At Lark Crafts, we’re pretty big fans of all things handmade, as well as the concept of handmade: something made by hand with a unique and heartfelt purpose. (We’re also located in the heart of downtown Asheville, North Carolina: a spot of beauty if ever there was one.) So it was really exciting to learn about The Makery, the craft business brainchild of sisters Sarah Rose, Brita, and Krista Nordgren, and its aim to connect North Carolina artists and art-lovers online and in the real world.
I had the privilege of chatting with Sarah Rose about The Makery, its mission, and the Kickstarter campaign designed to support it. I hope you enjoy hearing about these awesome gals and their very cool endeavors as much as I did, and make sure you check them out on their blog, website, Facebook, and Twitter! The Makery’s Kickstarter campaign runs through March 31st, and you can learn much more about it from Sarah Rose below.
You’ve described your start-up as “The Makery: a sales website for art and crafts in North Carolina.” Can you describe this a bit more—maybe delve into the nuts and bolts, as well as the heart and soul of The Makery?
Of course! I’ll start with the heart and soul. The Makery is built on a passion for art and the creative spirit. We love the idea that people all over the state are pouring their talent and passion into making things with their hands. North Carolina has a great history of art and handcraft – from the textile and furniture industries to the famous Seagrove pottery – and we’re now seeing a resurgence of interest in high-quality handmade objects as people become disillusioned with mass-produced culture. It’s really a nationwide (and international!) movement, but we’re focusing on North Carolina because it’s our home state and the place to which we feel most connected.
As far as nuts and bolts are concerned, The Makery will combine e-commerce with buying local. The setup will be similar to sites like Fab.com or Groupon: people who are members of The Makery will have access to weekly deals on carefully selected items by that week’s three featured artists. We hope to become a trusted venue where buyers can purchase beautiful and unique items at a reduced price and be exposed to new artists that they may not have seen before, and where the featured artists will gain exposure and new fans.
Who are the people behind the wheel and in the engine room of the Makery, and how did you decide to work together on this project?
The people behind The Makery are me and my two sisters, Brita and Krista. I think we’ve all dreamed for years about having some big project that would bring the three of us together with our interests and passions, and it seems that we’ve finally found it! It started as a loose concept that has gradually built momentum over the past months, and we’re really excited about the direction things are taking.
So you’re sisters! How cool is that. What is it about working together both creatively and as entrepreneurs that inspires and challenges you?
So far it’s been amazing to see how naturally we’ve been able to utilize each of our unique strengths and support each other to get things done. Brita is the real artist of the three of us. She is an amazing designer and papercut artist with backgrounds in art history and furniture design, so she provides a lot of our aesthetic direction. Krista is the natural entrepreneur and a major source of positive energy for the group, as well as being a good writer. Like our father (who’s a longtime entrepreneur and teaches creative entrepreneurship at Duke), Krista gets a contagious excitement about new ideas. For my part, I’m a writer (actually a poet), and I also have experience as a publicist, so I can bring those skills. I think I also keep the group focused since I’m very organized.
Our biggest challenge so far has been getting things done long-distance. We all live in different places right now so we have all our meetings via Skype! This summer we’re hoping to spend more time with the three of us in person, which will be nice.
The Makery is all about artists, crafters, and artisans in North Carolina, as well as the foundation of buying local. How does the concept of “local” resonate with you? What do you hope this focus brings to the makers and buyers who support The Makery?
The local focus is really what makes The Makery special. Even though we will be an online platform, our hope is that the connections we make between artists and art-lovers online will translate into real-world relationships – fellow artists connecting with each other to share ideas and resources, and people supporting makers at craft fairs and gallery openings, for example. When you purchase an item from The Makery, whether it’s for yourself or as a gift for Christmas or a baby shower, etc., you’ll not only be getting an awesome and unique product, but also one that was lovingly handmade by one of your own NC neighbors. Everybody wins!
Tell us about your Kickstarter campaign—what is your goal? How will the campaign make The Makery happen? What do we need to know in order to get involved and pledge to the campaign?
We’re very excited to be on Kickstarter (check out the cool video that Brita put together!), and we have our fingers crossed that we reach our funding goal by the March 31 deadline. The way Kickstarter works is that if you don’t get all of your funding in time you come away with nothing, so it’s really important that we raise the money we need in the next few days! Our funding goal is $4,450, which will cover most of our basic operations for our first year. For example, we need a fully functional online shop and email service, shipping supplies and stationary, and the legal fee for forming an LLC. For a new business our overhead is very low, but without the money we won’t be able to get our shop running. Right now we’re at about 40% of our goal with 10 days left, so we need more backers in order to succeed.
Take a moment to visit our Kickstarter page for more information and check out our video and the great rewards we’re offering to backers (like screen-printed tote bags and mix CDs of our favorite local bands). Every pledge, big or small, makes a difference! If you like what we’re doing, tell your craft-loving friends, family, and co-workers! We’d love your help spreading the word.
If you wrote an indie love song to the Makery, what would you write in the chorus? You know, the part of the song that people hear on their alarm when they wake up in the morning and then hum all day long.
Their hands made you, spun you,
hung you, painted you,
hammered and cut you,
stitched and taped you,
shaped you into my NC heart!
Thanks so much, Sarah Rose + Brita + Krista. We wish you great success in your vision for The Makery!
To learn more about Sarah Rose, Brita, Krista, and their endeavors with creating The Makery, find them here:
The Makery Kickstarter Campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1077765545/the-makery
The Makery Blog: http://makeitnc.wordpress.com/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMakeryNC
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TheMakeryNC