Calling All Artisans: Local Skate Rats organizes market for student entrepreneurs

Local Skate Rats is organizing a small business vendor market for student entrepreneurs at Common Grounds from noon - 3 p.m. on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Local Skate Rats.

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Dan Rettinger, owner of Local Skate Rats, had a vision to create a space for student small business owners to showcase their products in a market format to expand their clientele. Sunday, that dream will come to fruition.

The local trading post market will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at Common Grounds on 8th Street. Rettinger, a senior who is from just outside of Malibu, Calif., designs all of his products himself, which are inspired by surfing and skating culture.

“I’ve been selling my clothes in Waco, but as a college student, it isn’t always so easy,” Rettinger said. “Not many college students with businesses have been able to sell their own stuff. So that’s why I wanted to create the market at Common Grounds to give student entrepreneurs a place to sell.”

The vendor spots are reserved exclusively for student entrepreneurs in and around Waco. In addition to the vendors, the event will include music and free drinks provided by Common Grounds and Yerba Mate, which Rettinger is an ambassador for.

The market will only be once a month in order for it to not be a huge time commitment to the vendors, who are students first.

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Rettinger was able to meet some vendors in an entrepreneur market held at a Dr Pepper Hour last semester. He met other vendors through the Oso Launch program sponsored by the Hankamer School of Business. Vendors have also signed up through a link on the market’s Instagram page. They currently have 13 vendors: Local Skate Rats, Southern Belle Glitz, Thrifted Baylor, My Girl Tees, Cayleigh’s Creations, Beba, Retro Rewind, Andrea’s Earrings, Lauren Ainsley Lovelies, Thrifted by Layne, Blanca Vintage Supply, Winsome and Tessa’s Candle Co.

The market’s proximity to campus is something that was intentional when Rettinger was finding a location to host the event.

“Waco lacks good shopping, especially the mall. We have here and there little treasures you can find, but it’s not like a big city like Dallas or somewhere in California, with just great shopping all over,” Rettinger said. “I think that this event will really give a good place for college kids to experience that shopping vibe.”

Flower Mound junior Lauren Leath, owner of Lauren Ainsley Lovelies, said she’s done a few pop-up shops at Common Grounds and Pinewood Coffee Roasters in the past, but she is excited about the upcoming vendor market.

“I love doing pop-up shops, they are easily my favorite thing about having a small business, because I get to meet people in person,” Leath said. “It’s so cool to see, even for me, to see all of my products at once.”

Cypress senior Aly Jasso, owner of My Girl Tees, said she is thrilled to be at Common Grounds again in a market format. Jasso said she jumps at the opportunity to be able to participate in vendor markets.

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“It’s just a good exposure idea to get your name out there and meet new people,” Jasso said. “Especially because new freshmen are coming in and Common Grounds is like ‘the spot.’”

Jasso said she also made sure to reach out to other small business owners she knew in the Baylor community to get them involved too.

Round Rock senior Layne McCalmont, owner of Thrifted by Layne, said she heard about the market after Jasso posted it on social media.

“I just love being in groups of people around my age [who are] taking a leap of faith and trying to grow their business while they are in college,” McCalmont said. “I’m really just looking forward to being around them and also seeing a lot of new people. I think a market is so beautiful in the sense that there’s a ton of different vendors. They are each bringing parts of their customer target, and so it’s going to be a beautiful blend of a bunch of different customers.”