It all started at the Brimfield Antique Market when, Cindy Bogart, a former Better Homes & Gardens editor, tried to get antique dealers’ website addresses in order to contact them after the show. What she got were interesting conversations where she learned about antiques, heard stories from the old timers and made a few friends along the way. Most shared phone numbers and addresses but many did not have a website.
At the time, she and her husband were working on their own home renovation in Rhode Island. They looked online for local restoration sources with no luck. The only way they found people who could actually restore their house was by asking neighbors, looking in the local paper and stopping at job sites where similar work was being done.
It was clear. Brimfield vendors and the restoration trades had one thing in common. They were too busy working to figure out how to market themselves. Cindy came up with the concept of an online niche directory and community that could connect these small businesses with folks, like her, who were looking for them.
Anxious to make Artisans List a reality, she reached out to the head of Rhode Island’s SBA-supported Women’s Business Center, Mary Gervais for help. Mary, a former small business owner, herself, had spent the last few years helping hundreds of small businesses succeed and was passionate about giving people the tools and knowledge to realize their dreams of owning and growing their own businesses.
In their first office, the corner table by the fireplace in Felicia’s Coffee Shop in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, they formulated their vision: To create a vetted resource directory where small businesses and people could connect, share and learn how to use methods, materials and values from the past in refreshingly new and useful ways.