Throngs of girls flock into the East Atrium, wads of cash in hand, their voices rising above the blaring alternative rock music to ask their friends, “Should I buy this?” Swaths of scarves are piled on top of a tablecloth next to cups of steaming hot tea steeped with fresh leaves and sprinkled with milk and sugar. Nearby, a teacher whips a roll of measuring tape off of her neck and wraps it around the wrist of an eager student who has ordered a bracelet. The scene is reminiscent of a market day in medieval England, and the energy level is high.
On Mar. 19 during A period and lunch, girls filled the East Atrium for the School’s first Trade Fair, created by Community Outreach Coordinator Miranda Payne and Student Activities Coordinator Sarah Wolf, at which 28 students and employees sold homemade products such as baked goods, jewelry and hair accessories.
In response to the proliferation of bake sales held at Marlborough, Payne and Wolf said they felt that there should be another outlet for students to raise money for their respective charities in a fun, creative way. At least half of each vendor’s profits went to the charity of her choosing, including Pet Orphans of Southern California, the South Asian Network (SAN), Marlborough School Charitable Fund (MSCF) and the Unatti Foundation.
According to the mission statement of this event, the goal was to “inspire broader community engagement and creativity through entrepreneurship.” Items sold also needed to be homemade. Although not all students followed this restriction to the letter—there was at least one box of store-bought frosted cookies—the majority of products sold were lovingly stitched, forged or baked.
“Students [got] to see that there’s more to teachers and [their peers] then just School,” science instructor Judy Mirick, a faculty vendor, said.
The merchandise ranged from a carrot cake made from a cherished family recipe to high-end gold and silver jewelery in customized packaging that one student also sells on Etsy, the popular online crafts marketplace.
“This is an opportunity to get my products out,” Kat ‘15, a veteran peddler of duct-tape wallets, said. But for many vendors, this was their first experience in the world of sales.
Several students noted that one of the drawbacks of the event was that after the initial rush into the Atrium, community interest dwindled somewhat. During the first 20 minutes, there were hundreds of people inside of the space, with shoppers packed like sardines.
“I think that [next year] they might want a different location, because it’s kind of crowded,” Rachel ’17 said.
Perhaps this would not have been a problem, though, had the weather permitted the Trade Fair to be located on Booth Field, as was originally intended.
Payne and Wolf said they hope to make Trade Fair an annual tradition. In the future, though, they hope to place a student committee in charge, so as to further allow girls to explore the intertwined worlds of business and philanthropy.