get a taste of what it is like to be entrepreneurial in nature, to learn time management and financing skills and to reap the rewards of hard work put into making quality goods for their fellow Wildcat community to enjoy,” Lopota said.

She said other universities have programs that are similar, but the fact that NMU’s market is conveniently located outside of the bookstore allows it to pick up on the “shopper traffic.”

“It’s a great opportunity for students to see what other people’s passions are outside of just school and work,” said Ashley Welser, senior photography major and a vendor since 2011.

“My experience with the Wildcat Market has been really rewarding because it has allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills,” Welser said. “It’s been amazing to have what is essentially a free service to showcase my handmade items, and people who stop by seem happy to find unique gifts for family and friends.”

The market has helped students such as Welser explore their talents and learn the ins and outs of business.

“The best advice I can give to students interested in becoming a vendor at the Wildcat Market is to find time during the week to sit down, relax and do something they enjoy doing,” Welser said, “That’s what it’s been about for me, just giving myself some time to unwind.”

Welser said any student who is interested in selling should consider the labor it entails.

“Selling each week is a lot of work,” she said. “Saying hello to people and talking to potential customers about the process in which you create your items has to be the most important aspect of selling at the market. The more I tell my customers what went into my work and where it comes from, the [more likely] they are to make a purchase from me.”

Lopota said any student is welcome to sell at the market.

“Make something unique, and make it well,” she said. “One of a kind, quality items sell faster than anything else, and will keep your customer coming back and talking to others about your products.”

Interested students can apply by emailing [email protected] or by calling (906) 227-2452. The market is open noon to 4 p.m. every Friday.