BLACK ENTERPRISE visited the stunning Florida A&M University (FAMU) campus and experienced its one-of-a-kind tradition “Set Fridays,” on Friday, April 22, thanks to Visit Tallahassee and The Zimmerman Agency.
Originated in 1993, Set Fridays started out as Market Friday, an event that created an inviting space for student entrepreneurs to market and sell their products. Today, the tradition has evolved into a weekly social event.
According to Visit Tallahassee, “on Fridays, students gather at Set Fridays. The event takes place in front of the Student Union, on what is known as “The Set” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Created by student entrepreneurs in 1993 to showcase their brand or products and services for sale, the event now features student clubs, organization and vendor booths (mostly students), a live D. J., and scheduled entertainment with everything from fashion shows to poetry readings.”
During the recent visit, the Spring weather was perfect. Students gathered at the newly opened Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater to enjoy a host of festivities. From the infamous Hill, you can hear the DJ hyping up the crowd with popular hip-hop beats. Groups of students, soaked in Black joy, couldn’t resist joining in on the vibe with energy-packed dances and Rattler pride. FAMU was in its element.
FAMU was also celebrating its Annual Giving Day, “1887 Strikes,” fundraising event. The campaign raised more than $660,000 to support initiatives and scholarships for students, according to FAMU News. Free t-shirts were offered as mementos at the amphitheater.
While the party was in session, ambitious vendors greeted students and non-students with all smiles, proud to be a part of the FAMU culture. There were rewarding conversations about their products from boutique clothing and handmade body candles to self-defense tools.
Robert Jones, a 2020 FAMU graduate and journalism major, told BLACK ENTERPRISE about his previous experiences at Set Friday and the student entrepreneurship aspect of the event.
“It was a time to kind of just unwind from the daily grind of being a college student and socialize with my peers as well as take part in a FAMU tradition that was more laid back,” said Jones who works with The Zimmerman Agency.
“This is an on-campus event that consistently brings a large crowd of students and gives student entrepreneurs the platform to showcase and sell their products to their peers,” he adds, “which I think helps build connections and bonds with people that last much longer than their time at FAMU.”
While browsing the talented vendors on campus, BLACK ENTERPRISE also had the pleasure of meeting two unique small business owners, Brianna Rogers and Amber Magny.
CEO Brianna Rogers started her own self-defense accessory line, BriSafe, after surviving a sexual assault in mid-2020. Since then, she has made it her mission to spread awareness about human trafficking and sexual assault, bring local businesses together, and give back to the community.
Rogers, who hails from the small town of Port St. Lucie, FL, said proudly, “You’re basically a family here. I was very nervous leaving home, FAMU literally welcomed everybody in with us.”
She continued, “I’ve learned so many life lessons from this school.”
The Tallahassee-based accessory company began with keychains and now offers a host of undetectable items, including pen and comb knives, tasers, cell phone and jogger stun guns, pepper spray, and more.
A FAMU legacy, Rogers has been vending for 18 months. She takes her business to both FAMU and Florida State University (FSU) campuses every week with the intention to educate students about healthy dating, self-defense, and the significance of saying “no.” BriSafe also offers self-defense classes and will have seminars in the fall.
“One in 5 women on a college campus will be sexually assaulted,” Rogers said. “The set is near and dear to my heart because we get to provide safety for individuals on that campus.”
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Sensual Essence and Elaqor
FAMU student and chemistry major Amber Magny is the owner of Sensual Essence and Elaqor, two mirroring enterprises that aim to not only set a complete mood in your self-care routine but to spark positive conversations. Both businesses operate under the holding company MurderBunny Productions.
Launched in May 2021, Sensual Essence was born with encouraging and celebrating womanhood in mind. Honoring all sizes, colors, shape, and genders, this Tallahassee-based company features handmade adornments such as anklets, bracelets, and waistbeads. “I strive to remind women that they are beautiful at every stage of their life,” Magny says.
Elaqor, established in September 2021, is a luxury candle making brand that sells handmade silhouette body candles. The inclusive brand also offers candle personalization options, including different body types, scents and additional features such as piercings, gold drip, and body chains.
“The market has been extremely valuable,” says Magny, who started vending at FAMU since fall 2021. “I’m able to connect with other students and like-minded individuals. Through it, we are able to speak on interesting topics concerning the importance of body positivity, self-care, confidence, and much more.”
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