Makers & Designers of the Great Lakes Region
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A Fresh Start Around the Great Lakes

Andrew Russo

The Marketplace is now up and running with 6 vendors in the process of adding their products! As a maker and designer myself it is exciting to see this community grow right from the start. This online marketplace serves as a community to grow local business. The collaboration of brands in one space gives shoppers the opportunity to discover new products within their state/province and around the Great Lakes Region. This idea has been forming in my mind for a couple of years after having many requests to add other brand's products to the Gone Beachin' shop. Many of these artists had great products to offer, but it didn't fit our company guidelines to add them to the shop.

As it stirred in my mind over the years, I wanted to figure out a way that we could collaborate and grow our businesses. After a lot of thought, it clicked that a marketplace would be the perfect fit to make this happen! This marketplace was developed as a virtual space for makers and designers to create their own stores in the same online shop. The niche with this space is that it focuses only on the Great Lakes area. The Great Lakes region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. Each maker and designer is instructed to place a location icon at the bottom of each product description that states whether it was made or designed in a place in the Great Lakes region. We will be driving traffic from over 20,000 followers from our brand's social media to this online community so they can discover makers and designers in this region.

This marketplace is set up to have FREE SHIPPING so there is no confusion on shipping cost when the shopper reaches the checkout. The goal is to provide a seamless shopping experience for both the shopper and the merchant. The price that you see listed is the exact price you will pay for your items and you won't have to worry about paying multiple shipping costs like you may encounter with other marketplaces.

This online shop will also include events that you can find the merchants at and service providers. Service providers are makers that offer custom services for your business. Just like product listings they will be free, but there will be an opportunity to have paid featured listings. This will become available in the near future.

We will also offer a Great Lakes Made Mix & Match subscription box. The goal is to ship the Winter Box in early 2016. This box will include a variety of maker & designer products from the Great Lakes region. As we grow our partner relationships with businesses around the region we will offer box subscriptions for each state and Ontario. This will give makers and designers the opportunity to share their products with new customers to create brand awareness. These boxes will include small items, samples, and coupons for shoppers to use at a later date.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to reach out. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!