By Tracy Shevlin
As residents of the Greater Prince William area look for opportunities to do things locally in their community, Karen Joyner, owner of KOJAM Productions, gets double the fulfillment by producing the events and connecting with the community.
Prince William Living spoke to Ms. Joyner to learn more about KOJAM and their upcoming events and also to learn more about the “Skirt the Issue” trademark.
PWL: Tell us about you and how KOJAM came into being.
Joyner: I am originally from Albion, NY and moved to the Northern Virginia area after college. I passed the CPA exam and had spent the past 28 years working in the banking industry. During that time, I spent years as a dance coach and enjoyed working with the young women. Through that experience, I came to realize how much young girls needed empowerment.
I started KOJAM in 2008 when I was enticed to produce my first event at the Dulles Expo Center called the Active Girlz Expo. It was the perfect event to start with! Since then, the camp fairs evolved as a needed commodity in the NOVA area. Our current Camp Fair sites include Tysons Corner Center and Potomac Mills Mall. We’ve just finished the second year of the “Bumps, Babies & Beyond EXPO” at Potomac Mills and we’ve expanded into local events, like outdoor festivals such as the Taste of Woodbridge and the Chili Cook-off, which will now become annual events.
PWL: How many events are you doing each year?
Joyner: We are up to 10 or 11 events per year. As my enjoyment in the event production arena has grown, I have partnered with other venues including the beautiful Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to produce their spring and fall festivals each year since 2013. Although the outdoor aspect has its challenges, it’s fun to create themed events such as the Taste of Woodbridge and the recent Chili Cook-Off.
Working with Prince William County businesses has been such a pleasure! My favorite events are those that bring the community together for fun family-focused events and that allow the locals to get excited about where they live. A recent example of this was the Belmont Bay Food Truck Festival we held at the gorgeous Belmont Bay Marina last October. The community came together for a delightful day of food, music, shopping and fun!
PWL: What events do you have coming up?
Joyner: We have two summer camp expos coming up in February and March. In February we will be at Tysons Corner Center and in March we’ll be at Potomac Mills Mall. The Expos feature camps of all sorts for both boys and girls. The camps represented are from all up and down the East Coast. Also included are day camps from the Fairfax and Prince William area.
PWL: How do you market your events?
Joyner: The venues do the large-scale marketing. They advertise the events and post banner announcements on their
marquee signs. On our side, we take advantage of minimal cost options like social media, especially Facebook. We also release information on our events on Inside Nova, Patch, Craigslist and Prince William Living.
PWL: Earlier in our discussion, we were chatting about how KOJAM fulfills your creative side, but KOJAM isn’t the only thing you do that’s creative. Tell us about the trademark you received.
Joyner: I trademarked the name “Skirt the Issue” as a fashion label. In short, it’s a private label tube skirt that women wear as an extra layer over leggings or yoga pants. It’s a quick fix and fashion item that can transition workout clothes to more presentable public settings. I am very excited about our Skirt the-Issue label. It was inspired out of a personal need to look presentable leaving the gym but serves a variety of needs. We have had feedback from other women on our website that it was a practical solution for them as well.
We were very pleased and fortunate to be featured on the Today Show in January 2015. We had sent some samples to their female producers who tried them out for their personal use and ended up being excited about the skirts and wanted to feature them on the show. As a result, our skirts were featured as a giveaway in one of their fitness segments.
Our skirts, made of a polyester and lycra blend, are currently manufactured in Fairfax, Virginia and only sold online. We offer 20 solids and seven prints, some with our “Skirt the Issue” Logo printed on them.
For additional information regarding KOJAM Productions,please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/kojamproduction or skirt-the-issue.com.
Tracy Shevlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a native Virginian and long-time Manassas area resident. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she is also an Office Manager.