PUYALLUP: NEWS | Local market with lemonade, jewelry opens ‘gateway’ for entrepreneurs of all cultures

The News Tribune


Local market with lemonade, jewelry opens ‘gateway’ for entrepreneurs of all cultures




Five words were all that it took for Queen Brinson to kickstart her lemonade stand. “She started kindergarten and got about four months of kindergarten in before the pandemic hit and she had to do virtual learning,” Ebony Brinson-Moss, Queen’s mother, said. “She (saw) my son going off to work, and she said, ‘Mommy, I want a job.’” Queen’s Royal Sips, co-owned by Ebony and Queen, offers drinks such as strawberry, watermelon mint and regular lemonade. Brinson-Moss said authenticity is what makes this business special — all lemons are juiced and no powder is used in the mixture. TOP VIDEOS × Through Facebook earlier this year, Ebony and Queen learned about a new place to showcase their business: Melanated Market. They started holding a booth at the market in April, Brinson-Moss said. Queen’s Royal Sips is one of the many vendors that participate in the two-day, once-a-month event. Melanated Market is hosted in different locations in Pierce County, including the South Hill Mall in Puyallup — which is where it’ll be Oct. 16 and 17. Attendees and vendors can find upcoming events by keeping tabs on the market’s Facebook page. $2 for 2 months Subscribe for unlimited access to our website, app, eEdition and more CLAIM OFFER The market looks to promote local and small businesses, said Deshanel Sager, one of the founders of the event. Sager and co-founder Nika Miller started the market in September 2020. “The name Melanated Market is (because) we’re melanated … That’s a representation of us,” Sager said. The market is not necessarily for African Americans only, Sager said. By creating the market, they wanted to offer “a gateway to open up the doors” and invite people from different cultures into the market scene. “Hosting and vending is mainly a predominantly Caucasian industry and so we wanted to put some of our faces out there,” Sager said. Sager left her job as a dental assistant around the same time she spoke to Miller about wanting to start Melanated Market. Miller, on the other hand, lost her job but was running her own business making soap. Indigenous Affairs Weekly roundup of news affecting Native American communities in the Northwest. SIGN UP This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. “That was one of the reasons that propelled us to come together so that we can keep our businesses going and continue to bring in income,” Miller said. In addition to lemonade, attendees can also expect to see boutiques as well as booths that sell goods such as jambalaya, LED lights and pecans. There are about 26 to 30 vendors per market, and the events draw about 500 to 1,000 attendees, Sager said. ‘THEY GO ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR YOU’ Brinson-Moss said participating in the market helped amplify sales for Queen’s Royal Sips. Their lemonade stand gained more attention when they started holding a booth at the market. “They go above and beyond for you, and they will help you succeed. That’s what makes them different,” Brinson-Moss said. “There’s not a lot of markets that actually target the melanated people.” Victorious Allah, owner of Supreme Being Jewels, said the market offers a place for people to showcase their talents. He started his business over 10 years ago and sells handmade jewelry. Some have gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and amethysts. “People value things that are original,” Allah said. Allah joined Melanated Market about seven months ago when his wife reached out to the market via Facebook. He used to have a physical store, but found it more beneficial to be a vendor, he said. Through the market, Sager and Miller want to help people who are looking to become entrepreneurs by offering them a space to do so, Sager said. One thing that sets their market apart from others is that they give back to the community, she said. “We’re a little more personable,” Miller said. “We talk to our vendors, we build relationships with them, we ask them how they’re doing … . We take pride in making sure that our vendors are taken care of.” At the market happening on Oct. 16 and 17, they are asking attendees to donate unused blankets or socks, which will be given to those who need them as winter approaches, Sager said. Donations like this happen at every market they host, she said. The October market will be at the South Hill Mall across from the food court area. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Those interested in participating as a vendor can contact the market organizers through the Facebook page.


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