Small Business Farmer’s Market celebrates spirit of entrepreneurship at Wright State

Held in Rike Hall during April Craze, the Small Business Farmer’s Market allowed Wright State students and recent graduates to promote their businesses and sell their wares.

Instead of fruits and vegetables, a spirit of entrepreneurship was cultivated during the inaugural Small Business Farmer’s Market hosted by Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business.

Held in Rike Hall during Wright State’s April Craze, the market provided an opportunity for students and recent graduates to promote their small businesses and sell their wares. Seven shops participated featuring an eclectic blend of goods and services including clothing, jewelry, graphic designs, confections, handmade wooden goods and sundry items.

“I would consider the event a success,” said Rachel Sturm, Ph.D., interim associate dean of the Raj Soin College of Business. “By hosting it during April Craze, we had a lot of foot traffic, so the vendors were able to do pretty well with their sales.”

The primary planner of the farmer’s market was Keirstyn Meisner, a senior management major who minors in studio art and serves as the president of the Business Management Club. Owner of an online vintage clothing shop, Meisner also participated in the event.

“I’ve had a vision of doing this event for a while, so it was super exciting for it to all come together,” said Meisner, who is expected to graduate at the end of the fall 2024 semester. “As a seller, my favorite part of what I do is getting to interact with customers. I had a blast getting to meet so many new people and connect over our love for vintage clothes.”

Since she opened her business three years ago, Meisner has met many individuals at thrift stores, markets and events, including 2019 Wright State graduate Aerion Ellington. The pair brainstormed some ideas on connecting their businesses to Wright State, and the Farmer’s Market was the culmination of their efforts.

“He was the first person I contacted after getting permission for the event,” said Meisner. “I reached out to 10 potential vendors and six of them were able to come.”

The Raj Soin College of Business is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in its students and helping new ventures come to fruition, Sturm said. The college offers an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and a concentration in new venture creation in the Master of Business Administration program. In addition, the college hosts the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans, which supports the success of military veterans who are aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Our current business students and alumni are contributing in amazing ways to the creation of new business in the Dayton region,” Sturm said. “We could not be more proud of the incredible initiative of these individuals and their desire to make a positive impact in the world.”

Keirstyn Meisner, a senior management major, was the primary organizer of the Small Business Farmer’s Market. She is pictured with Rachel Sturm, interim associate dean of the Raj Soin College of Business.

The College of Business plans to host the Small Business Farmer’s Market each semester.

Meisner’s entrepreneurial spirit manifested itself early. When she was young, she would sit outside her house with a little table selling candy bars and lemonade to neighbors as they drove by. As a first-year student in high school, she made and sold scrunchies online to help her save enough money to buy her first car at 16.

Once she got her driver’s license, Meisner started thrifting. Her business aspirations intensified, and she eventually created an Instagram account, @keirstynthriftz, to resell her thrift finds. Last summer, she launched an in-person pop-up business as well. In the past three years, she has had more than 3,500 sales on multiple platforms.

The Springfield native said she considered about 10 universities after graduating from Northwestern High School and enrolled at Wright State because it offered the most scholarship money and was a close commute from home.

After attending orientation, Meisner said she knew she made the right decision.

“I was excited to get to know the community at Wright State and eager for what the business school had to offer,” she said. “My experience here has been great.”

Meisner’s plans are as varied as the merchandise she may find at a thrift store.

“I’m keeping my options open for after I graduate,” she said. “I love my job now, so I know I want to keep running my own business at some capacity. I am also considering getting my MBA from Wright State. I would love a job where I can work with people and be creative.”

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