(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Joe Barbaree, business development specialist, Northeast Shores Development Corporation)
You might know about North Collinwood’s vibrant arts community, but have you met the neighborhood’s makers?
The makers movement is a marriage of art, craft, technology and small-scale entrepreneurship that is redefining the world of start-up companies. During the past decade of Northeast Shores Development Corporation’s creative placemaking and attracting artists to North Collinwood, a considerable number of makers moved to and began working in the neighborhood. Some makers have been here for decades.
From old-world sausage to limited-edition prints to graphic design and even world-renowned sails, there are small businesses making things by hand every day in North Collinwood.
Unfortunately, in the Venn diagram of makers and artists, only those makers who blended into the arts world were really connected with Northeast Shores’ support services and marketing vehicles because of the organization’s heavy engagement with the arts.
Made in Collinwood – the newest program from Northeast Shores – rose out of the realization that the incredible number of makers in the neighborhood went unrecognized and missed opportunities to better brand themselves, connect with resources and scale their enterprises. Made in Collinwood aims to address these issues, revitalize the neighborhood’s commercial corridors, support makers and underscore these unique businesses.
The program is still in the early stages, but initial research is leading to sweeping recommendations that will strengthen North Collinwood’s maker network.
On Thursday, Jan. 21, Northeast Shores hosted a gathering for makers and support partners at the Collinwood Recreation Center to present research results from Consultant Leslie Schaller of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks. Beginning in November 2015, Schaller interviewed neighborhood makers, retailers and entrepreneurs to gather their marketing insights and small-business challenges. Along the way, local photographer Bridget Caswell photographed makers to accompany the brand campaign and to share professional photographs with them for their own marketing efforts.
Recommendations from the meeting include creating a shared Made in Collinwood brand for makers, building a stronger network between makers and retailers, developing peer-to-peer education events, establishing micro-business trainings, and leveraging financial resources for business start-up and expansion.
Once the final report is completed, Northeast Shores will convene working groups of makers to guide the implementation of these recommendations.
If you are a maker or supporter provider who wants to be involved with Made in Collinwood, please contact Joe Barbaree, business development specialist at Northeast Shores at 216-481-7660 or JBarbaree@northeastshores.org.
(photos courtesy of Bridget Caswell Photography)