When Kristie Bergey first started her business 10 years ago, it was somewhat out of spite. She had spent 20 years working as a national retailer and was simply not satisfied with where she was.
“I wasn’t getting where I wanted to in a corporate setting, in the time frame that I was hoping to achieve,” Bergey said.
Bergey, a Temple graduate, has lived in the Fairmount area for the past 14 years. After leaving her job in the corporate world and starting her business, The KB Experience, which specializes in marketing and event planning, she decided it was important to stay in Philadelphia.
“I chose Philadelphia because I live here, really a home base, and anything I can do to give back to the area … I live here and I want to see it succeed,” she said.
What also influenced her to stay in the area was the connections she could make. Being a large city, Bergey knew that a headquarters in Philadelphia would be beneficial to the growth of her business.
“If I grew a business in Philadelphia, I would be able to expand it nationally and internationally, and that is what I got,” Bergey explained.
The KB Experience has flourished over the years, picking up a variety of clients in fields such as fashion, hospitality, arts and entertainment, business and nonprofits. One event that they are internationally known for is Philadelphia Fashion week.
For her clients, Bergey tries to provide the whole package, from marketing to event planning to social media.
“What we do is, we help our client to identify their market,” Bergey said. “We come in and analyze the current marketing that they’re utilizing, and then we give suggestions, and then typically we’re hired to implement what we are suggesting they do going forward.”
Almost a year ago, Bergey and The KB Experience were hired by the Fairmount CDC, an organization she had previously done work with on a volunteer basis.
“A lot of my volunteer work has steered me into some of the doors of my clients – like the CDC, for instance, is a perfect example of that,” Bergey said. “After years of volunteering with them, now they’re a client.”
Being a resident of the Fairmount neighborhood for 14 years, Bergey said the CDC was something near and dear to her heart. She was excited to have a chance to work for an organization that she had such strong ties to. Since adding them to her list of clients, Bergey has had her hands full.
“Now I do the marketing and I run the Arts Crawl, the Food Fling in the fall, and any of the smaller events we do to promote the local business,” she said. “So all the marketing for these events is my responsibility to do through social media and just word of mouth or any paper materials.”
The Fairmount CDC is just as happy to have Bergey on board with them, and they’ve placed a good amount of responsibilities in her hands.
“Kristie is our consultant. She handles our events, marketing, and communication,” Rebecca Johnson, director of the Fairmount CDC, explained. “So she keeps those newsletters and social media going, basically letting people know what we’re working on.”
One of her most recent events was the Fairmount Arts Crawl, an annual fair held on the main stretch of Fairmount Avenue that showcases local artists. This year, the Arts Crawl celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
“It’s really exciting to have this event after all of these years … it’s been something I’ve really enjoyed,” Bergey said.
The event might have seen record numbers of attendees on April 6.
“I have to check, but we typically say that we have about 4,000 people on the Avenue, and this year everybody felt like it was a lot busier,” Bergey said.
Each year the fair showcases the work of local artists and vendors, and attendance rates for those individuals was high this year as well.
“We had the largest amount of vendors that we’ve had since we started putting them outside the venues and, again, everyone just had wonderful feedback,” Bergey explained.
The Arts Crawl experience is something that Bergey takes pride in and will remember for years to come.
“It was great. We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said. “It’s always just getting bigger and better.”
The Fairmount CDC is a dream client of Bergey’s on a professional and personal level, and she is excited to work with them in the years to come. With the success of the Fairmount Arts Crawl, Bergey feels like she has gotten a reality check that she has come as far as she has.
She explained, “Knowing that there were 5,000 people out on the Avenue, and that I helped to contribute to a beautiful day, weather-wise and experience wise … and that it’s something that people will remember the neighborhood by, that’s awesome to me.”
– Text, images and video by Courtney Marabella