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Monday April 15th

TCNJ’s Black Student Union welcomes its third annual Black Business Pop-Up Shop

<p><em>The College’s BSU Black Business Pop-Up Shop shines light on local talent during Black History Month (Photo by Parisa Burton / Staff Writer).</em></p>

The College’s BSU Black Business Pop-Up Shop shines light on local talent during Black History Month (Photo by Parisa Burton / Staff Writer).

By Parisa Burton
Staff Writer

The Black Student Union held its third annual Black Business Pop-Up Shop event on Feb. 28. 23 vendors populated the Brower Student Center, attracting students to browse their unique offerings. 

There were four categories of vendors: clothing/accessories, food and drink, beauty/haircare/skincare, and specialty/miscellaneous.

Marquita Taylor, a beauty entrepreneur, introduced her brand, The Beat Lash Co, offering a variety of products including eyeshadow pallets, eyelash sets, lip gloss and more. It was her first time participating in the pop-up event.

“Me starting my beauty brand was kind of a means to an end for me because I always wanted to open up a beauty bar and finally did in March of 2021,” Taylor said. 

The BSU presented their mission on a projector, which stated, “Our mission is to encourage intellectual, political, cultural and social growth among all students, while fostering a community for Black students at The College of New Jersey. Throughout our general meetings, programming, leadership and mentoring programs, and community service, we aim to educate ourselves and the TCNJ community about Black history, culture and experiences in order to foster action and change in our communities.”

“The intention of this event is not only to highlight the small, Black-owned businesses that operate on campus and in the local area but also to put into practice the support for Black economics, especially in this society,” said Sian Brossard, BSU events chair and junior english major.

There were three student vendors at the event, including Madison Braithwaite, who sold her jewelry and crochet creations. It was her first time participating in the pop-up shop.

“I’ve done other pop-up shops, including the Arter’s Market but this is my first time doing this one,” said Braithwaite, sophomore interactive multimedia major.

The College’s Rebel Art Movement, a campus-wide art club, holds the bi-annual Arter’s Market, welcoming students from all schools to showcase and sell their work.

“My friend started selling jewelry at the Arter’s Market,” Braithwaite said. “This summer, I wanted to learn how to do something new so I started making jewelry. It started doing really well on Instagram and I started getting followers and that’s how I found my new passion.”

This event held special significance, because it was the last BSU event of Black History Month.

“It’s very hard for Black people to make their own generational wealth and even provide for themselves or family,” Brossard said. “It’s important that we show up for these businesses and entrepreneurs who are trying to make it in the market, and it’s really a good way to close out the official Black History Month events.”

The event was co-sponsored by more than ten Recognized Student Organizations, as well as academic departments including history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. The RSOs included the Unified Greek Council, Sigma Kappa, Delta Phi Epsilon and Young Democratic Socialists of America.

“Our college community has the opportunity to learn more about local businesses during this event, as well as businesses [having] the opportunity to reach a broader audience,” said Diamond Urey, BSU president and senior history/WGSS major. “This event empowers the Black community economically by providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and wealth creation.”

According to Diamond, the pop-up shop witnessed a larger turnout compared to last year, likely due to the event being held in the evening this time around. There were also more vendors and co-sponsors this year.

The event provides the opportunity for local Black business owners to get their names out there and the chance for visitors to feel inspired by the unique merchandise offered by these talented individuals.

“It is very significant during Black History Month because all the entrepreneurs here are black, which shines light on our businesses and gives us more exposure,” Taylor said.


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