Originally this blog post was going to be about one of our makers (we’ll be running a series of posts about the who behind our products) but instead I thought I would open with a more holistic approach to the “Maker Movement”.
Personally I find it interesting, from my previous career I got to know a lot about Australian manufacturing. Businesses that were founded in the 60’s and once very successful. They had people in their companies who actually made things, they had production line workers, assemblers, painters, machinists, designers. It’s actually quite amazing to watch, like this video on matchbox cars being made in USA. This is exactly what I’m talking about.
Now this probably still happens, just not so much in Australia any more, and technology means most of the processes are automated, the manufacturing industry demands for fast, efficient and low cost production. Its evolution. The human race moving forward. But some of the magic is lost in big scale manufacturing that has had an impact on how we value things – interesting.
So why Maker? Maker used to be a term used to describe someone doing crafts, a bit like home-ec. But now it means a little more. A maker is someone who well, makes stuff, but these makers are becoming the backbone of evolution in product development, design and function.
Makers or DIYer’s have changed over time, in order for a maker to, well, make it in business they need to not only come up with a unique and desired design of a product, they need to be innovative on how it’s manufactured in order to be competitive. Otherwise let’s be serious, if you could buy the same item for half the cost from a made-too-easy shopping experience (like a shopping centre), you probably would.
Makers have been pushed into innovation for survival.
Reminds me a little of MacGyver, we have a term in our house, “just MacGyver it”, remember MacGyver, (what a spunk) he would make the most elaborate things to help him fix things or escape from his kidnappers. When something breaks we say “just MacGyver it” and try to figure out a way to get it working or functional again.
In USA, you’ll find the world’s best makers at Maker Faire described as a big “show and tell” for tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists and students (it really captures them all) – people who make stuff, celebrating the Maker Movement as a showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.
Having the ability to work on a shoe string and be innovative is something the big manufacturers are missing. And now, well, the big manufacturers want in. Companies like GE have set up a GE Garages where they provide aspiring makers with free workspaces equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, welders etc. “The Garages invite everyone to be part of the resurgence in manufacturing and to be hands-on with the spirit of invention that runs throughout GE,” says Sebastien Duchamp, the company’s digital communications director.
So for GE they now have a team of MacGyver’s working on making, fixing and innovating. Smart.
Sites like Etsy have over 1.5 million sellers of handmade products and over 2 billion in revenue in 2015. People value handmade. It’s the magic behind manufacturing. People are now likely to pay more for better quality goods that will last longer, have a sleek design and often unique one-of-a-kind than mass-produced products.
Part of the maker magic is they can tell you where products are made, who by and how. They often have relationships with other makers, who make them stuff that becomes components of their product. There’s soul in each and every piece. Like Bahen & Co. they make chocolate in Perth, they tell you how they make their chocolate and where and who they source the beans from.
It’s important to me that Gladys Mack is part of the maker movement, makers are real people and often sole traders, and yes that comes with challenges but it’s what makes our gift boxes unique and with that maker soul.
Read more about the Maker Movement in these awesome posts: