As many businesses cope with the stress of COVID-19, one Wallingford woman is opening up her doors for small vendors who planned to participate in fairs and festivals.
Lisa McMurry is the owner of Lisa's Soap & Naked Natural L.L.C. McMurry creates handmade soaps and is a state-licensed cosmetic manufacturer.
"I've been doing this for a long time and sometimes people call us the carnival people," said McMurry.
McMurry has been making handmade soaps for more than 20 years and had dreams of becoming a store owner. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many festivals and fairs have decided to cancel the events to adhere to both state and CDC guidelines.
"I've always had a dream of having my own store and provide customers with a great experience while looking for soaps," said McMurry. "When the store became available, I said that's it, I'm going for it."
McMurry said that she understands the ups and downs of being a business owner and saw many of her colleagues looking for different ways to sell their merchandise. The business owner decided to give vendors the opportunity to sell their items in her store.
I'm charging them less than the crafts fair to come here and I tell them 'your money is your own and what you sell is what you sell,'" said McMurry. "I take in only handmade only in Connecticut vendors."
At least 20 vendors and their items are showcased throughout the store:
- Salem Woodshop (Naugatuck)
- Lin’s Candles (Wallingford)
- Backyard Candles (South Windsor)
- Margaret Chase (South Windsor)
- Pallet Grannies (Fairfield)
- Driftwood Dreams (Milford)
- Grateful Paws (Trumbull)
- My Sister's Baggage (Watertown)
- Bakers Woodshops (Hartford)
- Let it Flow (Oxford)
- Spiritual Balance
- Goatboy Soaps (New Milford)
- Nantucket Spider (Wilton)
- Typsy Gypsy (Hamden)
- Lorlynn (South Windsor)
- Pebble Portraits (Milford)
- DnF Lamp Designs (Naugatuck)
- Crystal Webb Jewlery Design, LLC (Southbury)
Danya Kasperzycki is the owner of Typsy Gypsy and developed her businesses after graduating from college.
"I started making jewelry and I decided to use bullet casings to design earrings and necklaces," said Kasperzycki. "The name comes from me working as a bartender and creating these unique pieces of jewelry."
Kasperzycki told NBC Connecticut that she relies on festivals and fairs to make a good portion of her money but the coronavirus has mostly eliminated that option.
"I did a lot of selling in person and that was the way that I did the bulk of my business," said Kasperzycki. "I've had to really improve my website and encourage people to head online to buy some of their favorite items.
Kasperzycki and McMurry have known each other for a few years after meeting at one of the fairs and Typsy Gypsy was one of the first vendors who signed on.
"Lisa's store is extremely helpful right now especially for small business owners," said Kasperzycki. "A lot of vendors are happy that she offers a low monthly fee to allow us to sell our merchandise."
Lisa's Soap & Naked Natural L.L.C. is located at 28 N. Colony Road. The business store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the store number is 203-269-4480.