West End Market fosters youth entrepreneurship


Illustration by Olivia Abetya

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

Shannon Tyler, Assistant City Editor

The West End Market has quickly become a place for Evanston youth to encourage their entrepreneurial dreams, selling jewelry, homemade treats and crafts.  

Entrepreneur Ellie Baker-Carrillo, age 10, started selling her homemade slime at the market in the beginning of the summer. She started her business Ellie’s Slime Shop after becoming inspired by watching her mom start her own small business, Beards & Bellas. 

“I asked my mom, ‘Can I have my own business like her?’” Baker-Carrillo said. “And she created a website for me, and I just started to work on the business, and I loved it.”

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

Walker also owns Cutting Edge Hair Gallery and noted the importance of investing in Evanston’s youth, especially in the 5th Ward. Both the market and CEBA mainly serve that area. 

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

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

Lovinger owns With Love, an Evanston organic baked goods business. Barrett said she wanted to follow in her mom’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 making something, because (my mom) always makes something,” Barret said. “I went to Soul & Smoke and saw that they had cinnamon butter, and I wanted to try to make it.”

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

Youth at West End aren’t the only ones being enriched by the market experience, though. Lovinger said she, too, enjoys spending time with her daughter and her friends at the market. 

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shannonmtyler

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