When Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez launched Maker’s Row in November 2012, their goal was thus: to connect U.S. manufacturers with brands looking for stateside production. But it didn’t take long for the duo to realize they could do more for the American-made movement than simply provide a digital database of suppliers and what they specialize in.
“We’ve seen more than 1.5 million products get produced through our site and we wanted to showcase the amazing innovation, ingenuity and diversity of designers across the U.S.,” Menendez explained. “Maker’s Row was never meant to be an online store. But given the incredible inventions that we’ve seen generated over the past two years, we couldn’t pass this opportunity to showcase ‘Made in America’ for the 21st century to the world.”
And so, on September 3, less than three years after the site first became a Made in U.S.A. matchmaker, The General Store by Maker’s Row opened for business, calling itself “an immersive online experience that explores Made in America on a consumer level.”
Categorizing goods into such collections as “Holding Onto Summer” and “Modern Nerd,” The General Store features homegrown products ranging from hardwood sunglasses to a backpack made from Pendleton wool to a reclaimed cotton twill shirt and more.
The company also made a concerted effort to showcase that Made in U.S.A. doesn’t necessarily mean bigger price tags. A “100 Under $50” section highlights $22 socks from Mamba, a Pistol Lake raglan-sleeve tee for $35 and $19 tote bags from Brooklyn’s Owen & Fred.
All e-commerce partners will handle the drop ship. “Once the customer places the order, the sales order is separated into purchase orders that are sent to their respective vendors who will then fulfill the order from the vendor’s location,” she explained, adding that while most orders will be shipped out within three business days, some items are made to order and production can take several weeks.
“As we continue to make manufacturing in America more and more accessible, the demand and interest in American-made products has grown. Consumers want more of a story and understanding of where the products they buy are coming from,” she said, noting that Maker’s Row will share the narratives behind these brands and the products they sell through original interviews on the site. “We are also throwing monthly events in New York City—and eventually nationwide—highlighting brands and the production process.”