Quirky Crafts Come to Student Center
Consignment shop for student‐made crafts opens today in the MU Student Center.
Three of the four student entrepreneurs behind the retail ambition had, in turn, traveled the world during summer break with trips to China, Italy and Boston. The group and made a big push to ready their craft haven for its debut. The grand opening is today.
The handmade goods now filling the shelves, which came from students across campus, include decorative wooden bowls, coasters made of photo‐printed Popsicle sticks, Mizzou‐themed jewelry and cloth backpack patches.
The space itself, hidden all summer behind floor‐to‐ceiling windows veiled in parchment paper, oozes with quirky, crafty charm. Pieces of discarded shipping pallets from The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri are stained in rustic hues and mounted to the walls as shelves. A giant wooden spool donated by Boone Electric Cooperative is tipped on its end, painted indigo blue and serves as a display stand. A free kitchen table found on Facebook holds merchandise on its newly painted orange and light‐blue top. Broken bicycle wheels given by Walt’s Bike Shop dangle from the ceiling.
“We’ve been appreciative of the help from all corners of the community,” says Natalie Cheng, a journalism and marketing major and the group’s creative director. “We’re working hard to make sure their donations, time and support don’t go to waste.”
Quirks is the sixth business to inhabit room 1206 of the Student Center, a rent‐free space the Missouri Student Unions Entrepreneurship Program reserves for student startups. Past tenants include MizzMenus, a restaurant delivery service, and Listener Approved, a service that promotes new musical artists.
“If the business succeeds, our hope is they’d move it off campus,” says Jeff Zeilenga, assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs and director of Student and Auxiliary Services. “If it fails, what better place to fail than in a learning environment?”
The students behind Quirks are Zach Beattie, a business management major from Savannah, Mo.; Cheng of Naperville, Ill.; Kate Gallagher, a finance major from Savannah, Mo.; and Devin Kelsey, an economics major from Springfield, Mo.
The four are already counting their experience a success. They’ve learned how to file a business application, negotiated with MU to waive its fee for selling Mizzou‐trademarked merchandise, worked with The Mizzou Store to allow students to use their student IDs to charge purchases to their student account, and designed their own point‐of‐sale system on an Excel spreadsheet to track how much of their sales go to each consignor.
The four students are all seniors and are unsure where their careers will take them after graduation, but they hope that Quirks’ year in the Student Center demonstrates there’s a need for a place where students can easily market their handmade goods.
“There’s a lot of resources on campus to connect the art community but not a lot of places to sell [the art produced],” says Kelsey, the store’s operations manager. “I’d really like if at the end of the years something like this stayed around.”