HandMade in America
This unique organization is dedicated to the economic, educational, and cultural development of western North Carolina through its extensive handicraft industry. HandMade in America develops partnerships with public and private organizations and individuals to create opportunities in tourism, community economic development, education, and employment throughout the region.

The organization approached WolfBrown to help it develop a Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design in collaboration with three western North Carolina universities: the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Western Carolina University, and Appalachian State University. The consultants launched the start-up process by facilitating an initial retreat of the project's steering committee, and based on the meeting's discussions, drawing up the first of what was to become a series of draft plans. Then they produced a second draft, incorporating insights gleaned from a series of in-depth telephone interviews with a national advisory group of scholars and handicraft specialists around the country.

The plan was further shaped by the consultants' study of comparable institutions around the country, and by additional focus group sessions with various members of the region's crafts and education communities. Finally, working closely with the steering committee, the consultants produced a final plan along with a companion proposal to the universities that would lead to authorization and establishment of the Center as an "interinstitutional institute" of the university partners. The plan itself was comprehensive. It included detailed descriptions of projected Center activities and structures for its governance and administration (including an organization chart and staff plan). It offered detailed projections on staffing needs and space requirements. And it provided budget projections for five years of operation and a projected capital budget that addressed several possible facility options.

The entire research, consultation, planning, and writing process took place over three months — a fast-track timetable that was designed to meet HandMade's strict deadlines for presenting the proposal to the University of North Carolina and for seeking funding from the state legislature. All deadlines were met, approval secured, and funding approved. The consultants have gone on to work with HandMade in America and the Center on facility planning and on a search process to provide the Center with its first executive director.