The West End Market encourages youth entrepreneurship

Artwork by Olivia Abetya

Ellie’s Slime Shop is Ellie Baker-Carrillo’s new venture. She started a few months ago and said she hopes to see the business grow further.

The West End Market has quickly become a place where young people in Evanston encourage their entrepreneurial dreams by selling jewellery, homemade treats and crafts.

Entrepreneur Ellie Baker-Carrillo, 10, started sell her homemade slime at the market in early summer. She started her business Ellie’s Slime Shop after being inspired by watching her mother start her own small business, Beards & Bellas.

“I asked my mother, ‘Can I have my own business like her?’ said Baker-Carrillo. “And she made a website for me, and I just started working at the company, and I loved it.”

The West End Market has set up shop at the corner of Church Street and Dodge Avenue every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this summer. Organized by the Central Evanston Business Association, the market started including young people in its list of suppliers this year to give them opportunities in the local market, according to CEBA member Donna Walker.

Walker is also the owner of Cutting Edge Hair Gallery and has stressed the importance of investing in the youth of Evanston, particularly in the 5th Ward. The market and the CEBA mainly serve this area.

“We’re so happy to have young entrepreneurs to give them the opportunity to sell what they do,” Walker said. “We are the heart of Evanston, so we’re going to put our hearts into these young entrepreneurs.”

Walker said it was easy for young sellers to get involved in the market. Interested entrepreneurs can go to CEBA’s Facebook page, and many children of small business owners are young entrepreneurs in the market.

Nine-year-old entrepreneur Lexi Barrett started her business a few weeks ago. She sells her product, Better Butters, next to her mother Lauren Lovinger’s stand.

Lover owns With Love, an organic bakery business in Evanston. Barrett said she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and create something of her own. She got the idea for flavored butters after visiting a local restaurant.

“I’ve always been interested in doing something, because (my mom) is always doing something,” Barret said. “I went to Soul & Smoke and saw they had cinnamon butter, and I wanted to try making some.”

Lovinger said her daughter’s business was also inspired by her fellow young entrepreneur, Baker-Carrillo. During her time developing, experimenting with and selling her slime, Baker-Carrillo said she learned a lot about being an entrepreneur and the importance of meeting new people.

However, West End youth are not the only ones enriched by market experience. Lovinger said she, too, enjoys spending time with her daughter and friends at the market.

“It makes it more fun to have her here with me, and it’s nice that she has a budding little entrepreneurial spirit,” Lovinger said.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @shannonmtyler

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