The University of Minnesota Alumni Association launched the first online store to sell only products made by alumni-owned businesses this month.
The market features goods from 14 alumni-owned businesses, ranging from apparel to barware. Some participating alumni say the market has given them a chance to connect with other University graduates.
Setting up with the Alumni Market took six months, said Lisa Huber, senior director of marketing for the Alumni Association.
“The market showcases the wide variety of businesses out there that alumni have put forth,” Huber said.
Since it launched mid-November, Huber has received about 30 requests from other businesses to sell on the market.
In order to participate, sellers must be graduates of any University campus, members of the Alumni Association and part-owners of their businesses. Ten percent of the revenue collected from the merchandise goes to the Alumni Association.
Alumna Anna Peshock sells blazers on the market from her Colorado business. Peshock graduated from the College of Design in 2015 with a B.S. in Apparel Design and is now Senior Technical Director for the company Shinesty. She said she heard about the market through Huber.
“The U of M is where I learned how to do this, and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the U of M,” she said.
She is considering returning to the U of M for graduate school to learn more about the business and fashion industry.
Another alumnus, Niles Deneen, was also recruited by Huber. Now the president of his family-owned pottery business Deneen Pottery, Deneen graduated from the College of Design in 2000.
Deneen decided to sell his mugs on the alumni market to network with other alumni and their businesses.
“I think that the market is an opportunity to connect with businesses that I didn’t even know existed,” Deneen said.
The store can be found at MNAlumniMarket.com.