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Stephanie Sheldon

Stephanie Sheldon
“What I want people to know out there is that every idea started somewhere. It’s really through trying and failing over and over again and then one day finally succeeding that you get there. There’s no one answer for everybody and there’s no one thing that people know that you don’t. I’d love people to think that they can make it and that their idea deserves to be seen and heard and that it will be such a great part of their own story.” – Stephanie Sheldon

Stephanie Sheldon is the founder of The Cleveland Flea Market and Indie Foundry. “The Cleveland Flea is a business incubator for small creatives in Cleveland, and Indie Foundry supports them through classes, workshops, granting, and visioning so I get to work with a lot of great, innovative, creative people every single day.” Sheldon discussed that instead of reaching out to people in many different areas, she’s working to vertically integrate herself where she is currently. She wants to offer deeper content, deeper experience, deeper skills and deeper support for small creatives in her community. “In the next few years, I hope to bring a new space for us all to gather, have workshops, connect and grow our businesses even more. I’m really passionate about helping small businesses grow, especially creatives. I want to help people take ideas to fruition,” and she does this through Indie Foundry.

When Sheldon moved to Cleveland in 2007, the economy started to decline and she found herself in the position of her firm closing. “I had always been interested in making things and constantly had side projects that really inspired me, so I had a choice at that point. I could continue looking for a job in architecture where I would probably not be very happy, or take a bit of a leap and start my own company,” which is ultimately what Sheldon did. She enjoys working with creatives in small businesses, particularly those who may have left a job to start something they love. She understands the difficulties that can stem from leaving the security of a job with a consistent paycheck to follow your passion.

The Cleveland Flea Market was launched in 2013 really as an online campaign, and Facebook was integral to that. They currently have 21,000 fans on the page. “Our online community has really driven our ability to grow and it’s fully because we create graphics and sentiments that inspire and engage people and don’t just merely provide information. They provide a way for people to join in to that rising tide that Cleveland and other cities like Cleveland are going through right now.”

“I really just want to help people live their best lives. I want to help them take their ideas out into the world in a way that can support them so they can be happy.”

Story quotes are attributed to the I-Open article, "Stephanie Sheldon and Cleveland Creatives" at
I-Open shares under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open), 2563 Kingston Road, Cleveland, OH 44118.