Shopping locally and supporting Cape Cod entrepreneurs go hand in hand. There are numerous shops, restaurants, artists, musicians, and other services run by young Cape Codders. Each and every one of those entrepreneurs has pride in their home and it shows in the products and services they provide. However, a group of three young ladies on the Cape went in a slightly different direction. They decided that the actual experience and quality of life here deserved to be shared. It was through this idea that LoveLiveLocal was born.
The brainchild of Amanda Converse, Kate Sheehan, and Jen Villa, LoveLiveLocal has rapidly gained a huge following and sparkling reputation since its inception. It has also spawned the premiere gathering of local vendors the LoveLocal Fest, held three times yearly beginning in July 2013. It is here that the local artisans and craftspeople can setup shop as a community. With upwards of 1,000 people visiting these events are a huge opportunity for those artisans.
Before the LoveLocal Fest became a highlight of the Cape Cod calendar Amanda, Kate, and Jen were busy establishing LoveLiveLocal which began as a monthly email full of things to do as well as the local businesses and people to know. Each of the three young professionals were already deeply connected to the Cape long before they became entrepreneurs. Amanda was born and raised on the peninsula, Kate moved to the Cape as a child with her family, and Jen’s childhood was spent summering here.
As time passed Kate moved away from the Cape to find her own piece of success as so many young professionals do. Jen and Amanda remained and ironically would open businesses right next door to each other in Downtown Hyannis. In 2011 Kate returned, temporarily she thought. It was around this time that Jen and Amanda would meet Kate. The three of them had always heard the talk of there being ‘nothing to do’ on the Cape and that the young professionals could not succeed here. Having been running their own businesses Jen and Amanda did not believe that this was true.
“When we met Kate,” Amanda Converse says, “we showed her the great quality of life there is here. She said they should package that service, and LoveLiveLocal was born.” The idea of packaging the quality of life and the general vibe that is Cape Cod has been warmly received. The tireless hard work and dedication to promoting the Cape by Amanda, Kate, and Jen is sincere and shines through.
In addition to the emails, website, and festivals promoting the Cape LoveLiveLocal’s contributions go deeper.
“It is also a local business advocacy organization,” Converse says, “that promotes shopping local and encouraging people to invest in the Cape Cod community by spending their dollars with locally owned businesses.” They have backed up that desire to invest in Cape Cod with the recent introduction of ‘Project Cape Made’ apparel at the LoveLocal Fest held this year on July 31st. LoveLiveLocal will donate fifty percent of the profits from the sales of Project Cape Made to local entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses on Cape Cod.
Despite their rousing success here Amanda, Kate, and Jen realize that there has been a trend of young professionals leaving Cape Cod to find greener pastures.
“We understand that there are barriers for some younger people to stay and prosper on the Cape,” Converse says, “such as high housing costs as they compare to salaries and wages.”
Having said that these three young professionals have indeed made it on the Cape when many others have left. What are their reasons for staying?
“We choose to focus on the positive,” Converse says, “the absolutely gorgeous natural environment, the incredible artists and local musicians, the creative and passionate people who give our community its character, and of course the strong local businesses. These are all reasons to stay on the Cape and try to make things work, asking for support along the way. We’re all in this together!”
2017 is shaping up to be a banner year from LoveLiveLocal. There will be more LoveLocal Festivals of course; however there will also be the third issue of the CapeMade Field Guide. It is the go-to resource for discovering local products, businesses, and places to see all over Cape Cod. They will also continue to raise money through Project Cape Made.
Before all of those great things can occur next year there is still one big event to go in 2016. On Sunday December 4th the third LoveLocal Fest of the year will be held. This will take place at the Cape Cod Community Media Center at 17 Shad Hole Road in Dennis Port from 12-5pm. There will be more than one hundred local vendors on hand selling their wares at this third annual Holiday edition of the festival.
Sean Fitzpatrick, founder of Cape Cloth, closes with some very high praise for the work of LoveLiveLocal.
“Amanda, Kate, and Jen are a beacon of positive, progressive ideas that benefit the quality of life on Cape Cod,” Fitzpatrick says. Their tireless effort to bring attention to hard-working locals is something they should take great pride in as they have made a tremendous impact on so many people’s lives on Cape and beyond. That’s what life is all about: being the change you wish to see. They are living examples.”
For more on LoveLiveLocal visit their website at LoveLiveLocal.com, or stop in to see them at 539 South Street in Hyannis.
By Christopher Setterlund