About the speaker

Stephanie Sheldon has spent nearly a decade putting Cleveland’s creative community on the map and helping small businesses find their way in the urban landscape. She’s an architect, a designer, an entrepreneur, a pop-up master. Her business, Indie Foundry, is responsible not only for launching and building handfuls of creative brands in Cleveland, but for changing the way we build community around our local small businesses.

Indie Foundry’s flagship production, The Cleveland Flea, draws more than 20,000 shoppers to the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood each month. Sheldon started the market as a creative engagement vehicle for swaths of businesses she was branding. The monthly event – whose attendance grew tenfold in its first year – has become a new kind of business incubator. The Cleveland Flea provides opportunities for exposure, product development and community-building that vendors don’t find any place else in the region. It has also shined new light on neighborhoods lacking economic luster and helped spur financial and real estate development in the area.

Sheldon runs a lean ship at Indie Foundry and understands the ins-and-outs of being a small business owner. Innovative project funding is her forte. Through her work as a brand-builder and the prospect of the co-work, she is excited to fill the niche of providing small business resources to micro-businesses, startups, solopreneurs, makers, innovators, and creatives. She’s certain the co-work’s physical location will anchor it to the neighborhood and make its offerings – from creative space and peer collaboration, skills development and business education – an invaluable asset made by and for the community.

An architect by trade, Sheldon earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan. She fell in love with Cleveland and has lived in the city for nine years. From day one, she’s worked hard to be part of the city’s revitalization and change the way people inside and beyond experience Cleveland.

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