The We Love Local Small Business Grant, which West Elm launched this week, has been designed to support U.S.-based artists, makers and designers as they grow and scale their businesses—and ultimately will help one winner with $25,000.
“We are at the height of a maker revolution in the United States,” said West Elm President Jim Brett. “Every time I visit our stores and meet artists and makers in our communities, I’m blown away by the small-scale manufacturing and design that’s happening in our own backyards.”
The Small Business Grant contest kicked off on August 12 with open online submissions. On August 16, West Elm will host in-store portfolio reviews in Dallas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City and Seattle; then on September 30, the brand will introduce 20 finalists and commence online public voting.
“We know the $25,000 prize can have a huge impact on a small business,” said Mo Mullen, Senior Manager of Business Development and West Elm LOCAL. “Equally exciting is the incubator-style relationship from which the West Elm team an our winner will benefit. We are committed to providing mentorship on everything from financial plans to manufacturing to marketing as our winner scales and develops their business.”
To enter, participants must go to westelm.com/localgrant and tell their story. The portfolio review events are an opportunity to receive feedback and make changes prior to applying online, but are not necessary to compete.
Online voting will take place September 30 through October 14 .The winner and three runners-up will be announced on November 19. Applicants will be judged based on design, originality, story, commitment to local production and depth of product assortment.
Along with the $25,000 prize, the winner will receive business support and mentorship from the West Elm team, as well as a chance to be included in the Best of LOCAL Assortment available to customers nationwide this holiday season on westelm.com. Three runners-up will also have a chance to be included in the assortment.
“West Elm is committed to supporting emerging artists and makers around the world but this Small Business Grant is focused on helping micro-entrepreneurs in the U.S,” said Brett. “We want to give back to the communities where our stores are located and where we’re doing business every day.”
The We Love Local Small Business Grant is part of West Elm’s LOCAL initiative, which brings regionalized assortments to West Elm stores across the country. West Elm LOCAL currently includes more than 1,000 products from more than 160 artists and makers. LOCAL assortments are available in 16 West Elm stores and by the end of 2014 will be in eight additional locations. This holiday season, West Elm will launch the Best of LOCAL Assortment on westelm.com with 20 of the best-selling makers and more than 60 products available to online customers.
Participants hoping to have their portfolios reviewed must make an appointment at the following stores:
West Elm Dallas, Mockingbird Station: 5307 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 100, 214-821-3999
West Elm Los Angeles, West Hollywood: 8366 Beverly Blvd., 323-782-9672
West Elm Nashville, Hill Center: 4019 Hillsboro Pike, 615-385-1512
West Elm New York, Chelsea: 112 West 18th Street, 212-929-4464
West Elm Seattle, South Lake Union: 2201 Westlake, Space 100, 206-467-5798
For more information, legal rules and to apply, click here.