Makers, Artisans, and Craftsmen

Makers, Artisans, and Craftspeople

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Visit the bottom of the page to access the Maine Resource Compass, a searchable directory of resources across the State to help you fund and grow your business. 


Domestic Trade Programs & Resources

  • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs – Offers programs and expertise to help business owners learn how to expand and scale their company. A catalyst for economic growth in Maine.

    • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Top Gun Program - A 15-week educational experience and competition for entrepreneurs with the desire to grow. Winners will receive a cash prize, which in previous years has come in the form of a $25,000 check.
    • MCE Cultivator Program - Hurdle strategic barriers and expand your business to scale with Maine’s first food, beverage, and agriculture scale-up accelerator program.
    • MCE MarketShare Accel Program - Value-added producers can gain access to industry/market data, professional coaching, and tailored assessments to better understand their business and its needs.
  • CEI Sustainable Agriculture Food Program - Free business advising as well as financing opportunities for agricultural & food-related enterprises
    • Maine Tastemakers Initiative - Offers financing, consulting, networking, and market analytics opportunities to help food and beverage companies grow

Grants & Loans 

  • Maine Arts Commission Project Grant for Artists - Supports Maine artists who seek funding for professional development assistance, creation of new work, or continuation of current work. Awards can reach up to $2500. 

  • USDA Value Added Producer Grant - Helps value-added agricultural producers enter value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products, via generating new products, developing and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income. (applications usually due at the end of April)

  • Maine SBDC Micro-Enterprise Grant – will become available in September 2021.

Wholesale Shows

Food/Beverage

  • New England Giftware & Specialty Food - meet buyers from throughout New England and the Eastern Seaboard who are seeking Maine made products.  Held in spring (March - Portland, ME), fall (September - MA). The New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show will feature manufacturers of unique, quality New England made products including home décor, pottery, apparel, accessories, jewelry, toys & games, candles, books, cards & prints, glassware, bath & body products, furniture, spices, candy, sauces, gourmet mixes, baked goods and other specialty food items. 
    • PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, OPEN TO QUALIFIED RETAIL BUYERS ONLY, TWO FORMS OF RETAIL BUSINESS ID REQUIRED
    • Coming soon - Online wholesale portal
  • The National Restaurant Association Show is a can't-miss opportunity to discover the latest innovations in food and beverage and network with professionals from around the world. The show is open to professionals involved in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry is looking forward to its continued support of Maine products at this annual event and has opportunities for four producers who have offerings for the foodservice and restaurant industry. For more information contact: Melissa Jordan at melissa.a.jordan@maine.gov or 207-592-2126.
  • The Produce Marketing Association (Fresh Summit, October, New Orleans) is a trade organization representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry invites and encourages all interested Maine businesses to apply for the purpose of exhibiting Maine produce in the State of Maine Pavilion. FMI contact Melissa Jordan at melissa.a.jordan@maine.gov or 207-592-2126.
  • The Americas Food and Beverage Show (typically held in the Fall, virtual for 2021) is the largest Americas-focused food and beverage trade show in the Western Hemisphere. The show's goal is to assist companies in growing their market share and increasing two-way trade within the US and throughout the Americas. It provides exhibiting companies and visitors unparalleled opportunities to discover new markets, creative new products, ideas, and innovations. If you are interested in showcasing your Maine produced food or beverage product, we look forward to hosting you in the Real Maine pavilion. We encourage all types of Maine food, beverage, and value-added producers to apply for one of four booth spaces at the America's Food and Beverage Show.
    • Why should you exhibit at America's Food and Beverage Show?
      • 10x10 booth space & booth services provided by DACF to 1st time exhibitors – $4,500 value.
      • 11,500+ buyers from around the world attend.
      • Open to all types of Maine food & beverage products.
    • If you are interested or have any questions contact Melissa Jordan at melissa.a.jordan@maine.gov.
  • Specialty Food Association: SFA is a membership-based trade association currently representing more than 3,500 businesses. Members are specialty food artisans, purveyors, importers, and entrepreneurs, as well as distributors, retailers, and others involved in the specialty food trade.
    • Winter Fancy Food (Annually, January - San Francisco): The Show has traditionally been the largest West Coast event focused solely on the specialty food industry. Open only to the trade, attendees will be prequalified and will range from retail and foodservice buyers to food industry service providers, members of the media, and Trendspotters. We are working closely with officials in California and at the Moscone Center to ensure we provide the best event possible. We will be following all the guidelines needed to keep everyone at the event healthy and safe. Details will be provided as they become available. We hope to see you there!
    • Summer Fancy Food (Annually, September - NYC) - 2021 Cancelled.  Frequently check the link for 2022 details.

 

Home Décor/Giftware

  • New England Giftware & Specialty Food - meet buyers from throughout New England and the Eastern Seaboard who are seeking Maine made products.  Held in spring (March - Portland, ME), fall (September - MA). The New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show will feature manufacturers of unique, quality New England made products including home décor, pottery, apparel, accessories, jewelry, toys & games, candles, books, cards & prints, glassware, bath & body products, furniture, spices, candy, sauces, gourmet mixes, baked goods and other specialty food items. 
    • PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, OPEN TO QUALIFIED RETAIL BUYERS ONLY, TWO FORMS OF RETAIL BUSINESS ID REQUIRED
    • Coming soon - Online wholesale portal
  • Highpoint Market (Bi-annually, Fall/September - Spring/April- North Carolina) - Twice a year, buyers from around the world come to High Point Market to see fabulously designed showrooms and exhibits overflowing with beautiful new products. Buyers descend on High Point knowing they will see the most innovative new products, discover unique merchandising concepts, see the trends as they happen, and experience the vision and excitement of this incredible industry. High Point Market features an amazing 12.2 million square feet of showroom and exhibit space and 2,000 manufacturers in multiple buildings in downtown High Point, making it by far the world’s largest home furnishings market; and the one Market you just cannot afford to miss. Each Market attracts more than 75,000 industry professionals who come to buy, learn, and network with thought-leaders, trend-setters, and industry experts providing an abundance of products and fresh ideas.
  • Atlanta Market (Bi-annually, Winter/January - Summer/July): The January 2020 market saw buyers from every U.S. state and more than 60 countries sourcing a broad range of gift and home décor merchandise in more than 4,000 showrooms and temporaries.
  • AmericasMart - Each year, AmericasMart Atlanta hosts 14 Markets for the gift, décor, and apparel industries, connecting thousands of buyers and sellers. The campus is open year-round between Markets with over 400 permanent showrooms across three buildings serving the retail, commercial and design communities.
  • IGES Souvenir and Gift Show (November, 2 shows /Pigeon Forge & Sevierville, TN) - Founded in 1999, IGES is one of the most popular resort, souvenir, and specialty gift trade shows in America. IGES isn’t just a trade show, it’s a vacation experience and business trip all-in-one. IGES takes place every November in the beautiful Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee. Each fall, approximately 4,000 buyers in the travel and tourism industries come from the U.S., the Caribbean, and Canada to shop more than 1,000 booths featuring 400+ vendors in order to find high-quality, original products to sell in their gift stores.
  • Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) - Apply here to be part of the State of Maine Building exhibit venue at New England's largest fair -The Big E. (Returns 2021) 

 

Apparel/Accessories

  • NY NOW - Javits Ctr. NYC - Fall (August Show), Winter (February Show) - Today’s wholesale market for tomorrow’s retail world. Rich with diverse products for discerning retailers, museum stores, and specialty buyers. Where artisans meet designers, celebrate creativity, and tell their stories. Where eclectic products shine, from home style to fashion statements, from amazing accessories to the perfect gift.
    • NY NOW Digital Market – 24/7 online engagement, discovery, and connection platform that meets your buying needs so you can continue to log in and source their products and brands whenever you need to replenish stock, any time, from anywhere.
  • Las Vegas Apparel - (Annually - August) Las Vegas Apparel perfectly complements apparel buying events staged throughout Las Vegas twice a year. The curated, intimate format gives retailers the opportunity to preview featured lines and devote time with favorite brands. In addition to highly competitive booth rates, exhibitors at Las Vegas Apparel can enjoy free oversized parking and no drayage fees.

 

Pet Products

  • Global Pet Expo (March - Orlando, FL) - Exhibit in Global Pet Expo Digital Access to reach new customers and connect with current ones, meet new partners, and learn from industry pioneers and even your competitors that can change the way you develop products and run your own business.  Boost visibility in the New Products Showcase where buyers flock to find dynamic, innovative new products for their customers.

 


Brand Membership

  • Maine Made - The Maine Made Program is operated via the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to assist Maine makers and artisans with enhanced market exposure and increased revenues through its nationally recognized branding.

  • Real Maine - Promoting Maine agricultural products and services to out-of-state consumers under a unified banner

  • Maine Outdoor Brands - A cohesive Maine outdoor products and services program, including outdoors-themed food producers

  • Maine Crafts Association – Organization for craft artists dedicated to education, exhibition, and marketing opportunities for its members

To find more Makers, Artisan and Craftsmen resources please explore the Maine Resource Compass below. You can search this living database to build your network, grow your knowledge base and find funding opportunities. These resources come from all across the entrepreneurial ecosystem — in Maine and beyond.

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