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Announcing NC Handmade — North Carolina’s first online-only marketplace for North Carolina handmade crafts


September 2020


Media contact:

Lauren Sinclair

NC Handmade founder

(828) 278-8858


Announcing NC Handmade — North Carolina’s first online-only marketplace for North Carolina handmade crafts

A mother and son team up to take traditional NC crafts online!

Boone, NC – Founder Lauren Sinclair and her son Shokai Sinclair launched NC Handmade ( to the public early this September. 


Both Lauren and Shokai are designers and entrepreneurs with more than 50 years of experience in the arts between them, and both found themselves jobless after the COVID-19 shutdowns began earlier this year. Lauren had worked for 5 years at Mast General Store’s Rivercross Gallery in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, and she had to make the hard decision to not return to her retail job in Rivercross’s brick-and-mortar store when it reopened in May 2020. Shokai, raised in North Carolina, had worked for 15 years in marketing for arts and environmental nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area and had recently made a career shift to user experience design when hiring freezes brought their tech industry job search to a grinding halt.


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the market for handmade crafts, which has relied on a business model built around face-to-face interactions. NC Handmade offers artisans and customers to have those same quality interactions — online! Founder Lauren Sinclair says of her motivation to launch NC Handmade: “For years now, I have been percolating the idea of creating an online marketplace where artisans and craftspeople of North Carolina can come together with those who appreciate quality handmade, one-of-a-kind works — and have an affinity for the Old North State and all it offers. COVID-19 was the catalyst to make me realize the time is now to put that thought into action. Many of the traditional ways of meeting to do business are currently limited or unavailable. Artisans need a way to meet customers and customers need a way to experience the crafts that they love.”


NC Handmade is accepting applications from North Carolina artisans, with the $10/month membership fee waived for the first six months to encourage early adopters of the service. Co-Founder Shokai Sinclair says of the open call: “We’re featuring a wide variety of craft traditions on NC Handmade. Whether you’re a potter or a quilter, we encourage you to apply to be one of the pioneer artisans featured in our marketplace. We’re not an Etsy or an Amazon either. We’re curating a truly local experience where artisans’ work won’t be buried among thousands of mass-produced products.” Apply online at

About NC Handmade

North Carolina has a long history of fine artisans providing beautiful and functional pieces for all to use, cherish, and enjoy. Founded by a mother and son team in 2020, NC Handmade provides a place for artisans and patrons to meet and share their joy and appreciation for fine quality, handmade North Carolina crafts. More at