Why Our Community Needs a Maker Directory

Downtown Easton, PA

The Lehigh Valley is something special. We've got thousands of people moving into our area every year, and our natives are STAYING (because we're vibrant and we're beautiful)! We've got all types of areas: A little bit city, a little bit rural, a little bit suburban. Drive-able distance to the big cities, thriving arts & culture scene, a nurturing business environment, and an impressive amount of manufacturing!

The population of the Lehigh Valley community is over 700,000 people (plus or minus).  Of those, we estimate that around 14,000 are making things AND selling what they make. Do you want to support them? So do we.

But here's the problem. When you search for these people on Google, they rarely come up. There are many reasons for this, but we'll dive into that topic next time.


Lehigh Valley maker, 4Ever Lilys.

Artistic epoxy/wood cutting boards, made by Lehigh Valley maker, 4Ever Lilys.

Lose-Lose: A Quick Hypothetical Scenario

Let's say you're at a vendor market and you find a lady who makes those trendy gorgeous ocean charcuterie boards, complete with seashells and foamy waves, and sometimes even sea plants. They're around $90. You're attending the market with your beloved aunt, who adores these boards, and wants to buy one, but decides against it because of the price. You both leave, and now you're at home, thinking. Your aunt's birthday is next week-- wouldn't one of those cutting boards make the BEST present??

So you take to Google. You want to find this cutting board lady again. But what should your search terms be?

"Charcuterie boards Lehigh Valley"  --> Results: restaurant businesses who sell catered charcuterie arrangements. Great results here, but NOT what you're looking for.

"Ocean cutting boards made near me" --> Blue Anchor Studio, Middleboro Massachusetts (and yes, Google location is turned on)

"Handmade ocean charcuterie boards Bethlehem PA" --> Facebook Marketplace, Charcuterie boards for sale in Stroudsburg


The final failed search results, before most customers would give up the fight and buy an import.

... in other words, with Google, you will NEVER find this lady. The artisan has lost the sale. And chances are, you'll just go to Etsy and find a pretty board made by someone in another state or country, so your aunt will not have the opportunity to find a board handmade in the Lehigh Valley. This bit of detail might have made the gift even more special.

But to summarize, this scenario is a lose-lose.

This happens ALL. THE. TIME. Why do we assume that we will find the exact makers we need, at the exact moment we need them, when they're only ever available at pop-up markets??  In the end, search engines like Google and even Etsy favor the highest ad bidders, and the lowest prices. They do not favor our Lehigh Valley neighbors. Etsy doesn't even have "Lehigh Valley" as a location filter.


Win-Win: A Better Option: A Regional Maker Directory

OK, let's go back to this scenario. Craft fair... your aunt loves this ocean cutting board... now it's her birthday. Got it.

You go home, and type "Handmade Cutting Boards Lehigh Valley" and the first search result is www.madeinthelehighvalley.com, and there are 5 makers! All verified local crafters, all selling ocean cutting boards. They are listed with portfolios/galleries. Some with personal sites, some with social media. ALL of them are available to learn about, easily.

Luckily, the woman who was at the fair has joined the directory. You contact her, do porch pickup, and your aunt has a great ocean cutting board that she loves.



Building a Maker Directory Helps our Micro Economy

The Fed gives their numbers every so often. Jobs are ____. Unemployment ____. Inflation ____. But our Lehigh Valley economy is more nuanced and personal than this.

Makers who sell their goods NEED to make more sales. It is literally their job. Buying from local makers isn't just a nice sentimental thing to do. It literally helps your neighbors, family, friends, friends of friends. When the rubber meets the road, it supports our regional economy at its source. The people. And, if given the opportunity, we bet YOU would choose to buy something made in the area, over something that was imported. Unfortunately, finding the non-imports online is pretty impossible.

Allentown's Laura Brady, Fine Artist

Allentown's Laura Brady, Fine Artist

Lehigh Valley Author Thomas Lubben

Center Valley fashion designer, Lisa, of Remi Threadz


And here's another thing. If you buy from a local maker, they are more likely to spend those dollars locally later on. The dollars circulate HERE instead of, well, there. If you buy from a national chain, or buy imports, less of that money goes back to our community. It's like we're literally bleeding dollars to other states and countries.

A regional directory of makers is a VALUABLE asset to the community-- people AND the economy as a whole.


The conclusion? Shop locally-made. And makers, join the directory today!!

Whether you live in the Lehigh Valley or you're a tourist, or even if you have literally never been here before, please know that by supporting this website, you are supporting a culturally rich, beautiful community in Eastern PA, with tons of pride and heart. Before you shop Amazon, shop HERE. Thank you so so much for your support!

Are you a Lehigh Valley maker? Stop losing sales! By joining our directory, you are:

1) Adding yourself to a major growing community asset.

2) Creating valuable backlinks to all of your sites and socials, which improves your search engine rankings.

3) Letting a wider social media audience know about what you're making.

Learn more about joining here!