On March 6th, small business owners gathered at UTC to sell their produce at the first-ever Kirby House Market.
Several students at UTC have started their own small businesses to sell clothing, art, and a variety of other merchandise that appeal to young adults while allowing other students to support their fellow students.
In the “back garage” customers found the vendors and their decorative stalls. Vendors and customers laughed and chatted over the soft music playing from the speakers, welcoming incoming customers to peruse the various stalls and meet new people.
Market organizer and Kirby House resident Kellen Rogers is a Chattanooga artist who started her own business, Super Duper Art, where she sells her original paintings, prints, and custom-painted shoes.
Kellen has attended other markets as a vendor, including Flinstone Market and the Art Market at Chamberlain Field, but this was the first time she had organized a market at her home.
Because the business owners created a tight-knit community for vendors with similar styles, they were all able to become friends, so it wasn’t difficult for Kellen to organize the event.
“I’ve been texting all of my little business friends, my artistic friends,” Kellen said. “It’s like a flea market, but cooler.”
There was definitely something for everyone at the Kirby House Market. If you need a new pair of earrings or a cute keychain, you can go to the Bumble Bead table for bead accessories.
You can also visit Calhih’s stand for art prints and crochet hats, Vee’s Clothes for handmade and vintage clothing, or Veggie Girl Vintage for second-hand clothing. If you were hungry, you could even have stopped by the Flour Power table for a strawberry muffin, lemon bread, Taylor Swift’s Chai Cookie, or other homemade baked goods.
At Fairy Findings you can buy nature-inspired and fairy-inspired jewelry. Owner Stephany started her business in 2018 and graduated from UTC last year.
Stephany is a frequent seller at Chattanooga Market but has visited many others around town. Making jewelry has become a rewarding experience for her, and she believes it’s important for college-aged people to further their craft.
“I’ve always loved crafting, and it gave me an outlet and a way to express myself while giving others confidence in the accessories I make,” she said. “It’s a very special feeling when I see people wearing and loving the things I create and I think others could use that too!”
Anna Huss, owner of Out of Stock Co., sat behind a row of her colorful paintings and next to a clothes rack containing brightly colored pants, jackets and shirts. A custom design was painted on all items making each one unique.
In January, UTC’s Art History Association helped Anna reserve Chamberlain Field, where they hosted an art market. Several vendors from Kirby House Market had come.
Anna encourages creatives at UTC to join the network of small business owners.
“Whatever you have, just try it. Experiment with your products. I did that,” she said. “Get yourself out of there. Get a table!”
She also encourages students to visit the markets.
“They need to come out and support their local artists because all this stuff is amazing and handmade,” Anna said. “It doesn’t get any better than this!”
Kellen, Stephany and Anna both plan to host more markets in the future. You can follow them on Instagram @super.superart, @fairyfindings and @outofstock.co as well as the other contributors (@thebumblebead, @calhih, @vees.clothes, @veggiegirlvintage, @flour.power) to see their products and to see Stay up to date with future events.