Meet Kerry Bamsey

Kerry Bamsey wants you to take action on your dreams

Kerry Bamsey has had a busy year. She’s gotten her own business off the ground and is now helping other women do the same.

On top of her 9-5 in corporate HR, Kerry started Junkin Market Days, an indoor market that is filled with repurposed, rustic, shabby chic, farmhouse, vintage and one-of-a-kind finds. Junkin Market Days is a two- to three-day event featuring hand-selected local vendors. The market features all kinds of goods from local vendors like boutique clothing, jewelry, home decor, furniture, candles, and more. But one item that really struck Kerry at the market came from a woman in Nebraska. She hand-dyed pieces of corn kernels and used them in unique pieces of jewelry to honor the land in the Midwest.

“You won’t find these kinds of items at Hobby Lobby or Amazon,” Kerry says. There are all kinds of unique things at Junkin Market Days, and Kerry clearly loves each one – but what she loves even more are the vendors and attendees that make the days possible.

            

“The number one challenge I faced was people asking, ‘Why would you hold an event during COVID?” Kerry says. But she felt strongly about bringing her community together and showcasing some of the incredible small business owners and local makers from across the Midwest. Kerry figured she might as well put it on and see what happened.

“Thousands of people came,” she says. “I knew it was something the community wanted and so I committed to offering the event in the spring and fall.”

“I know several people who are small business owners and makers who were really struggling,” she says. “I knew there was a way to connect customers and makers, and I think people are really wanting to support small businesses right now. People want to support those in their communities.”

Kerry has also begun mentoring other women who want to bring Junkin Market Days to other parts of the country. When it comes to starting a business, she wishes more women had the confidence and encouragement to act on their ideas.

“Take action!” Kerry says she almost got stuck at the stage of asking friends and family for advice, and if she had, she never would have taken the first step to getting Junkin Market Days from just an idea to a successful event. “As women, we feel like we don’t have a lot of options. But there are a lot of ways to make money, especially if you’re open to starting with a side hustle.”

With working a full-time job and running Junkin Market Days throughout the pandemic it’s a wonder that Kerry hasn’t felt burned out, but she thinks it’s because she’s passionate about the work she’s doing. Having to suddenly work from home five days a week was a major adjustment, and so was working on Junkin Market Days during her downtime. But she thinks it was just that that kept her from burning out. Knowing she was running a business on the side forced her to focus on work-life balance throughout the year, and incorporating fitness into her routine has been a huge help.

When it comes to what action to take first, Kerry recommends looking at other women and businesses who’ve been successful in the industry you’re interested in. If it’s working elsewhere, it’s likely to work for you.

“2021 has been all about learning something new,” she says. “I didn’t know how to make a website or boost things on Facebook. I even learned how to make a QR code! This has been out of my element, but I figured it all out.”

The next Junkin Market Days will be held in Fargo on October 29-30. For tickets and additional information, visit their site. Vendors are also encouraged to get in touch if they are interested in participating in future markets.