Wichita, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita’s small business community settled into historic downtown Union Station this weekend for the BYICT Summer Market, a collaborative program with Bringing It Black and the Women Empowered Market. Some business owners said they’ve been successful despite the pandemic and supply chain issues.
A study by Guidant Financial shows that more than 50 percent of companies were founded in the last five years. Operating during a pandemic has been difficult for some business owners most of the time, but entrepreneurs at the Saturday Market said they are finding their feet in this unpredictable economy.
“Having a thriving, thriving business comes with its own set of challenges,” said Jennifer Penner, owner of H&H Collection.
The H&H Collection offers allergy and asthma friendly scented candles, but the product comes at a price.
“We have a specific supplier that we are looking for for our fragrance oils,” said Penner. “We will definitely have to buy them in bulk. That means shipping costs will increase because it’s coming from North Carolina. ,
Penner isn’t the only business owner feeling the pain of the supply chain. Daddy Daughter Decor sells hand painted flower pots and they navigate the same problem.
“People are running out of supplies like they’re finishing everything,” said David Williams, co-owner of Daddy Daughter Decor. We go somewhere and we find 100 pots and we buy them all and they look at us like, ‘You want 100 of these?’”
For these business owners, the pandemic has certainly helped — some making the difficult decision to leave their full-time jobs to focus on entrepreneurship.
“I have more available schedules to travel to different cities from weekend to weekend,” said Wei Lee, owner of Simple Moriya. “Before, I was doing 15 shows a year. Now we can do 50 to 60.”
Although the time they devote to their craft has increased, some have noticed that the money they have invested in their business to meet rising costs has also increased.
“We go into our personal accounts a little bit,” Penner said, “but at the end of the day, we’re a thriving company and we’re going to keep growing.”
Each business owner said they recently expanded their services. H&H offers a candle-making bar where customers can make their own scented candles, while Daddy Daughter Decor plans to create a collection of pottery with different themes.