This Friday, Transylvania will host its second annual Makers Market, an event for student entrepreneurs, artists, bloggers, foodies, visionaries, creatives and everyone in between. Due to the event’s initial success, several student vendors from the inaugural market are returning for a reprise.
Becca Orjala ’26, a studio art and marketing double major, initially got involved with the Makers Market through her Introduction to Entrepreneurship course at Transylvania. “My professor was extremely encouraging and made sure I knew I was good enough to have this business,” she remembered. “I really enjoyed it; it was cool to finally be able to sell stuff and get my art out there.”
Orjala specializes in two-dimensional art, including paintings, drawings and prints. “I did commissions of people’s pets; people really enjoyed that,” she laughed. She also designs tattoos and works on commissions throughout the year.
Orjala, who hopes to be a working artist after graduation, particularly appreciated the Makers Market as a way to get connected to the local art community. “I got to talk to a lot of people who are working artists from around Lexington, and it was really inspiring,” she said. “There’s such a good support system of artists here that it made me really want to do it again. It was a very kind and helpful environment to be in.”
She feels gratitude to the university for hosting events like the Makers Market. “If you are willing to take opportunities, Transy will give them to you,” she reflected. “And if you make yourself known, you will get so many opportunities. People will think of you when there’s an art event.”
Another returning vendor, Nicole Herman ’25, credits the Makers Market with inspiring her to turn her art into a year-round business. The health and exercise science major got involved with the inaugural event after seeing a poster promoting an informational meeting about the campus event.
“I had never done anything like that before,” Herman said. “The fact that it was free to participate really helped.”
With her mom’s encouragement, she decided to make hand-painted magnets, attaching button magnets to the back of a tiny canvas to make mini-paintings for students’ refrigerators. “I painted for hours pretty much every day in the common area of my dorm,” she remembered.
Her efforts paid dividends — Herman sold nearly 40 pieces at the Makers Market, clearing out her inventory and turning a profit. “After Makers Market was so successful for me, I realized it might be possible to make a living off of my art,” she said. That realization inspired her to seek a summer internship at Lexington’s ArtHouse Gallery, where she learned more about how to price her art and had the unique opportunity to sell her work without paying a subscription fee.
Herman has sold two pieces through ArtHouse and recently placed a piece in the Lexington Art League’s PRHBTN show. “When a stranger buys your stuff for the first time, it’s such a different feeling than selling to a family member or friend,” she said.
She credits the Makers Market for giving her the confidence to pursue these opportunities. Without it, “I don’t think I would have started taking myself seriously,” she said. “I never thought I could sell my art to strangers, but it’s such a good opportunity to have people look at your work and say, ‘Hey, I like this.’ Even if they don’t buy it, the validation is just so valuable.”
Check out Herman and Orjala’s work, as well as that of other creatives, at Friday’s event from 1-5 p.m. in the Campus Center Pioneer Rooms.