What is Nebfest?
Kari Howard: It’s a 3D music festival. You’ve got three stages, vendors, a fire-breathers workshop you can attend. It’s basically like one big, happy summer music festival right here in Atwood, Tennessee.
Heath McKissick: Nebfest is three days, [. . .] 30+ artists. Rock, reggae, indie rock. [. . .] Everything’s a show. [. . .] We have workshops the whole weekend. You can come and learn how to juggle, you can learn how to eat fire, you can do belly dancing, you can do yoga. [. . .] You pay one ticket, and you just come for the whole weekend.
Kari: You know we’re trying to mix this summer fun crowd with the—what should we call it?—“music artsy festival” crowd. [. . .] So we’re trying to just combine the two into one like transformational weekend, you know? They get exposed to the culture that they’re involved with, and they kind of get exposed to the culture of Jackson and the surrounding cities. Yeah, it’s super cultural, and it’s something very unique to Jackson that nobody else is doing.
Tell us about your experience with CO.STARTERS.
Heath: We’ve been in business for three years, and CO.STARTERS was brought up to us I think by Dan [Drogosh]. We were talking to him about [. . .] us being in beginner stages, wanting to figure out more in depth on how to run a business.
Kari: And then, too, just networking and being able to learn marketing skills a little bit better. And then just the big things—just connections with meeting people and getting our name out there.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from CO.STARTERS?
Kari: Probably just marketing because that’s what I study, so just being able to learn from an actual marketing whiz.
Heath: The biggest thing for me—and I know it’s gotta be pretty big for [Kari]—is being able to look at our business more in depth. . . . We were able to do daily tasks and kind of figure out where we wanted to go, but being able to look at our business and figure out what our brand is like in depth—like the different little practices that we’ve done in CO.STARTERS [. . .] and figuring out, you know, who we are [. . .].
Who at theCO has been helpful for you?
Kari: Walking in seeing Dan’s face, he turns around and says, “Hey, guys! How’s it going?” It makes us feel really welcome. He helps a lot. Lisa [Garner] has been awesome, too.
What is the vision for you guys five years from now—still doing Nebfest?
Heath: Definitely still doing Nebfest. We’d like to start up at least one other event.
Kari: We’re dabbling in an art festival, maybe here in Jackson.
Heath: The goal for us would be to obviously keep growing. We’re starting up another event now, and we also just started another business, so we’ll be putting a lot of energy into those three. [. . .] I guess the goal would be to get to the point where we’re not working for a day job anymore, and I wake up and feel confident. [. . .] If we’re not at work at our day jobs, we’re working on our businesses.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about the CO.STARTERS?
Kari: I definitely recommend CO.STARTERS. It’s been super helpful for us. [. . .] Having that commitment [. . .] and the accountability, that is huge as young entrepreneur.
Heath: Yeah, having that accountability and having all these resources up here [along with] being around like-minded people is huge, and it’s brought a lot to our business.