BALTIMORE — If you're looking to support local businesses this holiday season, check out the Made in Baltimore website.
The initiative, which is run through the Baltimore Development Corporation, normally does a holiday pop-up shop each year to showcase products made by artisans and entrepreneurs based in Baltimore. COVID-19 forced them to take the pop-up store online this year.
Andy Cook, the executive director of Made in Baltimore, said they created a holiday lookbook, both online and in print, that features 70-80 businesses. The online store features 30-35 businesses and can ship products directly to customers.
"A lot of the favorite brands from past years, our top sellers, as well as some new brands that just joined us," he said.
Made in Baltimore works with more than 250 businesses that sell everything from jewelry, clothing, bath products, home decor and more. Its been holding a holiday pop-up shop since 2015.
"I can’t begin to tell you how much of an integral role they’ve played in the growth of my business," said Kellie Martin, CEO of Earth Elements Soapworks.
Earth Elements Soapworks sells organic soaps, lotions and other bath products. Martin was inspired to start the business by her great-grandmother, who she said made her own soaps.
Martin found Made in Baltimore a couple of years ago and credits them with helping her find a new commercial space.
"It’s life changing to be in this space and to be able to produce my products and see my business grow, and from here the sky’s the limit, but this is definitely a major step in the organic growth of Earth Elements Soapworks," she said.
It's been a difficult year for small businesses, but Cook sees some hope. He said he's heard from several business owners, like Martin, who are seeing a bump in sales this holiday.
"We are seeing a lot of people grabbing onto this buy local message and lot of people in our network are experiencing pretty robust sales this season," he said. "I think the message has gotten out there that it’s important to support small businesses right now and I hope it continues to do that beyond the holiday season."