Livermore Downtown Inc. (LDI) is launching a new initiative geared toward artists, makers and creatives to promote and support up-and-coming small businesses.
"Livermore Valley Made" is the name of the free business assistance program that aims to provide increased visibility and access to cottage industry businesses in Livermore.
While initial plans for the program began pre-pandemic, LDI Executive Director Rachael Snedecor said that the pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders afforded many people an opportunity to try new things, resulting in a surge of new entrepreneurial ventures.
"One of the things that COVID did is really increase the amount of cottage industry makers now, whether that be bakers, candy makers or artists," Snedecor said. "They had time to pursue their talents and see what was bringing them joy through COVID and they turned that into an income stream."
Although LDI is promoting the program, Snedecor said its development is a collaborative effort with local business owners and other community stakeholders, including the city of Livermore.
"The Livermore Valley Made campaign arose from our 2020-2025 Economic Development Strategic Plan and our goals to both enhance Livermore's unique sense of place and lower the barriers to entry for our artists, makers and entrepreneurs," said Adam Van de Water, the city's innovation and economic development director.
"Having a coordinated Livermore Valley Made campaign provides structure to an already healthy maker's movement in Livermore, helping connect new entrants establishing and growing their brands with customers looking for unique offerings that support homegrown entrepreneurs," he added.
The components of the program include a new website -- set to launch by the end of the month -- which will serve as an online directory where locals and visitors can find artists and makers in various categories selling locally made goods.
Another aspect of Livermore Valley Made is identifying ways to connect the makers with the brick-and-mortar businesses in town, according to Snedecor. For example, providing opportunities for the makers to get their products on shelves at some of the downtown shops or facilitating partnered events with one another.
The third piece of the program is hosting pop-up experiences and makers markets downtown for Livermore Valley Made participants to showcase and sell their work.
While Livermore has existing selling opportunities like the farmers' markets, currently held twice a week, and the monthly Batch Makers Market, Snedecor said some makers are not looking for that level of exposure and may not produce enough product to consistently sustain a booth at a larger market.
She also said that with the influx of new makers, offering more opportunities for them to get their products seen and sold will ultimately benefit them. "It's not about competition. It's about success through collaboration," Snedecor said.
The first Livermore Valley Made pop-up experience is set for Sept. 18, which will coincide with an official launch.
LDI is currently calling upon artists and makers to submit their businesses to be added to the new website. They are asking interested participants to send an email with a company name, contact name, email address, mailing address, website, Instagram, product type and a product photo to [email protected]