Since its launch in 2012, New York-based company Maker's Row has helped 80,000 business owners find the right factory to make their products right here in America. The B2B startup acts as a sort of matchmaker, connecting designers and entrepreneurs to the manufacturers that can make their ideas reality. Now the company is expanding its reach, aiming to help not only entrepreneurs understand the possibilities of 'Made in America', but consumers too.
The company recently launched an e-commerce site where consumers can purchase American-made products, from skirts to stools, tables to tote bags. The items — 500 of them as of the launch — are divided into apparel, furniture and a fun, mixed bag group called ‘Playhouse.’ Many listings feature a bit of additional information, explaining who makes the item and where it's manufactured for those who like to know the backstory of what they buy.
Made in America for the 21st Century
The site wasn't part of the original plan the team had for the startup. “Maker’s Row was never meant to be an online store,” co-founder Tanya Menendez told Inc.com. But with so many interesting products being produced with the site's help, the founders felt compelled to shine a light on what Made for American really means in the 21st century
“We’ve seen over 1.5 million products get produced through our site, and wanted to showcase the amazing innovation, ingenuity and diversity of designers across the United States,” she says.
In essence, Maker's Row is riding a wave, surfing on the beginnings of a resurgence in American manufacturing, as well as other trends, such as increasing interest among consumers in the story behind the products they buy. “We are standing at the forefront of a massive movement that a couple years ago, there were only whispers to be heard. Entrepreneurship, American manufacturing and consumer transparency have collided into the perfect storm,” Menendez acknowledges.
This confluence of trends is happy news for Maker's Row, of course, but it is also good news for design lovers and fans of quality products who also have an interest in supporting homegrown talent and initiative.