Makeshift Brooklyn Week 001

Makeshift works because people share — space, ideas, know-how, and experience — so it’s natural that we would also do our best to share the experience of building Makeshift itself. From here on out we will be blogging the story of Makeshift Society Brooklyn via weeknotes.

Week-huh? Weeknotes are exactly what they sound like: regular blog posts that journal the previous seven days or so. I’ll be posting from Brooklyn to give you the inside view of how things are progressing. Each post will feature a recap of what we’ve struggled with, accomplished, perhaps even failed at, and what’s on each of our plates.

Like all ambitious habits, this one is starting with the new year, Makeshift’s new year. Last week we celebrated the first birthday of the business in San Francisco. As if that wasn’t enough to keep us busy, we also launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creative tool lending library in Brooklyn.

Week “one” is by no means the first week we’ve been at this. The Makeshift Brooklyn effort got going late last year. I played the role of ‘real estate drone,’ cruising around the city and sending images back to Rena in SF. She researched, re-calibrated, and issued another itinerary. We spent months looking at a variety of places in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, and elsewhere before looking at the space we’re settling into now.

Makeshift is open to the public and we want it to be part of the life of the city. For this reason we went counter to all logic for office space and insisted that we must have ground floor frontage, even if it meant paying more. Being part of the community is important, and the community’s on the street, not in the sky.

mss outside

Our corner of the neighborhood

After seven months of searching we found the right space on a quiet street in Williamsburg that’s close to two train lines, has bars nearby, nice bones, and is walking distance from just about anything you could need or want. Our future home has it all!

The only thing missing was a coffee shop on the same block — and then we noticed something under construction across the street and went to poke our heads in. Frankie opened the door, confused that two people were reading his building permits so carefully, and it turns out he’s opening… a cafe! I can’t recommend that you plan your business around serendipity, but we are happy to be the recipient of such when it visits us.

Getting from the point of having an offer on the table to actually signing a lease took longer than we had hoped, but that’s behind us now. The minute we transferred the deposit on the space we began in earnest on the design of the renovation.

The buildout is being handled by Dash Marshall (full disclosure: I am also a co-founder there) with collaborations by Victoria Smith and others we will be announcing along the way. Dash has been deliberating on the differences between two robots. The design concept is embedded in the image below but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 3.26.17 PM

The bulk of the design effort at this stage is going into things that will be invisible once we open our doors. Dash is coordinating building services to take care of exciting things such as air handling, condensate lines, outlets, fire sprinklers. Glamorous? Nope. Important? Yup. This process will get more exciting when the pragmatics are nailed down and we can share images of all the pretty things.

That leaves Rena. She mostly sends emails and meets with people these days. From time to time she tests the structural integrity of her desk by banging her forehead on it. Rena had an important phone call in week 001 and has been spending a lot of time with Heather on the Google Docs after that. Week 001 ended with the anniversary celebrations, which is why we’ll excuse ourselves for posting this message a little later than we had hoped.

Brooklyn, we’re coming for you!