Small businesses get their start in Temple classes, clubs

Businesses began through campus bake sales, art markets and screenprinting classes.

Dominic Lanza (left) and Noah Marcuse, founders of Suburban Shore, screenprint one of their designs onto a sweatshirt in the basement of their home on Carlisle Street near Diamond on Feb. 9. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

An assortment of inks, fabrics, papers and screens blanket every surface in Dominic Lanza and Noah Marcuse’s apartment basement — far from the setup of the screenprinting class their clothing company Suburban Shore was born in.

From selling art for the first time at campus art markets to beginning at campus bake sales, student businesses at Temple University utilized techniques from classes and resources around campus to get their start before expanding. 

Lanza, a senior information science and technology major and marketing lead of Suburban Shore, and Marcuse, a graphic and interactive design major and lead designer of Suburban Shore, hand-design and print shirts with designs that represent Philadelphia.  

They currently have a new “Philly Squirrel” design, and take inspiration from funny experiences in the co-creators’ lives, like their “Evil” design, which was based on an inside joke.

Prior to their current setup, Lanza and Marcuse printed their shirts in a screenprinting studio in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture after Marcuse’s screenprinting class, Survey of Printmaking Techniques. 

The class taught Marcuse about the screenprinting process and gave him access to the Tyler art studios and equipment, which made their idea of starting an apparel business possible.

“That kind of opened the door for us because he was like, ‘Oh, like, we have a studio now to print in, we have all the equipment,’” Lanza said. 

Like Suburban Shore, Dani Brodsky attributes the start of her tufted rug art business, Dani Brodsky Art, to her experiences as an undergraduate student at Tyler. Brodsky, a 2020 fibers and material studies alumna, realized she could use her art for business when she participated in the Art Market at Tyler in 2018.

Before transferring to Temple, Brodsky was never exposed to the idea of selling her own work, she said.

“Tyler changed that for me, they really taught me how to sustain myself financially as an artist,” Brodsky said.

Through her experiences at the market and a Business Practices in Crafts course she took in her senior year, Brodsky learned about the commercial side of art, which helped prepare her for starting her business in 2020, she added. 

Brodsky’s business was also an opportunity to continue making fiber arts after graduating. Since August 2020, she’s created freelance art by tufting, or punching a needle and yarn through woven fabric, to create rugs and other art. 

Mary Tran started her business, Mary Makes Macarons, during her first year of pharmacy school, but she had baking experience from when she was fundraising chair for the Temple Vietnamese Student Association as an undergraduate and needed to raise money for the organization. She then hosted bake sales at the Howard Gittis Student Center, she said. 

Tran, now a third-year pharmacy student, started Mary Makes Macarons in 2018 to sell her homemade macarons for profit. Baking helps her express her creativity through macaron designs, and as a busy student, it’s a way for her to relieve stress, Tran said. 

“People can tell whether or not you’re passionate about your product or not,” Tran said. “I started doing that, and people really liked it.”

Her first customers were her friends from the Temple Vietnamese Student Association, and many of them helped advertise her business, which has now expanded to selling in the city. 

“I like, also sell out really quickly and then I have a hard time like, keeping up with my orders, so I guess it’s considered a blessing in disguise,” Tran said.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect the year Mary Tran began Mary Makes Macarons. Tran started the business during her first year of pharmacy school.

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