Do you remember last spring when we shared an interview with the fantastic sister trio of The Makery? (Of course you remember them—they’re creative, whip-smart, talented, and all about handmade entrepreneurialism.)
Well: their Kickstarter Campaign for a sales website supporting art and crafts in North Carolina was a success! The new site, aptly named The Makery, is about to launch, and we’re excited for their great news.
Let’s hear from them about upcoming enthusiasm for The Makery, first sales on their e-commerce site, and their “smoffice” success.
(Interview questions answered by Krista Anne of the Sister Team)
Since the beginning of your business plan, has the mission, shape, or message of The Makery evolved in any way? Will you remind happy readers about the current ambitions of The Makery?
Certainly! The Makery is helping people buy local and handmade, by hosting online flash sales on artisan goods every week. We’re a new platform for artists and customers to connect, discover, and engage in community supported commerce. The items we feature are a curated selection of the best NC craft; we’re excited about the art, apparel, accessories and homeware people are making right here at home.
There have been some small tweaks and changes as we figure out how to do this right, but the biggest lesson we’ve learned since starting out is how hard craftspeople are working. We’d like to recognize them not only has talented artists, but incredible entrepreneurs that have to wear so many hats to run their businesses. Seeing this makes us even more excited to do what we can to help them connect with new customers.
It also makes us passionate about educating up and comers, and creating a community around the craft movement. It can be a lonely profession, sometimes!
How does the Makery site operate? Do you have to register or become a member? How does buying and selling art/crafts on the site work?
Each week, we will feature four or more cool, local, and handmade items on the site. There will be a limited run of each item, and they will only be available for 48 hours. An email will go out alerting members when the sale goes live. And another great thing about the email – every week it will contain a coupon code so you can get a discount on whatever you want to buy!
Right now, you have to request an invitation to become a member. Once you’re ‘in,’ you receive our emails and gain access to the site.
The first sale is scheduled for September 25th (hooray!)—can you tell us what that means? Can people explore the site or become involved with The Makery before the 25th?
We will be going live with our first artists, sales, and emails on that date. Right now, you can go to www.themakeryproject.com to request an invitation, share the site with friends, and make sure you don’t miss out on our launch! And of course, be our friend on social media so we can keep you updated on the goings-on of The Makery.
You have emphasized the concept of “local” in the past, as well as in our previous fun interview with you. I’m curious: what has your experience been like blending the concept of “local” with the concept of “e-commerce”?
There is so much power in emerging technological trends. Sometimes it feels like the internet tide is going to wash us all away! But I think we’re called to see the ways in which it can advance the good things we believe in. For me and my sisters, it’s connecting our state with handmade goodness. Being an online business allows us to connect and communicate with people outside our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances, and reach a broader community that shares the same passions that we do. It also allows anyone to discover the things they want, regardless of mobility, time, or handmade shopping savvy.
How do you think The Makery benefits artists? Where should NC folks go to learn more about becoming involved with The Makery?
Selling on The Makery has very little front end investment for artists. There are no application fees, and you don’t have to have a huge stock in advance. All you need are some great pictures of your item, a design that is replicable , and the ability to sell wholesale.
We also get to highlight the artist with photos and a biography, so people can get to know the story behind the work. We hope it takes some of the ‘selling’ out of making. We will keep improving the artist side of The Makery as we gain feedback on what they want and need from us.
We’re always on the lookout for artists, they can reach us at ArtistLOVE@themakeryproject.com
You’ve been hard at work building connections through and for your business. What are some of the connections you’ve been most excited to create?
It’s been lovely to meet all the brave craftspeople who have agreed to be part of the launch of The Makery! The work ethic and adaptability of these folks is really inspiring as we create our own business. I’ve also enjoyed meeting other organizations that are promoting handmade in their communities, like CrownTownHandmade, and art and collaboration, like MercuryStudio.
Wait, “small” + “office” = “smoffice”? Tell us about winning the smoffice competition! What’s it like to run a business in a smoffice?
The Smoffice competition put on by the Durham Chamber of Commerce seemed like the perfect fit for The Makery, since we were looking for a place to settle in the heart of North Carolina. It’s been pretty hilarious, our office is in a tiny window inside of a great coffee shop in downtown Durham, and people stop and stare and take pictures pretty regularly. But they also come by to offer their help and advice!
Is The Makery strictly NC-based? What about artists who live in eastern Tennessee or northern Georgia, or a pretty part of Virginia?
Right now we are selling strictly NC-based artisans. But we have plans to expand, so each state can have their own version of The Makery, and discover who is making what in their area. And, who knows? Maybe we’ll have a “Southeast” or “Appalachian” makers week one time.
With a launch in late September, I bet you’re gearing up for some awesome holiday promotion and events. Anything special on the horizon?
You’ll have to stay tuned!
Thanks so much, Krista Anne, Sarah Rose, and Brita! We wish you much success during the launch and first sales of The Makery, as well as the exciting roads ahead!
To learn more about the Sister Team and their fab site, The Makery, find them here:
The Makery Blog: http://makeitnc.wordpress.com/
Join The Makery: www.themakeryproject.com
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMakeryNC
On Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheMakeryNC