Finding The Right Partners Helped This Father-Of-Two Keep His Business Growing

Wes Johnson, 47, started his business Lawson Hammock in Raleigh, N.C. in 2005 when he was working in home construction and looking for a side hustle. As a camper, he knew that many fellow outdoor enthusiasts were trading their sleeping bags for rugged outdoor hammocks—but that many didn’t offer much comfort. If he could invent one, he imagined there would be a market for it.

Johnson kept his eye out for opportunities to start the business. When he met two brothers who were selling hand-sewn hammocks at outdoor festivals, he offered to buy their inventory with a $30,000 loan he secured from a friend. Selling their wares through Lawson Hammock—the brothers’ last name is Lawson—he built a thriving business and began working on creating a prototype for his ideal sleep hammock.  To make the hammocks, he turned a local cut-and-sew facility.

The Lawson Hammock team. From left to right: Mark Saad, Arthur Tew, Pete Pagano and Wes Johnson.

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