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Flagler senior curates on campus market featuring artisanal, hand-crafted products

Feb 6, 2023
by Anna Boone

A cluster of tents lining the main sidewalk of Flagler’s West Lawn has become an anticipated sight on campus for many who look forward to browsing hand-crafted products from local artisans on their lunch break.

Melanin Monday Market

“People see the tents and they get excited, they know exactly what it is, the Melanin Monday Market,” Katera Frazier, student founder of the market, said.

Frazier, a senior sociology major and ASL minor, acts as the primary organizer of Melanin Monday Market and one of its main vendors with her long-standing crochet business. She runs the monthly market through her position as events coordinator for the Black Student Union as an opportunity to showcase local and regional Black-owned small businesses.

“I truly enjoy doing markets,” Frazier said. “It is such a great way to connect with people in person and interact on another level outside of social media. I thought it was only right to bring a market onto campus to showcase local Black-Owned Businesses.”

Markets in St. Augustine and Jacksonville have been one of Frazier’s primary avenues for growing her crochet business, which she established as the LLC Crochet with Passion in 2022. It’s been more than a decade since Frazier picked up crocheting as a hobby, and six years since she first started selling her products.

“At the beginning, I had no clue how to run a business,” Frazier said. “And I didn’t know of any resources to help get my business started.”

Not only did markets help Frazier develop her business, but they acted as an environment to meet other Black small business owners. In the early stages of bringing the Melanin Monday Market to life, those networks and connections she established provided a jumping-off point in securing vendors to participate.

“Many of the vendors I knew personally from other markets I have attended,” Frazier said. “So, I reached out to them to see if they wanted to be a part of a Black-owned business market and they were all for it.”

As she invited vendors to participate, Frazier said ensuring variety in the products being sold was a top priority.

“What's really cool about our market is that every vendor is different,” she said.

The first market was held in the Ringhaver Student Center last February, and hosted just four vendors including Crochet with Passion, Krayige Faye- a candle business, HotBox 904- a custom snack box business, and Scarlett Glitter- a cosmetics business.

Despite its size, the market was a huge hit and turnout indicated a new, bigger space for the market would be necessary.

“People loved it,” Frazier said. “Students were coming, they were telling their professors, and professors were coming. We had people from the Bistro come over and support us too.”

The second rendition of the market was held during Spring 2022 Homecoming week outdoors, in the Commons of Abare Hall. While that location wasn’t made permanent, it was obvious this extra space was crucial for the market’s growth.

Starting Fall 2022 semester, The Melanin Monday Market officially moved to the West Lawn and has hosted three successful markets since. Since solidifying this location, the vendor presence has more than doubled with products ranging from hand-painted jackets and butterfly-inspired earrings from Xaniduart, specialty cooking products from Tay’s Natural Butters, and opulent skincare from Seaside Sista Soap Co.

Students, faculty, and staff have responded enthusiastically to the market and the products showcased. Frazier said some students have even told her they look forward to the markets as a way to restock on some of these products they would normally have to special order.

“What's really cool is a lot of people are on campus and it's like a one-stop shop and they don't have to go out their way in order to get these different things,” she said. “It's right there on campus once a month.”

But customers aren’t the only ones giving rave reviews. Frazier said the vendors, who are predominantly based in Jacksonville, have been excited to network with Flagler’s student population representing so many different places.

“They've always told me that it's so cool how they're meeting people from all over because at Flagler we have people that are literally from, not just across Florida, but from other states and from other countries as well,” Frazier said.

Throughout the process of building the Melanin Monday Market, Frazier has leaned on her fellow members of the BSU Executive Board for support. She said they’re a dedicated group ready to help in any way they can.

“Every market, the executive board is on campus bright and early before vendors show up,” she said. “They help with unloading items for the vendors and assist with putting up tents.”

Frazier is set to graduate this spring but hopes the tradition of the market will continue regardless. She said it’s an event that resonated with our campus community and proved worth the significant effort that goes into making it happen.

“Our very first one was a success and it has been an amazing market ever since,” she said. “Many people look forward to this market every month and that makes me excited because it takes hard work to be able to coordinate an event like this and it is definitely paying off.”


Check out this 2020 video detailing Frazier's business "Crochet with Passion":

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