Lidded jar from Pittsburgh-based STAK ceramics which is on Etsy.

Etsy, the online marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy unique goods, is coming to Pittsburgh to jumpstart a major new initiative.

On March 8, Etsy will present Etsy Manufacturing Day at the Energy Innovation Center from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. The free event is focused on Etsy’s new marketplace connecting manufacturers with its global community of 1.5 million designers.

The goal of Etsy Manufacturing is to help Etsy designers find the right partner who can help with production in four initial categories: printing; machining and fabrication; apparel and textile; and metalwork and jewelry. The online search for U.S. or Canada-based manufacturers is by trade, location, areas of expertise and more.

“We’re excited to visit Pittsburgh and connect with manufacturers in the community,” says Emily Smith, senior program manager for Etsy Manufacturing. “With strong universities and an active maker community the city is a hub for both old and new manufacturers, both of whom we hope to support by providing them with quality leads on Etsy Manufacturing.”

The event is open to the public but targeted especially to Etsy designers and local manufacturers to better connect the two groups. There are 6,000 Pittsburgh area companies working in the four categories designated above.

“We believe that Pittsburgh’s long history of manufacturing makes it a logical location for an initiative like this,” says Mark Peterson of Bridgeway Capital, a nonprofit lender and sponsor of the event. “This city possesses a knowledge of, experience in, and capacity for making things. Plus, the rise of new industries demonstrates that Pittsburgh is open to fresh ideas about 21st century manufacturing.”

At the event attendees can:

  • Learn more about Etsy Manufacturing. (Manufacturers can apply here to join.)
  • Get expert advice on how to grow their manufacturing business on Etsy.
  • Meet and learn from designers and manufacturers who are working together.
  • Network with Pittsburgh Etsy designers and manufacturing communities.
  • Be the first to hear the special announcement of funding opportunities for local designers and manufacturers.

“The event represents an important opportunity to work with a variety of firms to identify new prospects for the sector,” adds Peterson. “Helping local artisans, designers and manufacturers connect will bring new value to the concept ‘Made in Pittsburgh.’”

The event will start at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and feature the following speakers:

  • Deb Lam, Chief Innovation and Performance Officer, City of Pittsburgh
  • Bob Hurley, Director, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development
  • Emily Smith, The Etsy Manufacturing Team
  • Jessica Sinclair and Millard Humphreys, University of Pittsburgh Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence

It will also include case studies such as:

  • East Side Bond with Heather McElwee, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and a representative from the Mosites Company
  • Thread, with Ian Rosenberger, Founder and President
  • TechShop with Les Gies, Manager and a TechShop-based Etsy designer

From 5 to 6 p.m., NEXTpittsburgh will host a networking session where Bridgeway Capital and the Small Business Councils will announce two special grant programs for Etsy designers and manufacturers. Snacks will be provided by Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, the nonprofit social enterprise that is located in the EIC. Wine and beer will also be served.

Register for the event here. Space is limited and the deadline for registration is March 1, 2016.

Parking is free at the EIC which is located at 1435 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219.

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.