Congratulations to the five BIPOC Makers selected to participate in Handmade Arcade’s first-ever BIPOC Maker Accelerator Program!

Hosted in partnership with Sustainible, a woman, minority, and immigrant-owned startup in Pittsburgh, and supported by Neighborhood Allies, this exciting new program exists to uplift historically underrepresented BIPOC makers, craftspeople, and artists in the region’s maker ecosystem.

To successfully participate, makers must commit to completing the following requirements for participation, attend all workshops and meet all milestones, and participate in the Handmade Arcade Holiday Market on December 1 and 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.


Read, sign, and return the Memorandum of Understanding by Monday, August 21, to Tricia at
This document outlines the expectations regarding maker participation and the services that Handmade Arcade and Sustainible will provide to each maker. This document was emailed to you with your acceptance email.

Complete Sustainible’s intake form by Friday, August 25.
Click here for step-by-step directions to complete this process.

By completing Sustinaible’s custom intake form on their online business-building platform, makers will provide critical information giving Handmade Arcade and Sustainible insight into your business. It will allow us to assess your business needs and determine how to help best you succeed. 

Workshops: See the list of dates and details below. 
You must be able to attend all of the workshops to ensure your success.

  • Virtual workshops will be recorded and shared. If you miss a virtual workshop, you are required to watch it and check in with Handmade Arcade’s executive director or Sustainible’s team. We will review the content and answer any questions about your business at that time.
  • We understand that life and scheduling can be difficult, and we will work with you if you must miss one workshop.
  • However, if your schedule does not allow you to commit to the majority of the workshops, we ask that you decline your space in this year’s cohort so that we can give this opportunity to another maker. Your success in this program is tied to your active participation

Financial Support:
Once each maker has attended three of the six workshops and completed the assigned milestones, Handmade Arcade will provide each maker with a stipend of $1000 for business development (e.g., inventory production, marketing materials, investments in e-commerce, booth display items, etc.)

Makers are required to document via a shared spreadsheet how the stipend money was spent. This is for reporting purposes only. Makes will not need to provide receipts.

Holiday Market:
Maker must complete all milestones and attend all workshops to participate in the Handmade Arcade Holiday Market on Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

  • Value 1: 10-foot-by-foot vendor booth is valued at $370
  • Value 2: Highlights on Handmade Arcade’s social media platforms (over 15K+ followers on both Facebook at Instagram) and in email newsletters (15k+ followers) 
  • Value 3: The chance to interact with over 10,000 attendees in two days
  • Makers must be able to load in on Friday, December 1, between 11 AM and 3 PM (specific time TBD in November)

Handmade Arcade makes no guarantees regarding the sales of products. However, most makers report that the Holiday Market generates significant revenue. This opportunity allows the maker an opportunity to connect with consumers and fellow makers and learn a tremendous amount about themselves, their business, their products, and how they fit into the region’s maker and creative economy and community.

Exit interview and/or survey
After the Holiday Market, each maker is required to take an exit survey or interview. This information is critical. Your honest feedback will allow us to understand how to continue to build this program productively. It is also crucial that we can report back to our funder to ask for the program to be funded again in 2024.

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Milestone One: Carefully review and return Signed Memorandum of Understanding to Handmade Arcade 

  • Complete by Monday, August 21

Milestone Two: Sustainible’s digital intake business-building form

  • Complete by Friday, August 25

Workshop One: Digital Audit and Set Up

  • One-on-One Meetings with Sustainible during the week of August 28
  • Calendar link to sign up for your one-on-one meetings coming soon

Workshop Two: Product Photography
In-person with Sustainible on Monday, September 4 at 6 PM / Location TBD

  • Discussion about the importance of good product photography
    • Let us know what type of phone you have beforehand 
  • Outcomes: 
    • To teach participants how to take photos, to allow participants to walk away with photography assets
    • 45-min group training on how to use their phones (or cameras) to take the best pictures; discussion about framing, lighting, and background setup; phone settings, etc
    • 30-min one on one for product photography and headshots 
      • Bring 3-4 products, and any other props to use for picture taking
      • Come prepared and dressed for headshots  

Workshop Three: Schedule a one-on-one between September 11-18 with Handmade Arcade

  • One-on-One Meetings with Tricia, Handmade Arcade’s executive director
  • Review and discuss products
  • Discuss ways to
    • Build on existing or improve marketing strategies, packaging, sales
    • Pricing
    • Maximize exposure at the Holiday Market 
    • Plans for stipend use

Milestone Three: After completing Milestones One and Two and completing Workshops One, Two, and Three, makers will receive the $1000 stipend from Handmade Arcade

Workshop Four: Scalability and Operations
Virtual with Sustainible on Monday, September 25 at 6 PM

  • Participant Preparation 
    • Fill out the budget worksheet before the meeting (this will be confidential)
    • List the inputs of your product and how much each input costs (this will help you identify what you should be tracking – from the smallest to the largest expense)
    • Consider overhead costs (web server, studio rent, subscriptions, business memberships, yearly fees, etc.)
  • Intended Outcomes 
    • Participants should have a better understanding of financial literacy – from a larger, overview perspective as well as their own personal budgets
    • Participants learn to calculate their cost of goods sold, how to measure vending sales performance, and how to budget and create a cash flow for their business
    • Participants will understand business insurance options and get business registration assistance if necessary for LLC filing and EIN filing  

Workshop Five: Storytelling + Branding + Marketing
Virtual with Sustainible on Monday, October 2 at 6 PM

  • Participant Preparation: Before the meeting, send Sustainible
    • Brand assets beforehand for a brand audit
    • Draft biography or artist statement (or both)
    • Complete customer profile
  • Intended Outcomes for Makers
    • Personal brand audit
    • Leave the meeting with an outline of how to tell the story about their business and a strong brand structure 
    • Have a good understanding of their customers, walking away with a custom list of SEO phrases, taglines, and keywords to target customers 
    • Set up professional emails with signatures

Workshop Six: Two-Part Workshop
Virtual with Sustainible and Handmade Arcade on Monday, October 9 at 6 PM

  • Part One: Customer Engagement and Retention (30 minutes) 
  • Part Two: Inventory Planning and Production, Booth Display, Product (45 minutes)
  • Q&A (15 minutes)

Workshop Seven: Handmade Arcade Holiday Market and Virtual Catalog
Virtual and open to all participants of the Holiday Market / Date TBD 

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Here’s what you need to know about the Holiday Market:

The Holiday Market is Handmade Arcade’s longest-running and largest event. Consistently drawing approximately 10,000 shoppers annually, the Holiday Market features a wide range of makers from Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Due to its venue and highly engaged audience, the Holiday market hosts up to 250 makers each year.

  • The market is open on the first weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
  • The 2023 Holiday Market will be on Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2.
  • The event occurs annually at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.


Virtual Component

In addition to the in-person market, makers will receive a virtual listing on so attendees can browse makers and plan their shopping day. All participating makers will be required to update their virtual listings with instructions and guidance from the Handmade Arcade team.

Booth Sizes: 

  • Standard Vendor Space: (Value $370)
    • In-person event 
    • 10-by-10-foot display space
    • One 8-by-2.5-foot table 
    • Two chairs
    • Load-in and load-out assistance from Convention Center staff

Market Details:

  • Friday
    • Set up on Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Convention Center Teamsters are available to help).
    • Must stay for the Happy Hour Preview Party on Friday night.
      • Happy Hour Preview Party starts at 5 p.m.; makers must stay until the event ends at 7:30 p.m.
      • .The Friday Night Happy Hour Preview Party is an excellent opportunity to set up early, make some early sales, and meet and mingle with fellow vendors.  
  • Saturday
    • Vendors must be at their booths by 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning to prepare for the 9 a.m. Early Bird shopping.
    • Vendors may not tear down their space until 6 p.m. 

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Generously supported by a RISE HIGH Growth Grant – an initiative of Neighborhood Allies.

Handmade Arcade is proud to partner with Sustainible on this initiative.