New Store Supporting 180 Local Artists Needs Help

We are Mariah & Freyja, co-owners of It’s Neighbor Made. But our shop is so much more than us. As of today we have 180+ local artists and small businesses selling through us. We haven’t gotten any relief so please consider helping us to stay open, which supports them as well.  We are a new shop/community space that just opened in Catonsville Maryland. It’s Neighbor Made is all about connecting neighbors to neighbors with a focus on art, sustainability and artist led workshops. But for now the focus is locally made goods and safety.   Being a space for makers to sell their work is more important now than ever, with all the craft shows and events being cancelled. We also had dreams of an Espresso & Tea Bar, supporting local artists was just going to be the cherry on top. The coffee and workshops were what we were counting on for revenue. 
But then you know what happened..
We were set to have our soft opening March 21st, the Saturday right after everything shut down. We werent able to open until Saturday May 23rd, when retail shops were allowed to have up to 10 people inside. With Freyja expecting and Mariah’s asthma,  having to open in the middle of a global pandemic was honestly terrifying. But we had rent due, so open we did. We called it our “not so grand, grand opening.”

This whole business has been self funded from the start. No business loans or grants,
just one credit card in the businesses name, our two families and a personal loan to add an ADA bathroom (everyone should be able to use the bathroom. Period.) We have been paying full rent since we’ve been open. Even though we are only able to use about 1/3 of the building we are renting.  This has been very difficult for us. Since we have no history of business prior to The shut down, we are not eligible for any relief and,again, are paying FULL RENT. Heck we haven’t even received unemployment for the two months of darkness that was the quarantine. Which means we have been working since Jan 2020 without  paychecks. Our families have gone into extreme debt to keep this dream alive.
And this IS a dream for us.

We met at a ceramics studio in Old Ellicott City Maryland and instantly became best friends.  As we grew closer we knew that one day we would be business partners, though we thought it would be on a much smaller scale than It’s Neighbor Made. Freyja is in her mid thirties and is expecting her first child. Mariah is 24 and this our first business adventure.

In late December of 2019 we gave the leasing office a call & by January 11th of 2020 we had signed the lease for 701 Fredrick Rd. A  3,000 sqft historic two story building. Which is actually the oldest building on Frederick Rd. in Catonsville. It was built in the early 1820s which makes it almost 200 years old.  It has exposed wood beams original to the building, stone walls, curved windows and sooo much character!

On Monday August 24th we started our “Help Us Keep the Lights on Auction” to make rent for September 1st. And we got the most beautiful show of support. The tears have not stopped, and we were to pay rent because of it. 

We are not ashamed to be asking for help during this global pandemic. We are proud that we built a community in about three months that we could reach out to. We were not planning on just asking for support in the form of money, hence the auction so people could get something in return. With everything happening, we didn’t think we deserved any attention. 

But all of the support has taught us a lesson. It’s Neighbor Made is bigger than us. The community of artists and entrepreneurs it is empowering and supporting deserves a chance to make it through this hard time. We do not have to do it alone, and that is a blessing. And we do not have to scrap by tooth and nail, with your support. 

We need these funds to pay our rent & bills, buy an actual sign for the building, buy more used furniture to display all the local art and goodies like they deserve, (did we tell you that 99.9%of our furniture is reused????) get supplies so that when we can have workshops that are as safe and accessible as they can be! & maybe even begin the reimbursement process to help us personally keep our lights on. (Thank goodness for credit card debt, amirite?)

We will use these funds to continue being a place where customers can shop local from locals.
& We promise to give back to the community every single day.
Every share, like, follow and dollar counts right now.

Thank you for helping us keep the lights on, they can only get brighter from here.
It takes a village, and we’re so thankful to be
Your Neighbors,
Mariah and Freyja
  • terrance steyer 
    • $300 
    • 2 d
  • Elsa Spezio 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Janine Breakstone 
    • $30 
    • 11 mos
  • Lisa Swayhoover 
    • $50 
    • 11 mos
  • Helene McCabe 
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
See all


Freyja Bernard 
Catonsville, MD
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