The United States is home to over 140,000 Black-owned businesses, and on Oct. 18 those in the LSU community gathered in the Magnolia Room in the LSU Student Union to celebrate and display their businesses.
The Black business pop-up shop was held by “Let’s Link,” an LSU student organization centered around giving “Black students a chance to network with one another as young professionals through experiences and interactive events,” and Phi Beta Sigma, a Black Fraternity founded in 1914 that received an LSU Chapter in 1976. The Founders of Phi Beta Sigma “sought to create an organization that would be grounded in the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service.”
The two organizations came together to create a place for LSU Black business owners to both sell their products and raise their profile in the LSU community. The Pop Up is an annual event that “Let’s Link” holds, and this year, they had no shortage of attendees.
The Magnolia Room was filled with an abundance of products from a variety of businesses ranging from jewelry, clothing, nails, art and more.
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One such business was “Love n Light Jewelry” (@lovenlight2all), run by sophomore sociology major and African-American studies minor Cici Emendack. When asked about the event, she said she was, “Excited and inspired just being around all the independent entrepreneurs around me. It just kind of reminds you that there is a sense of community, even though you feel alone when starting it, there are always people that are on the same page as you.”
When asked what inspired her to begin her business, Emendack said: “Growing up with my African and Cuban culture, it always influenced the way I view jewelry and how I select materials, and how I compose them all together. And I think it is the best expression of yourself; a set of accessories.”
For many students in the room, their business wasn’t just a way to make money, but also a part of their identity and what they love to do. “Whenever you monetize any passion that you have, regardless, there is always this fear that you’re going to just do it for money rather than for passion, but over time I’ve been able to balance both aspects and like the process of creating over thinking about the money,” Emendack said.
Jaiya Davis was another business owner at the event. She created her Jewelry business Jai’sCollection because she was allergic to most jewelry, and she wanted to give people affordable, well-made jewelry that was, “cute at the same time.”
Alanah Ventroy (@lanathecreat0r) is an artist who was there, and works in multiple mediums. The biggest was her panther piece which was drawn completely with charcoal. She was also selling hand-drawn and painted Homecoming bags.
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One of the showstoppers at the event was The Divine Cakery (@thedivinecakery) run by senior mass communications major Divine Hannon. From cupcakes like “Very Vanilla” to “Rich Velvet,” the delicious possibilities felt endless. Next to the glittery white cake on a rotating stand was a little bakery box saying, “Saving for future Bakery.”
Hannon started her business on Sept. 2 of last year after baking for a friend’s party, to which her friend said, “Why don’t you sell these?” Hannon said it started with cupcakes then moved to cakes and much more. When talking about the event, she was happy to see the exposure, and loved seeing so many Black-owned businesses in one place.
Divine Hannon, Cici Emendack, Alanah Ventroy, and Jaiya Davis are but a few of the many business owners that showed up to “Black Business Pop Up Shop,” and you can see what they and many others have to offer at the next event likely to be held next year.