NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) - Are you trying to buy local when it comes to gift giving this holiday season? A young entrepreneur has launched a new website that connect consumers with handmade and locally made products.
The idea was inspired by an elaborate superhero cake the founder liked at his nephew's birthday party. He didn't know that a neighbor, a stay-at-home mom, was making them. He immediately went to work to try and connect more people like her to people like him.
Behind every item on Frekol.com there's an original story and a unique maker, like Cindy Tirpak, of Blastmaster Sandblasted Glassware.
"I do the stenciling. I do the designing," she said.
Creator Trent Schulz found that more than 90 percent of sales generated by these handmade vendors were coming from local consumers. So he launched Frekol, to serve as a directory of handmade local goods.
"What we do is provide a connection between you and the maker. So as a consumer, you can go on the site and discover these makers around you, ones that you never would have known about," explained Schulz.
The site has been live since July and inventory is growing.
"We have ginger beer, coffee, handmade soaps, candles, custom furniture, upcycled furniture, jewelry, extremely wide range of products, all handmade," Schulz said.
Local pride is proving to be pretty profitable.
"People in Cleveland specifically love to support the local makers. They like to support the community," Schulz said.
For Blastmaster, Frekol is doing the important job of getting the word out about their work.
"A lot of people don't know where to get certain things. So if it's not word of mouth, here now, we have Frekol to say, 'Look, handmade, local, check it out,'" said Tirpak.
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