Author: jtrussell

We’re excited to share there are some really cool updates coming soon about the expanded focus of ChicagoMade.




Chicago’s economy has always remained uniquely tied to creatives, makers, and blue collar dreamers. Generations of bold entrepreneurs with work ethic and collaboration defined by their Midwest roots have contributed to Chicago’s assent as a leading hub of creativity for industries such as music, film, architecture, food, fashion, and product design. These businesses are the entrepreneurial bedrock of the city’s ingenuity and continual rebirth that Chicago has been known for since the invention of the skyscraper, mail order shopping, and improve comedy. Perhaps most importantly, these locally-grown businesses give unique cultural identities to neighborhoods throughout the city and are increasingly jump starting neighborhood economies.


Despite creatives and makers being the backbone of thriving neighborhoods, too often they are not considered an important part of the economy or supported with the resources needed to unlock their potential for growth. Further highlighting the economic importance of creatives, more Chicagoans are moving towards this sort of employment – nearly all net new jobs created in the U.S. during the past decade have come from alternative work (freelancers, makers, etc.) – many of which in the creative jobs or industries. More importantly, 3.5x more dollars stay in local economies when spent with these local creative small businesses compared to national chain retailers, yet the average lifespan of these businesses is only 5 years. By establishing a baseline on the city’s creative economy, Chicago can align its fragmented creative industry ecosystem and empower these overlooked economic engines to sustain growth, help the neighborhoods they serve, and grow the city’s economy from the ground up.


So our expanded focus? Making sure creatives will be supported as the backbone of our neighborhood economies and as drivers of the city’s reputation as a global creative hub.


Stay tuned!

A short video clip of KSRA‘s great performance at the Chicago Made trade show booth, SXSW, March 9, 2014.

Stop by the Chicago Made booth during the SXSW tradeshow March 9 -12 to receive complimentary Chicago Maker card sets and you could win a trip for two to Chicago.


On the back of two lucky card sets, we’ve placed a golden ticket. Find one of these tickets and you’ve instantly won. Just hand the golden ticket to one of the Chicago Made booth representatives to collect your prize.


You could win:


  • 2 round-trip tickets from United Airlines
  • 2-night stay at ACME Hotel Company Chicago
  • Gift certificates to Chicago music venues Lincoln Hall, Schubas & Metro



  • 2 round-trip tickets from United Airlines
  • 2-night stay at Hotel Palomar Chicago
  • 2 tickets to the 5th Annual North Coast Music Festival
  • Dining certificate to a hip Chicago restaurant

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Chicago Maker card sets are complimentary. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C., 21 years and older. Winner subject to Official Rules. See Official Rules for prize details. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with SXSW. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Choose Chicago.

The Chicago Made crew commissioned renowned Chicago street artist/installation artist/video artist/musician, Chris Silva to create the look of Chicago Made. Here’s a time-lapse video featuring the making of this work. The video also features music by Silva’s band, This Mother Falcon.