Interview with Local Maker Shannon Cohen – Arts Marketplace

Shannon Cohen, Local Creator, Speaks about Experience with Arts Marketplace

Imagine an inclusive community environment in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, where you can shop local hand-made goods, support women- and minority-owned businesses, and gather with friends. Arts Marketplace is just that— a vibrant community hub that supports women and minority makers in our area while promoting diversity and improving the retail presence downtown. We recently interviewed one of our most established and successful makers, Shannon Cohen, who was excited to share her story.

About Shannon Cohen

Cohen is a local maker and entrepreneur who has been with Arts Marketplace since it first opened in December 2020. Her curated products are featured at our anchor store, Pack Elephant, and include books, mugs, greeting cards, stickers, and more.

Cohen has been growing her product line for five years and understands the collective steps necessary to build her brand and increase growth. Her partnership with Arts Marketplace has helped her to do so, and as of January 2021, Cohen has outgrown the production of Arts Marketplace because of the growth of her company. She is currently searching for an updated space, as her business is expanding to be sold at over 200 Meijer stores and 1750 Target stores via a partnership with American Greetings.

Partnership with Arts Marketplace

Arts Marketplace aims to support local entrepreneurs and creators in whatever stage of development their business is in, whether they’re just starting or are already established. When you partner with Arts Marketplace you can be sure to feel empowered and supported throughout the entire process.

“Arts Marketplace gave me a seasonal launch pad to be connected to an incubator for businesses that are in different stages and phases of development, and I think that’s the magic of my experience there,” says Cohen. “I am glad that the Arts Marketplace team has a passion for being an entrepreneurial hub for entrepreneurs as they scale the reach of their brand and business.  The Arts Marketplace provides a safe space for entrepreneurs to test the market and explore possibilities by offering retail space – without the stressors of a traditional five-year lease.”

Cohen also says that the beauty of working with Arts Marketplace is that the partnership is mutually beneficial. Arts Marketplace offered her business access to a central community space, onboarding assistance, and more. The entrepreneurs also give something back in return by providing Arts Marketplace innovative and creative ways to think about supporting and investing in local makers.

Cohen’s Advice to Emerging Makers

Arts Marketplace is an innovative and inclusive place for women- and minority-owned makers to connect to customers and gain visibility and success as Cohen has. Cohen’s success is inspiring, and she offers some advice to emerging makers who want to follow in her footsteps. This advice includes:

  • Begin by building a relationship with Arts Marketplace, regardless of what phase of development your business is in.
  • Be prepared by coming with an ask and offer.
  • Develop authentic and meaningful relationships with customers and other businesses.

Contact Us for More Information on Becoming A Vendor

If you have a woman- or minority-owned business in the Grand Rapids, MI area and want to increase your presence and sell your goods in an inclusive environment, become a vendor at Arts Marketplace. We aim to create opportunities and remove barriers for women and minority makers in our community while also promoting diversity and increasing retail opportunities throughout it. If you’re interested in showcasing your goods at Arts Marketplace and achieving success like Cohen’s, email us at theartsmarketplace@gmail.com.

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