Defining What Counts as “Brooklyn Made”
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will be unveiling its new Brooklyn Made certification program this Friday at Brooklyn Eats, the Chamber’s food and beverage trade show taking place at 630 Flushing Avenue. The certification program, which began as an initiative of the Chamber to promote locally manufactured goods, comes on the heels of a nine-month research effort through the NYU Wagner Capstone Program.
“The Food and Beverage industry is a growing, thriving sector in Brooklyn, accounting for 27% of all manufacturing in the borough,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “What better place to launch the Brooklyn Made program than at the hottest food and beverage show in New York City, where our authentic producers showcase the Brooklyn brand to exclusive buyers and the food-loving public.”
The Chamber has developed a points-based scale system for certification of specific product lines. The Brooklyn Made certification will result in different levels of “Brooklyn-ness,” from bronze certification, to silver or gold level depending on the level of operations taking place in the borough.
As baseline criteria, only legal businesses headquartered in Brooklyn making one or more physical products will be considered. From there, the points-based system will evaluate a range of manufacturing activities, taking into account criteria such as share of total employees located in Brooklyn, location of product assembly, where design and development takes place, and other important factors.
Interested businesses can apply by completing an online application, which can be found on the Chamber’s website. An independent advisory board, consisting of Brooklyn-based manufacturing stakeholders, will review applications on a quarterly basis. There will be a $50 one-time fee for non-members, and $25 fee for member businesses. The fee will be waived for those who choose to apply at Brooklyn Eats, which will take place on Friday, June 27 at 630 Flushing Avenue.
“Brooklyn is a growing brand that the whole world wants to get in on, from Dutch coffee shops, to Swedish vodka companies, to Midwestern parents choosing baby names,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo A. Scissura. “Brooklyn stands for authentic local craftsmanship, and when you see the Brooklyn Made label, you know that’s what you are getting. There are a lot of pretenders, and we want to make sure we protect the real deal makers who are getting it done here in the coolest city on the planet.”
“Brooklyn’s history and its future are tied to our manufacturing and industrial sectors. The Brooklyn Made program recognizes the responsibility we have to protect our businesses from imposters trying to capitalize on the honest efforts of those who have contributed to Brooklyn’s culture and economy,” said Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Denise Arbesu. “It’s wonderful that Brooklyn has been recognized as such a leader in innovation and creativity. No doubt, the entire Brooklyn brand has become hot and desirable. The Brooklyn Made label is a great way for our consumers to identify products that are made here and for all of Brooklyn to be proud of what we are producing.”
The Brooklyn Made program was made possible in large part to a team of NYU Wagner students as part of their capstone program. Their full report is available on the Chamber’s website at www.ibrooklyn.com.
“The ‘Brooklyn Made’ certification program exemplifies the impact of the NYU Wagner Capstone program,” said Sherry Glied, Dean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. “In this case, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce approached us to help create an official certification program that producers could use to promote themselves as authentically ‘Made in Brooklyn.’ A team of NYU Wagner students developed a solution that benefits communities across Brooklyn and NYC as a whole.”
Chamber Member Gaia DiLoreto served as an advisor on Brooklyn Made throughout the process. As the owner of By Brooklyn, Located at 261 Smith Street, DiLoreto sells only Brooklyn-made products.
“The mission of By Brooklyn is to promote and protect the Brooklyn brand so I’m excited that the Chamber of Commerce is taking that effort to the next level,” said DiLoreto, “I will encourage all of my vendors to submit for Brooklyn Made certification and I will look for it from future vendors as well.”
Ed Mafoud of Damascus Bakeries, located at 50 Gold Street, is one of the 90 food and beverage makers taking part in Brooklyn Eats this Friday and was a recipient of one of the Chamber’s inaugural Made in Brooklyn awards at its annual meeting last year.
“There are 84 years of Brooklyn cruising through our veins. My grandfather started Damascus Bakery in 1930 in Brooklyn because he believed in Brooklyn and the promise of the Present and the Future,” said Mafoud. “My Brother David and I hold the same passion for Brooklyn today as well as tomorrow!”
The logo that will make it easy for consumers to see what truly counts as “Brooklyn Made,” were designed by Hannah Trimble of Trimble Racing, Brooklynite and Brooklyn Chamber Member since February 2012