Handmade Arcade Launches Hyper-local Market Featuring Allegheny County

Handmade Arcade in 2014. Photo by Foo Conner of Jekko.

Pittsburgh, PA (February 4, 2021) /PressRelease.news/ – Following the success of its inaugural virtual marketplace this past December, Handmade Arcade is thrilled to announce the launch of its first hyperlocal marketplace for makers in Allegheny County. This virtual event will run from April 30 through May 2, provides a new opportunity for locally-minded shoppers to connect with and support the resilient makers who face incredible challenges in maintaining business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are responding to the very real and continuing distress of makers in our area,” says Tricia Brancolini-Foley, Executive Director of Handmade Arcade. “The pandemic has disrupted the infrastructure that allows independent creators to support themselves. Handmade Arcade is dedicated to helping makers weather this stressful period and ensuring that Pittsburgh has a robust creative economy once we get through this.”

Handmade Arcade has hosted the region’s most highly anticipated winter marketplace since 2004, attracting 10,000+ attendees, supporting 250+ makers, and hosting a large variety of hands-on activities. Since 2017, the organization expanded its focus to create engaging programming year-round to elevate, educate, and inspire the maker community in southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond. By the end of 2019, the organization had established ongoing youth maker programming, launched Show and Sell, a smaller market focused on new and emerging makers, and was poised to realize the goal of offering impactful programming year-round in 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the creative economy. With the unexpected loss of physical marketplaces, Handmade Arcade’s primary focus became meeting the maker community’s immediate needs. With support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Handmade Arcade created an evergreen virtual marketplace and maker curriculum to assist makers in pivoting to online sales. As a result of these efforts, the organization created a dynamic virtual marketplace that successfully mimicked the experience and energy of an in-person indie craft fair and connected makers with much-needed sales.

The Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace reached 23,000 users and garnered high praise from shoppers and makers alike for its ease of use, engaging immersive elements, and fun virtual events. By expanding the traditional one-day event to an unprecedented nine-day online maker fair, the organization was also able to add new virtual elements to highlight individual makers, invite discussion, and educate shoppers on crafting techniques.

The Handmade Arcade Spring Virtual Marketplace will feature up to 50 makers who live or work in Allegheny County. Applications are open until Sunday, February 21, and accepted vendors will be notified by Friday, March 12. Makers learn more about applying here.

About Handmade Arcade

Founded in 2004, Handmade Arcade provides craft-based artists, designers, and makers with opportunities to sell products, build community, network, improve their business savvy, and share their artistic practice. An early leader in Pittsburgh’s maker movement, Handmade Arcade bridges the gap between consumers and creators while increasing awareness about handmade, locally produced craft goods and processes. Handmade Arcade has helped catalyze the flourishing maker movement in Pittsburgh and transform the region’s landscape of small arts and crafts businesses. 

Media Contact

Tricia Brancolini-Foley – tricia@handmadearcade.org
Executive Director of Handmade Arcade