Monmade Supports Product Pipelines

In almost every sector and industry, especially as they are undergoing change, gaps in the flow are revealed. Monmade, a network of small manufacturers and makers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, is an example of an organization that sprang to life to fill such a gap—to become the connective tissue in the material flows that are crucial to the built environment community. Monmade cultivates a network of artisan makers and small manufacturers who produce furniture, fittings, and other products that are designed and made with sustainability and equity in mind—and fueling the local and regional economies. 

Fabware Large Ellipse Pantry Pull by Tenderwerks. Image courtesy of Monmade.

According to Monmade’s Director, Katie Schaible, “Monmade is a consultancy for developers and architects. We help elevate their work by sourcing things that are made in an equitable and sustainable way. There is tremendous demand for these goods, but owners and design teams don’t have time to seek them out one item at a time. That’s where we come in. We go beyond what furniture dealers would supply. We have a tremendously rich network of businesses, artisans, and makers.”

“Monmade is a consultancy for developers and architects. We help elevate their work by sourcing things that are made in an equitable and sustainable way.”

Color Pops Wavy Edge Long Wall Planter by Safran Everyday. Image courtesy of Monmade.

Monmade began with a vision to create a regional marketplace that activated a network of craft businesses producing products that add value to new building projects. Monmade grew out of emerging trends in real estate development, workforce development, revenue-generating potential of modern manufacturing, and an increased consumer desire for transparency in production. “We bring artisan design to market and support regionally sourced, responsibly made, and environmentally conscious products for design and development projects,” Schaible says. “We believe that when creative businesses contribute to transformative design projects, their businesses expand and help diversify the regional economy.”

Light LInes Bell Pendants by Jessica Alpern Brown. Image courtesy of Monmade.

Monmade specializes in custom design solutions from our network of artisan producers. We offer planning, procurement, and integration services to help architects and developers maximize impact and minimize the challenges of working with a variety of specialized small businesses. This is nourishing the pipeline of makers, and even nourishing their communities, too: “many of the makers in our network operate studios in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods,” Schaible explains, “which is helping them to revitalize organically.” 

Working closely with ILFI over the past several years, Schaible and her team have helped nurture a number of Declare labels. The most recent batch these came through Monmade’s Green Leap program. A cohort of maker businesses joined the program to learn how to make sustainable business decisions and how to tell those stories. “We are thrilled that ILFI has a desire to help make the Declare label process more applicable to small manufacturers,” says Schaible. “We hope the collaboration will continue.” The four Declare labels that came from this program are: Steel Plant Holder by Safran Everyday, Hardware Collection by Tenderwerks, Acrylic Light Lines Shade by Jessica Alpern Brown, and Reilluminate Pendant Glass Shade by Spacapan. These products will be used in the affordable housing project (learn more here and here) in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood by Rothschild Doyno Collaborative for the City of Bridges Community Land Trust. 

“We believe that when creative businesses contribute to transformative design projects, their businesses expand and help diversify the regional economy.”

Square Reilluminate 3-Pendant Canopy by SPACAPAN. Image courtesy of Monmade.

ILFI’s Materials team supported Monmade’s cohort of businesses to teach them about the Declare process, collect ingredient data, input and submit for approval via Toxnot, and finalized Declare labels in time for an exhibit last year featuring Monmade’s Green Leap collection of products. “It takes some time to ramp up companies on new processes,” Schaible says. “There is a learning curve on synthesizing the information and translating things into viable applications for Declare labels. Partnering with ILFI has been critical as we bring these businesses into the mindset of transparency and clarity around their environmental and social practices.” ILFI is also supporting artisans through the renew process this year. This recent work, building on the ongoing collaboration between Monmade and ILFI, continues this year through support from The Heinz Endowments. 

The Heinz Endowments seeks to help our region thrive as a whole and just community and, through that work, to model solutions to major national and global challenges. The foundation is devoted to advancing its vision of southwestern Pennsylvania as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Its work is supported by reliable data based on equitable, results-focused goals to cultivate a world where all are treated with fairness and respect and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. 

Cover photo courtesy of Monmade.

Your donation supports community impact

Do you want to be part of making lasting change? Around the world, there is a community of people working towards a living future every day. In ways great and small, they are changing minds, overcoming obstacles, and bringing ambitious projects to life. Individually, they cause ripples that show what’s possible. Collectively, they envision the regenerative future that we all want. Will you join us in this transformative work? Your donation to the International Living Future Institute equips us to assist this community with programs, technical support, events,  education, and more.  Your donation will help us realize the possible together.


Written By

Benson Gabler

Benson is Vice President of Impact at the International Living Future Institute. In this role, Benson co-leads a department committed to inspiring, supporting, and celebrating hundreds of organizations pursuing our programs and positively impacting the world.