For both Tanya Menendez and Matthew Burnett, manufacturing runs in the family. Tanya hails from a family of factory workers in California, and Matthew has roots in Detroit. While working with Matthew on a small leather goods line in New York City, Tanya realized how difficult it was to find local manufacturers. Aiming to democratize that access, she and Matthew started Maker’s Row, an online marketplace where small businesses can find American factories to manufacture their products.
AdWords, Google’s advertising program, has been a crucial element of their marketplace. “Factory partnerships started to take off in 2015 when we started using AdWords,” Tanya remarks. She notes that on the customer side, “The majority of our traffic comes from Google. The people that actually turn into customers and create products are the ones coming from Google.” In addition to AdWords, Maker’s Row leans on content marketing through YouTube to jumpstart their factories’ online reputations. For many manufacturers, Maker’s Row is their first time getting online. Factory tour videos help Maker’s Row “put a face behind the products that are made in the United States,” Tanya says. “It helps our factories convert curious people into customers and showcases that there are still manufacturers in America.”
In five years, Maker’s Row has helped 120,000 small businesses source and create products in 11,000 American factories. Today, with 70 percent annual growth, they’re busy satisfying the demand for even more factories. “We’ve seen 110 percent year-over-year growth on the factory-acquisition side,” Tanya says. Beyond acquisition, their impact on individual factories has grown exponentially. One manufacturer in New Jersey, a young, immigrant woman, started her business through Maker’s Row and went from zero to 28 employees and $0 to $1.47 million in one year. Another, which Tanya admires as “an incredible staple to the American economy, making military, post office, and even political gear,” made $3 million through the platform. For Tanya, the best part of Maker’s Row is that it gives those small manufacturers “the chance to compete on a global scale.”