Hang Ups in KC
Kristi Jurgensen & Carolyn Adams | Liberty & Kansas City, MO
We just couldn’t stop talking to Hang Ups in KC, so we made them tell us about their journey AND take our KCSourceLink Shop Quiz. It’s a two-fer—the only way to craft a profile around two amazing women who create jewelry from upcycled and vintage treasures.
Most recently, Kristi and Carolyn launched the Band of Angels Collection that features jewelry made from retired musical instruments.
Read their story, their plea for handmade respect, their love of KC’s entrepreneurial community and its vibrant resources—and then try them out with a rather awesome deal.
What’s your origin story?
We met through a mutual friend about eight years ago and bonded through our love of creating. Eventually we took a soldering class and our volume of creating increased to the point where we really needed to either stop or start selling what we were making. In 2011 we legally formed a partnership and got serious about this adventure. We set up shop here because we live here – it’s that simple. Our husbands and children have been extremely supportive throughout this journey – none of this would have been possible without their support.
What key challenge did you have to overcome?
Finding a customer base that loves and understands the value of handmade. This is a big part of our journey through the craft show and festival circuit to consigning at local stores.
Why do you do business in KC?
Because we know we can make a difference here. We also love Kansas City’s handmade community (www.handmadeinkc.com) and the Localstart.org movement!
What makes Kansas City a great place to start and grow a business?
The resources such as The Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups, Handmade in KC and Local Start.
What makes Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city? What would make us better?
We think the Kauffman Foundation and the creation of 1 Million Cups alone qualifies KC as America’s most entrepreneurial city. What we feel would make KC better is something that is a slow process: Teaching people who live here that handmade creations are more valuable than what you buy with a coupon at Target, Charming Charlie or Kohl’s. We struggle with people comparing our prices to discount chains.
What is your favorite business resource in Kansas City?
Without a doubt the Handmade in Kansas City Team.
The KCSourceLink “Shop” Quiz
Your entrance music: Thrift Shop by Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis
Your KC happy place: River Market Antiques then lunch at Farmhouse
Your app obsession: Instagram
Your offline addiction: Shopping for antiques & repurposed items
Kansas City’s best move: We love farm to table restaurants. Supporting these businesses is incredibly smart.
Kansas City’s best kept secret: Westside Local & Farmhouse.
Your triumph: Finding passionate and motivated team members for Handmade in KC
Your wisdom earned the hard way: Art & Craft Show wisdom is ALWAYS learned the hard way. We share info within the group to help avoid costly mistakes.
On your entrepreneurial watch list: Localstart.org
On your entrepreneurial wish list: To continue to grow the group (HMIKC) to offer seminars and value to people outside the group as well.
Your KC entrepreneurial crush: We are full out in love with both of our nonprofit partners. Literacy Kansas City & Band of Angels work so hard every day to help the people of our community. Both continue to grow by almost unimaginable leaps and bounds every year. They both are BIG out-of-the-box thinkers. We feel so lucky to be able to share in their success. They may not be what people think of as typical entrepreneurial businesses but trust us, they operate the same way.
Your mentor: Carrie Coogan, executive director of Literacy Kansas City. She’s not our official mentor but she is our biggest cheerleader and was instrumental in our application and presentation for 1 Million Cups.
Where you find your tribe: Handmade in KC, Local Start
Your next move: For us, personally, it will be moving from consigning at local store to wholesaling
Your exit music: We are the Champions by Queen
Hang Out with Hang Ups in KC