As Wildflowers continues to bloom, it is introducing future generations to the business of vending.
To lay the foundation for budding artrepreneurs and vendors to sprout, Kara Daviau, merchandiser at Wildflowers, created the Wildflower Seedlings Program in fall 2020. The program primarily focuses on mentoring local high school students between the ages of 16 and 18, who want to sell their handcrafted goods.
Similar to the other vendors, the Seedlings program recruits via social media (Instagram: @wildflowers_syr) and requires student participants to submit an online application form.
“What the program is someone who is a little bit older, like junior, senior in high school expressing interest in not just being creative and artsy, but rather being a vendor,” Wildflowers founder Michael John Heagerty said.
The program’s first student participants are Sophia Calcagnino and Lilian Minicozzi.
The festival honors wooden lacrosse sticks, which have historical and cultural significance for the Haudenosaunee.
Calcagnino is a freshman at Onondaga Community College. She knits, crochets and takes photographs, and her items are displayed at Wildflowers. Minicozzi, also a freshman, studies at Syracuse University, and is involved in fashion at Wildflowers.
The student vendors pay $25 a month. This opportunity for a lower rate and mentorship allows them to learn elements of vendoring while showcase their work along ripened vendors.
“Where else would have a place, where you have someone who would listen to someone under 25 years old, and say, ‘Hey I’m actually really good at what I do, take a chance on me and let me sell my stuff,’”Owens said. “And, the fact that a young person can have a little bit of income and business education at such a young age.”
The schedule for the new Seedlings recruitment is expected to be posted this Spring in search of vendors to fulfill the summer volunteer shifts.