I’m excited about 2011, developing the Makerhood site, meeting more makers around Brixton, Camberwell, Stockwell and Herne Hill and figuring out how to connect makers and buyers together in a way that benefits everyone. The turn of the new year always makes me look back as well as forward, reflecting on what took place in the previous 12 months and I thought that this might be a good time to share the story of Makerhood with you and tell you how Kristina and I came up with the idea. So, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin..
Twelve months ago the idea of Makerhood didn’t exist. It was born one Sunday in May when Kristina and I were in a pub in Camden enjoying a long Sunday lunch to celebrate the visit of a friend of ours who had recently moved to New York. Kristina told me about an idea she’d had the day before for a website to help people find things made in their local area. The inspiration had come as she tried to find a particular item made locally and had not been able to. I was excited. Her idea was the online version of a proposal I had put forward when Spacemakers were offering shops at Brixton Village. I had proposed to run a shop where local makers of any kind could sell their produce whether they had one item or thirty to put on sale and whether they were professional or hobbyist. I’d never spoken to Kristina about it yet we had come up with very similar ideas. The coincidence was too good to ignore and we began to plan.
We started talking to people about it. We talked to makers at Brixton Village, Tunstall Road market, the Piano House and Lambeth Country Fair and asked – if we build this site would you be interested in using it? We were so excited when many people told us ‘Yes, we would use it. Please build it!’ We asked our friends to advise us and over the summer Kalam, Dougald, Carolina, Aoife, Amar, Hannah, Anand and Monica all joined us on Windrush Square as we sat on the grass and discussed possible names, user journeys and strategies. We could have been called ThisWeirdGirlMadeIt, MyNeighbourStitchedMeUp, MadeByMe or Doozy. Luckily Makerhood stuck and the domain was free. Yay!
We searched out people around Brixton who were already involved with makers and met people doing great projects such as Hannah with Re:Made in Brixton, Mitchell of MadeInBrixton, Ed of We-Fab, Fiona of Oh Sew Brixton and Zoe of SWCraftClub and talented individuals and makers such as Emily, Bua and Laura*. All of whom were incredibly generous with their time, knowledge and experience and willing to share these things with us. In August Kristina and I had enough details worked out to put in an application for UnLtd Level 1 funding and in late October we heard we’d been successful. That meant we could get a developer on board (the amazing Andy) and we began to think seriously about the site architecture, user experience, platform, user journeys and design. Right now we are completing these tasks and beginning to actually build the website.
It’s been an incredible seven months and difficult to remember a time before Makerhood. For me, it’s been very exciting to begin to make the website happen yet the most enriching part has been the people I’ve met. I feel more connected to my local area than ever before as I meet people who live and work here. I’m looking forward to more of that in 2011 and I’m hoping that when we launch the website it will play a part in the landscape of creative, inspiring projects that are happening right now in Brixton and surrounding areas. And, of course, we’ll keep you updated about all of that here on the blog. So here’s to 2011!
*And many more.. I’m sorry if I missed your name out here but be certain that I’m very happy to have met you!