It turns out two friends with a shared passion can create quite a buzz and so can their tee shirts!
“Anne McGraw and I started LKN Local because we were hard-pressed to find Lake Norman apparel that we wanted to wear ourselves!” says co-owner Larisa Kamp. “We wanted soft, flattering pieces that were cute and classic.”
The two friends checked their own personal favorite shirts, and since Bella + Canvas immediately stood out as a brand they both loved that’s where they started. As they have added other apparel companies to their product line, the focus remains on quality and comfort.
“We also love fabrics that are garment-dyed, or vintage/beach washed so they feel soft and lived-in,” says Anne. Who can argue with that?
This is a small business that prides itself on being designed and printed by LKN locals, for LKN locals!
“Anne and I became fast friends in 2007 when we lived in Maryland and were teachers at the same school,” says Larisa. (She taught middle school art and Anne taught second grade and technology). Nearly 15 years later, they are family for sure.
“Our husbands’ jobs eventually brought our families to Lake Norman, and we quickly realized lake life is the best life!” Anne adds. “The lake is effortless, casual, and inviting. It’s a place equally perfect to relax and unwind or party until you are sunburned and out of beer!”
Echoing the same thoughts as most Lake Norman residents, there’s nothing better than a sunny afternoon boating with friends, or even some quiet time paddle boarding right at sunset. Something about the entire Lake Norman area and its surrounding communities evokes a true southern hospitality, a feeling Larisa and Anne hope shines through in their merchandise. Their business is a labor of love, and their talents are a perfect match.
Larisa, the artist, might sketch out a design idea on paper, then Anne, the graphic designer, will digitize that idea.
“We then work together on composition and fonts, until we get something that’s just right,” says Larisa. “This part of our work is really fun!”
The two want their designs to appeal to anyone who lives around the lake – and loves it as much as they do – and many of their designs are born from customer feedback. While showcasing their line at local markets and festivals, they love talking to people as they shop the booth, to see what styles and colors are most sought after.
It’s always been important to these creative entrepreneurs to keep their operations as local as possible, and while they aren’t currently able to print their own apparel, they sought out several women-owned businesses in Mooresville and Cornelius who source and screen print for them.
For both Larisa and Anne, being best friends and business partners is a blessing. “It never feels like work when we are together, even if it’s folding, tagging, or quality control,” says Larisa. Seeing friends and neighbors wearing their tee shirts out and about in the community is also thrilling!
This artistic duo truly loves living near the lake, and when thinking of a way to give back, they searched for organizations who were deeply committed to protecting the water and wildlife of Lake Norman. The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists were a perfect fit, and both receive a portion of their proceeds.
“Our shirts not only look good, but they also do good!” says Anne.
LKN Local Apparel and home products such as fine art prints, note cards, and ornaments can be purchased via their website, Lkn-local.com, and assorted apparel and products are also available at many Lake Norman area retailers. Shipping is always available, along with free local delivery around Lake Norman.