New Missouri Student Unions Entrepreneurial Program businesses are opening soon in the Student Center. This year, Black Honey Bee Cosmetics will open adjacent to US Bank, while Land to Luna will open online and What’s Poppin’ will eventually open in a space in the Student Center after construction is approved.
The program supports student-run businesses. Students can submit business pitches, and three to four proposals are awarded a spot in the program each year.
Black Honey Bee Cosmetics, a shop created by senior women’s and gender studies major Tiana Glass, will feature homemade soaps, bath bombs, lotion bars, scrubs, shower gels, bubble bars and shower bombs. Glass said that when she first conceptualized the idea of Black Honeybee Cosmetics, she wanted to create a business representing people of color who look like her.
“My whole mission is to promote representation but also to support self-care, especially in women of color and people of color communities,” Glass said. “So I wanted it to be something soft, something kind on the skin, something that represented them.”
Glass will make all of her products with the help of a team she calls her “worker bees.” Her business is focused on environmental sustainability and creating an ethical product focused on self-care.
Glass is from Ferguson, Missouri, the site of race-related protests in 2014. She said once she graduates, her goal is to return to her community to implement more black businesses and help rebuild the community.
“This business was built and made to exist because of Ferguson,” Glass said. “I am absolutely rooted in my community and rebuilding it in any way that benefits them.”
Glass is currently working to brand her business through advertising on social media and around campus with the help of her marketing partner Sequoyah Moore. Glass said she wants her brand to stay true to her mission and values, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. She wants her brand to make people feel seen.
“I want it to be spunky,” Glass said. “I want it to be eclectic. I want it to be black. I want it to be, like, amazing, right? So what I want people to feel like when they see that brand is that they’re represented. They feel love, they feel like they can be anything they wanna be.”
Josh Hitt, Patrick Revnew, Annika Warfield and Abigail Ulett will occupy a space in the Student Center to serve as an inventory room for their online shop, Land to Luna. They plan to sell handmade bracelets and screen-printed T-shirts and hats.
Land to Luna’s mission is focused on philanthropy and giving back. With the purchase of each product, a portion of the profit will go to charity. Each item will be aligned with a specific charity, Revnew said, except the Land to Luna-branded T-shirts and hats.
“That’s going to be something where the customers can pick which charity they want the proceeds to be donated to,” Revnew said. “But if you buy a sea turtle bracelet, you’ll be donating a portion of the profit to the sea turtle conservancy.”
For advertising, Land to Luna plans to hire brand ambassadors on Instagram. Warfield said they have a few people with a high social media presence in mind to post about their products.
“Then we’ll probably also go speak to Greek chapters and kind of get the word out that way,” Warfield said. “I think we’re going to focus on social media to start it off.”
What’s Poppin’, owned by Naomi Collier, Robert Garner, Ryan Hill, Mikal Slatton and Lily Zhao, will also open through the entrepreneurial program and sell gourmet popcorn. It will have a fully operational storefront as soon as construction gets approved.
“MU has something really big planned for the new entrepreneurial spaces,” Collier said in an email.
What’s Poppin’ will offer five homemade popcorn flavors called the “Starting Five,” which will include Plain Jane, Cookies N’ Cream, Chicago Mix, St. Louis Style and Mr. Carver.
“We were walking downtown one night, fresh off work and craving a snack. While on the hunt for something tasty, Mikal said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if they had a popcorn shop in CoMo?’” Collier said in an email. “She replied, ‘Let’s do it!’”
Edited by Olivia Garrett | firstname.lastname@example.org