As COVID-19 surged in April, Jennifer Solow saw local crafters and farmers scrambling to advertise their products on social media, because their usual methods-- in-person sales and word of mouth--weren’t working anymore. She joined with business partners Tom Jacoby and Jonathan Taee, to found Doorstep Market (doorstep.market), an e-commerce platform offering local, handcrafted wares from makers in three U.S. regions: New England, New York’s Hudson River Valley, and California’s Bay Area.
The site offers delivery of food and drinks, housewares, clothing and accessories, and personal care products, as well as in-person experiences such as wine tastings and local farm tours. Each maker is selected by local food and lifestyle professionals with knowledge of the products. Just 11 artisans from New England appear on the site now, but Doorstep Market hopes eventually to encompass the entire country, and showcase some 500 makers per region.
Featured New England shops include Boston-based Red’s Best locally caught seafood, family-owned Myrth Ceramics studio, and Hillside Harvest, specializing in small-batch hot sauces. For each vendor, a “meet the maker” page details its history and creation process, so consumers can understand where their orders come from.
“You can learn about the artisanal landscape of America through going on the site,” Solow said.
As publishers of Edible Magazine Hudson Valley, the three founders already had a network of creators in that region. . Additionally, Solow collaborated with other product connoisseurs, including Sarah and Christopher Blackburn, publishers of Edible Boston and Edible Worcester.
“One of the most important things on Doorstep Market is that the regions offer expert local curation,” Solow said. “You are not just rifle-shooting at a bunch of products and wondering if they’re good, you know what’s on there is truly the best of the best.”
While the products on Doorstep Market are hand-crafted and lean pricey, Solow said she hopes that those with the means to shop small will do so, especially around the holidays. As Amazon continues to dominate the e-commerce landscape, even more-so due to COVID-19, Solow emphasizes the way Doorstep Market aids small businesses, many now economically vulnerable.
“I think people are looking for an alternative,” Solow said. “Using Doorstep Market is putting your dollars to work in a way that supports local communities… There’s a lot of heart and soul in it.”
Grace Griffin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GraceMGriffin.