Comic books, ink drawings, Hoosky shirts and Rooted Living granola among gifts selling at holiday market

Member of the Northeastern community shopping at the holiday market.
A member of the Northeastern community shops at a booth in the Northeastern annual holiday market held in the Robinson Quad tents. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Gabriel Joy Reid said he has been doodling forever, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that motivated him to start drawing comics.

In his comics, Reid said, colorful and uplifting, he touches upon such topics as superhero powers, representation and social justice.

“All my work is geared towards middle schoolers and younger readers,” said Reid, who graduated from Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media and Design with a bachelor’s degree in media arts and screen studies last spring.   

“I felt like, when I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of things that I could read where I saw myself in it. And I wanted to be that creator, who can help kids see themselves and also be themselves when they’re reading and finding media content.”

With the help of a Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo grant, Reid was able to publish his comics, “Kid Chrysalis: Butterfly Warrior,” a coming-of-age superhero novella created to help increase positive Black and LGBTQ+ representation in content for children and teenagers. 

“Kid Chrysalis,” along with Reid’s two other graphic novels and some fun stickers and bookmarks were available for sale at the Northeastern Market-Holiday Edition on Thursday afternoon at the Robinson Quad on the Boston campus.

Northeastern University Alumni Relations brought the holiday market back once again this year, featuring makers from the Northeastern community under the motto “Shop Northeastern.” Sydney Love, a current entrepreneurship research co-op, led the planning and execution of the market.

The vendors offered a wide range of products, from indulgent treats to artwork to sustainable goods.

Henry Palmer, who completed his master’s in business administration program at D’Amore-McKim School of Business in 2020, represented his business, Lochtree LLC, a destination for curated sustainable products that help make small daily decisions about protecting the environment. 

“People are generally concerned about the impact they make on the environment,” he said. “But they need sustainability to fit into their life. If we can make it easier for people then all of a sudden people start to become more inclined.”

Among the products displayed and sold at the Lochtree table were wax food wraps, solid conditioner and shampoo in paper packaging, eco-friendly laundry detergent strips, lobster rope doormats and much more.

To springboard his venture, Palmer said, he worked with IDEA, a student-led venture accelerator that fosters the development of entrepreneurs in the Northeastern community.

Some holiday market participants were raising money for different causes. Katie Hemphill, a 2019 graduate of the College of Professional Studies and director of Northeastern’s Technology Ventures and Talent Network, was selling digital prints of black-and-white pen and ink drawings and watercolors created by her late sister-in-law, Sam Hemphill

“She could have been an artist, clearly,” Katie said.  

Sam was an environmental engineering student at Northeastern when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She was a program director of the Uganda initiative for the Northeastern chapter of Engineers Without Borders. 

“They’re in the process of implementing a water filtration system that she helped design,” Katie said. “And in her memory, we sell these prints to ensure that the memory of her lives but also so that Engineers Without Borders has a way to fundraise.”

Annie Kelly, an environmental studies student expected to graduate in 2025, was shopping for herself and for Christmas gifts. She bought a hat and black mittens with white outlines of hearts embroidered on them from Hand_knit_hats. 

“My roommate had a table here last year so I bought something from Rita,” Kelly said. “I wanted to come back and support [her this year].”

Kelly didn’t mind the cold and said she liked seeing a range of businesses, especially student businesses.

Some other vendors offered fashionable additions to anyone’s wardrobe. Better Than Belts brought its sustainable unisex suspenders, while Hoosky, a student take on Northeastern merchandise, was selling comfortable crewnecks, hoodies and T-shirts with husky parody drawings on them.

Michelle Calderon was one of the returning vendors. Her company, Addition Beauty, produces nontoxic everyday lipsticks in neutral shades that complement all skin tones, she said, and are not harmful to pregnant women and their babies.

“I have PCOS, which is polycystic ovarian syndrome, and I was just looking for ways that I can have a holistic, healthy lifestyle,” said Calderon, who received her master’s in business administration degree from D’Amore-McKim School of Business in 2021.

She stumbled across information, she said, that there were toxins in beauty products. She was hurt and disappointed that no one ever mentioned it to her.

“I was a cosmetic chemist for a major beauty company for a couple years prior to getting my MBA,” Calderon said. “ So I went back in the lab, put my chemist’s hat back on and started formulating the formula, which exists today, the everyday lipstick in three different shades.”

Addition Beauty received Innovator Awards honors in 2021 from the Women Who Empower, Northeastern’s inclusive women-led entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs through events, scholarships, mentorship programs and entrepreneurial initiatives. 

The shoppers were able to not just feed their souls at the market, but also buy some delicious treats from the Sweet Piglet bakery, owned by Meghan Phan, class of 2022, and her mother, Armanda Britton, and try some tasty granola from Rooted Living, founded by Northeastern student Rachel Domb.

Other businesses that joined the holiday market this year were Bos. Shop South End by Black Owned Bos., a platform that highlights and uplifts Black-owned businesses, places and spaces; Made by Sarah with hand-poured candles with scents reminiscent of a Christmas tree farm or the clean memories of the outdoor shower; The Wildflower Company, a creator of a 12-month, undated planner and a community that supports people in creating a thoughtful and purposeful life; and Wendy Draws by Wendy Jia, a recent graduate and a motion designer and 3D artist, who brought her illustrations, stickers and crocheted creations.

Those who missed the market can still find gifts by visiting the online store Shop Northeastern. This way shoppers will be supporting about 200 businesses founded and owned by Northeastern alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff. Their offerings include apparel and skincare to beverages, e-commerce sites, restaurants, authors, marketing services and more.

Alëna Kuzub is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at Follow her on X/Twitter @AlenaKuzub.