Middle Tennessee small businesswomen look to make record sales at Pilgrimage Fest

Middle Tennessee small businesswomen look to make record sales at Pilgrimage Fest

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — This weekend, the Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin will be filled with food trucks, family fun and lots of music as the Pilgrimage Festival of Music and Culture kicks off for its eighth year.

The festival, headlined by Chris Stapleton and Brandi Carlile, will also feature several small businesses based in the Nashville area, selling their wares to the festival crowds.

The Nashville Blanket Project, Tye Dye Mary and Strings for Hope, all based in Nashville, will make repeat appearances at the festival in Williamson County this weekend. The three hope to spread the word about their business, make new contacts, friends and enjoy music.

Marissa Barrett, co-founder of The Nashville Blanket Project, hopes sales at this year’s festival will help her and her husband, Chris, reach their goal of giving away 10,000 blankets to those in need.

The Nashville Blanket Project sells authentic and ethically made Mexican blankets and donates a blanket to a neighbor in need for every blanket sold. (Courtesy: The Nashville Blanket Project)

Marissa and Chris, both Nashville natives, started The Nashville Blanket Project in 2018 as a social enterprise, a company like TOMS that operates a charitable buy-one-give-one model.

“The mission of the Nashville Blanket Project is to keep Nashville comfortable,” Marissa told News 2. “For every blanket sold, one is given to a neighbor in need. We partnered with local nonprofits People Loving Nashville and the Community Resource Center to get the blankets out.”

Since its inception, the Project has delivered more than 6,000 blankets to those in need in Nashville and in 2021 opened a store in East Nashville.

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This year’s festival is the third for the Barretts.

“We were vendors at Pilgrimage in 2019 and again in 2021,” said Marissa. “Both years, Pilgrimage was our biggest event and it was very well organized.”

Festival sales were 10 times higher than a typical weekend for the Project, something Marissa is looking forward to and preparing to stock up on new products.

Strings for Hope creates handmade jewelry from recycled strings from guitars and other stringed instruments. The business also has a poignant mission to help those who have escaped dire situations.

The Nashville Blanket Project also sells American-made blankets at its East Nashville store. (Courtesy: The Nashville Blanket Project)

“We will be bringing new fall blankets to the festival as well as our trucker hats,” he said. “We anticipate another incredible event with beautiful weather and an incredible lineup.”

Marissa added that she hopes the sales from this year’s festival will help the Project reach its goal of delivering 10,000 blankets by 2024.

Emily Winters, executive director of Strings for Hope, also hopes to share her business with those making the pilgrimage this weekend.

“Our mission is to empower and employ survivors of addiction, trafficking and domestic abuse,” said Winters. “We do this through a job development program where we train survivors in the craft of jewelry making.”

By using recycled musical strings, Winters said, the organization is able to keep thousands of pounds of old strings out of landfills each year.

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“With every donation of old ropes and purchase of jewelry, you are employing survivors,” he said.

This year’s festival will mark the fifth appearance of Strings for Hope, and Winters said he’s also looking forward to this year’s lineup, as it features an artist he enjoyed the last time he performed at Franklin.

“The best thing was when Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake performed together in 2017,” he said. “I really want to see Chris again.”

The increased business is also a draw for Winters, who said the festival typically draws much more interest and traffic and allows the organization to continue to grow.

“Typically at the Pilgrimage Festival we can triple the amount we make on a normal day of sales,” Winters told News 2. “This directly affects growth potential.”

She added that she can’t wait to see all the people who pass by her Maker’s Village location on the grounds, educate them about Strings for Hope’s mission and history, and enjoy the atmosphere.

For those looking to spice up their wardrobe with fun, original colors, Mary Deprez has what you need.

Deprez runs Tye Dye Mary and is an expert in the art of garment dyeing for good reason: she’s been at it for over four decades.

A Tye Dye Mary customer is wearing a hand-dyed garment much like the one that will be available at Pilgrimage this weekend. (Courtesy: Mary Deprez)

“This is my 43dr year in my profession, and it’s all I do,” he told News 2.

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Mary represents “an amazing accumulation of experience enjoyed by my thousands of fans and customers” through her hand-dyed clothing, accessories, home décor and other custom-designed items.

His work has been featured in books, art shows, craft fairs, and even music videos for some of Nashville’s favorite country music stars. Alan Jackson wore a shirt that she dyed in his music video for “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning), and Wynonna Judd wore a garment made of velvet dyed by Mary during a 2005 concert recording.

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This will be her fourth Pilgrimage appearance, which she hopes will be even better than the others, including 2021, when she achieved record sales, she told News 2.

“We will have an excellent assortment of all sorts of varieties and sizes, as well as color and pattern combinations, of preshrunk colorfast garments,” he said of his booth at the festival.

Source : www.wkrn.com

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About the Author: Pierre Cohen

A person who has expertise in politics and writes articles to fill his spare time as a hobby.