Cameo: Andy Cook

We sit down with the campaign director for Made in Baltimore.

Christine Jackson - December 2019

Cameo: Andy Cook

We sit down with the campaign director for Made in Baltimore.

Christine Jackson - December 2019

-Photography by Mike Morgan

How did Made in Baltimore begin?
In 2015, I, along with a couple other people, put on the first pop-up shop on North Avenue as a way to raise the profile of some local makers. And in that first project we had 80 different companies, way more than we expected. I eventually received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, as well as support from Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation, to basically run Made in Baltimore as a pilot project for two years. We created the Made in Baltimore business certification, which allows [a business] to put our logo on their packaging or marketing material, create a profile on our website, and then participate in all our programs. We launched the business certification in February 2017 and we just crossed our 200th certified business.

What do you think makes Baltimore’s makers different?
I think that there's a ton of creative entrepreneurship here in Baltimore. A number of our members in the network are alums from local universities and there's a lot of young entrepreneurs coming out of those institutions. I also think that there is still a bit of a history of manufacturing in the city that people identify with. One of the things that comes up when I'm talking to these business owners is that they feel a real sense of identity with the industrial past of Baltimore and see themselves within that history. For a lot of people, entrepreneurship is alsoa matter of necessity. Entrepreneurship, I think, is a path for people who want more.

What role does Made in Baltimore play in the city?
My wife says my archetype is the artist's boy scout. I come at things from a creative perspective, but also from a strong sense of civic duty. I was trained as an artist, I worked as a freelance photographer, and I ran an art space in town for a number of years. So I know what it's like to be a solo entrepreneur in that creative space. Since the very beginning, I’ve seen the economic development potential of the creative economy. But I've seen it, quite frankly, overlooked quite a bit or under-resourced. Baltimore has a lot of challenges. The deck is stacked against it, thanks to decades of disinvestment. If we're going to get out of that, I think it's going to come from the people of the city and its creative and entrepreneurial spirit. I see [Made in Baltimore] as being just one player in helping to harness that spirit and turn it into something productive and something that we can be proud of in the city.

What would your advice be to those looking to be a part of this community?
These business owners often have their heads down, working on making their products and running their business, so much so that they can feel really isolated, making networking extremely valuable. It’s an opportunity to compare notes, collaborate, and commiserate. The number one thing we always hear from [makers] is that they want more opportunities to network with each other and network with other relevant service providers. So my advice would be, don't forget to get out there and meet people and participate in communities where you can support others and they can support you.

You May Also Like


Lessons From The Ice

A Reisterstown ice hockey program breaks down barriers.

News & Community

The Story Behind Haussner's Massive Ball of String

Waitresses created the 825-pound ball of napkin strings over more than 30 years.

The Chatter

UMD Public Health Official Explains What Lies Ahead Amid COVID-19

Boris Lushniak says the best weapon against coronavirus is flattening the curve.

The Chatter

Running List of Baltimore Programming and Events Impacted by Coronavirus

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has had a wide effect on many city institutions.

The Chatter

How Maryland’s New Census Director Plans to Get Everyone Counted

Everything Lorena Rivera wants you to know about the national population count.

The Chatter

Former Baltimore Executive Editor Richard "Dick" Basoco Dies at 81

The tough, beloved Navy veteran who oversaw our magazine for two decades will be missed.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Maryland Hoops, and Everyone Else, Stomachs A Sudden End to Their Seasons: Plus, an update on Trey Mancini’s health and Joe Flacco shows for Marshal Yanda’s retirement party

How to Support Small Businesses Amid Pandemic Panic: As foot traffic slows due to coronavirus, owners worry about lasting impacts.

Local Boutiques Offer Deals and Online Shopping Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: Opening and closing updates from the retail scene.

Baltimore Restaurants Cope With Indefinite Closures: Chefs introduce curbside takeout and delivery while weighing options for staff.

With Emptying Venues, Local Music Community Faces Uncertainty: There are still ways to support local artists during the coronavirus outbreak.