Makers make the world.
- Pinterest provides a platform for DIY discovery.
- Etsy allows makers to craft handmade goods from their living room and sell them to the world.
- Kickstarter promotes collaboration and allows virtually any idea to get funded, assuming people see value in it.
These platforms change the way people view their potential path to success. The marriage of imagination and technology allows people to live their creative passions AND monetize them. You don’t have to graduate from a top college to “make it.” To make ends meet, you don’t have to chain yourself to an office chair. Makers can create success in today’s global, creative-driven world.
The Maker Movement Is Powerful
AdWeek’s definition of The Maker Movement is pretty spot on.
“The maker movement, as we know, is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers, and tinkerers. A convergence of computer hackers and traditional artisans, the niche is established enough to have its own magazine, Make, as well as hands-on Maker Faires that are catnip for DIYers who used to toil in solitude. Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design and powerful personal technology like 3D printers. The creations, born in cluttered local workshops and bedroom offices, stir the imaginations of consumers numbed by generic, mass-produced, made-in-China merchandise.”
The maker culture empowers people to MAKE rather than CONSUME. It taps into our creative human spirit and desire to interact with tangible things in a digital-heavy world. But just because makers like tangible products doesn’t mean they’re low-tech.
Oculus Rift founder, Palmer Luckey, developed the first Virtual Reality (VR) prototype at age 19 in his parent’s garage. He took a prototype to Kickstarter and raised $2.4 million in a matter of hours. Fast forward about 4 years and Facebook purchased his company for over $2 billion. Rather than sit back and rest on a pile of cash, he broke the mold and forged his own path as a maker… and changed the world.
Millennial Makers Impact Business
I don’t typically hop on the Millennial bandwagon. However, it’s true that younger consumers drive the trend to demand locally-sourced food, craft beers, hand-forged donuts, and organic cocktails.
Younger consumers believe that a product from a brand with a great story is more important than any mass-produced, cheap product. This is why many maker-type Millennial entrepreneurs start their businesses. They lead the maker movement, creating innovative brands whose products have emotional appeal. On top of that, they understand their generation’s huge purchasing power.
Big retailers, bars, and restaurants see this. Meaning and purpose behind a product or service is as important as the product itself. Millennial makers are at the core of this shift consumer behavior.
The Maker Community & Co-Manufacturing
This social influence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s facilitated by the maker community. Rather than create in solitude, makers find it much more fun, inspiring, and supportive to make with others. Makers who need to scale beyond living room find places like our co-manufacturing facilities within which to flourish. Here, they learn from each other to help them manufacture products more efficiently and get them to market faster.
Helping makers find the right space and plugging them into a community fuels us. We believe there are limitless opportunities for innovation and creation in the maker community. Being able to help makers scale their spaces as they grow is a source of pride because we know we’re playing a small part in a larger movement that’s changing the world.
The Next Big Thing
Where will the next “big thing” come from? Maybe it will come out of one of our maker spaces. Regardless of the location, I’m willing to bet it will be influenced by the next generation of entrepreneurs. They understand what’s important to modern consumers. Companies like Refresh Glass, Lafayette Avenue Ceramics, or Mia Bella might just be the next hot thing. If so, it will be because they have a purpose and a story behind their great handmade products.