Helping your brand grow: Small business find path to success at Kannapolis event

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 18, 2023

KANNAPOLIS — For small business owners, getting their name out there is a top priority for success, so events like Kannapolis’ Festival on the Green are a great way to do that.

“We are really just bringing small businesses to the community in all sorts of different ways,” said Hannah Feith, the event coordinator. “We have a ton of our small businesses out here to sell their stuff and get the economy circulating from a local standpoint versus big box (stores).”

Feith is part of Handcrafted Market, an organization that conducts numerous vendor-style events in the area, like the Festival on the Green, which was held at the N.C. Research Campus on Laureate Way.

“We do over 80 events every year, street festivals with different towns and cities,” Feith said.

According to Feith, events like the Festival on the Green are the local vendors’ bread and butter.

“A few (have brick-and-mortar storefronts), but this is mostly what they do full-time,” Feith said. “Many of them do all their business at pop-ups.”

Feith indicated that her organization would return to the research campus location in 2023.

“We have two more events this year (at the same spot), and we will be looking at 100-200 vendors,” Feith said. “We’re going to try to fill this whole horseshoe up with small businesses.”

Jill LeJeune, who runs the Loopy Lefty of Kannapolis, was purveying her wares at the festival.

“I am the one-woman show behind the Loopy Lefty,” LeJeune said. “I am a left-hand crocheter.”

Her mother-in-law taught her the skill, which she picked back up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I started making gifts for my family before my sisters outed me on Facebook,” LeJeune said. “Before I knew it, I had orders coming in.”

She has found a level of success at events like Festival on the Green.

“I usually do pretty well at in-person markets,” LeJeune said. “I like to interact with people and help them choose certain products. I just love it.”

Yari Martinez and Chris Ruff of Ruff Stuff Designs combine events like the Festival on the Green with a consignment setup at Local Focal in downtown Salisbury.

“Events like these are very helpful because a lot of people don’t see us as much online,” Martinez said. “Someone saw us at Jiggy with the Piggy, and they came to see if we were back.”

Ruff explained that it’s hard to explain down everything they do.

“We are really diverse,” Ruff said. “Right now, we have toys at this booth, but we don’t only do toys. We do printed shirts, customizable keychains and air fresheners with pictures. It is kind of like a boutique and a toy shop all in one. We also do custom wood carving designs. We are all over the place.”

Martinez said, “There are some events that only take handcrafted items. When it’s not handcrafted, we can do our toys.”

They source their items from wholesalers and other various distributors.

Salisbury’s Billie Weathers was among the crowd of customers at the festival.

“I came to hang out with my family just to enjoy the day and see what the crafters have,” Weathers said.

Weathers indicated that she likes to shop at small businesses.

“I love to look,” Weathers said. “You get unique things.”

Weathers was at the Sweet Beyond tent. She was lured in by the necklaces, particularly one with a cross.