More small businesses are selling their goods online as a way to set themselves apart. Especially since COVID-19 forced many of them to close or rethink their brick-and-mortar approach. That’s where Ash O’Connor comes in. In May, she launched Made Cleveland, an Etsy-type platform for local makers all combined in one digital space.
Q: How did Made Cleveland get started?
A: I came to find that there are just so many artists that don’t have representation on a local level. And last year, trying to shop with a newborn and trying to find local creators on the internet was a fun challenge. I just kind of check with the brick-and-mortar locations and said “Hey, let’s bring it online.”
Q: Why did you feel like there was a need for a platform like this?
A: When I did research for this project, I not only asked makers what some of their needs were, but I asked consumers what some of the holes were and how they felt about the local consumer economy. And what I heard frequently is that if there are no year-round local maker markets, that it’s difficult for people to find items.
Q: How does Made Cleveland help connect makers to shoppers?
A: We continue to not only offer air space to makers, but we allow consumers to easily find what it is that they’re looking for. What we’re really talking about is trying to sift through all the noise. We’re also trying to navigate the ever-changing algorithms that are on social media and through Google searches.