106% FUNDED!

Are you ready Brooklyn? THANKS TO 447 incredibly AMAZING people, we are going to have to say this is the best Halloween ever. Yes, it’s true – Makeshift Society is coming to the East coast! No tricks, just treats – and by treats we mean a brand new, snazzy tool-lending library packed with all the good stuff you will need to start making your next great project. Words like “excited” or ” thrilled” just aren’t good enough for how we feel today – so we are going to have to choose one that sums up how we feel right now: thankful.

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So, let’s take a minute to say thank you to some of our friends who helped make this campaign possible:

Super thanks to the stars of our video, who spent a long, hot day at the space, expertly opening warm, flat beer on camera:

And thanks to our rad creative friends who made fantastic artwork for the rewards we will be sending out soon:

And where would we be without the amazing people who shared our campaign with all of their readers and followers? The following blogs kept the energy going over the last 45 days, and we cannot even begin to express how thankful we are to each and every one of them.

This would not have been possible without all of you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,
The Makeshift Team

A Visit with Kiva Zip

One day you are sitting there and you have this great idea, the light bulb is shinning bright! You are excited, filled with thoughts about this fresh, original idea that is sure to take off. You get your business plan together, source all of your materials, and then you go to get a loan to get things off the ground. Declined.
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For Lunch Bunch we welcomed Shane Fahy ofKiva Zip into the clubhouse to tell us more about their services and how they can help small businesses and entrepreneurs get their idea funded. Kiva Zip is a part of the Kiva company that facilities global loan lending in developing countries. They have brought this model State side to help budding small business get the funding they need. Kiva Zip is a non-profit organization that is a merger between crowd-funding and micro-financing. They start off at $5,000 loans for a first time lender, but that can increase on further loans after your have successfully paid back the amount you have been lent. Since they began, Kiva has provided close to 1/2 a billion dollars to borrowers.

Kiva Zip is looking for small business owners with a strong business concept, but have been financially excluded or provide a positive social impact. Borrowers are able to apply for a loan upon a referral from a Trustee. A Trustee can be an organization or individual that on your be half can provide endorsement for your business and character. They often provide support (and cheerleading!) during your loan period. Kiva Zip is also looking for Trustees and lenders to support the swiftly growing small business sector. You can find a list of current Trustees here.

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As a borrower with a business you can create a profile page introducing your business to others. Lenders from around the world are able to access your story about your business through a profile on Kiva Zip’s website. They are often your potential costumers, business advisors, and band ambassadors that get behind you and rally for your idea. Usually hundreds of lenders contribute to a single cause with as little as $5!

For more information, visit their website, by checking out their presentation here, or by contacting Shane directly at shane.fahy@fellows.kiva.org.

Class Preview: Product Descriptions for Makers & Merchants


The Story, Not Just the Specifications

If you’re a maker and/or a merchant, chances are that you’re prepping your online space for the holiday season. In the midst of sprucing up your content, I’d love for you to join me at my November 11th workshop about the craft of product description writing — and, while you’re waiting, to consider the art of selling your wares in the context of real estate.

Imagine that you’re shopping for a home. As a potential buyer, you probably have a strong sense of what your ideal property entails: hardwood floors, square footage, number of rooms, and so forth. While searching through Redfin, you might be drawn to descriptions that lay out the facts and figures, including the year the house was built, its size, whether or not the master bedroom has a bathroom attached, and perhaps even the school district in which the place resides.

And yet there’s a good chance that you’ve also built up a story, as a customer, about what you want out of a home. Perhaps you’ve been fantasizing for years about the good times that will happen around the farm table — your first big furniture purchase — with actual candlelight, linen placemats, and colorful cast iron pots full of home-cooked warmth for you and those you cherish.

Now imagine that the description tells you more than just facts and figures. Written by a realtor whose purpose is to help families find their “forever home,” she’s already anticipated the kinds of details that tell a story about the homeyness of this particular property. Imagine that you learn, through her carefully penned description, that the family who lived there prior stayed for three generations, and are only now leaving due to a can’t-miss job opportunity abroad. Imagine that you not only know how many windows are in the living room, but that you also learn how those bay windows face such that every morning, your future home has a perfect view of the sun coming up right over Sutro Tower.

Holding the purpose for why you do what you do, combined with an understanding of what Tara Gentile (http://www.taragentile.com/) calls your Most Valued Customer, will help to shape product descriptions that tell a tale, and not just the specifications, of your goods. Come learn how to guide your story through a variety of types of product descriptions, from minimalist to detailed, J. Peterman-esque yarns, at Product Descriptions for Makers & Merchants.

Bio: Esmé Weijun Wang is a writer and brand story specialist. She spent three years penning and punning for ModCloth.com, and has appeared in places such as Salon, Jezebel, and Clementine Daily. Find her at http://www.esmewang.com/, where you can learn more about her copywriting  services for purpose-driven entrepreneurs.


Makeshift Brooklyn Week 006

As I type this our Kickstarter campaign is teetering on the verge of $24,000. I’m not sure what is more amazing: that 352 people have already chipped in, or that we only have three more days to raise the next $6,000. That’s pretty much the new normal around here: delight seasoned with an occasional smattering of dread. Don’t worry, it’s mostly delight. And for the rest of the time we have donuts.

On Friday afternoon Dash finished the construction drawings for the renovation in Brooklyn! This means that we can send the project out for bid and begin narrowing in on a contractor we want to work with. Here’s what construction drawings look like:

131027 all plans

This is a detail of my favorite page, the “reflected ceiling plan” (essentially a floor plan looking up instead of down) that shows where the lights and other things in the ceiling go. The wavy lines tell the builders which lights connect to which switches.

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Other exciting things in the world of MSS construction include the scheduling of an asbestos inspection. Don’t fret, there’s no asbestos on site (if there were, it would have been dealt with by the landlord who just renovated the entire building) but this is a requirement for all projects in NYC. Also: better safe than sorry.

That’s what’s going on inside our little corner of the world. We also spent a good bit of the week connecting the others.

The founder of another coworking space in Brooklyn emailed us, scheduled a phone call, but then didn’t answer their phone at the decided time. Ooops — that’s a pet peeve of both mine and Rena’s, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume something came up. It was quickly forgotten in a wash of calls, some major percentage of which were between Rena in CA and me in NY discussing the intricacies of power outlets.

We wrote a wrap-up post from our collaboration with Adobe at this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest — that was a long time coming and we were starting to feel guilty, so I’m happy that it’s done. Together we asked attendees to draw their favorite creative tools and the responses were, in a word, awesome. As we grouped and analyzed the results the biggest surprise was the number of brains that people drew. It’s a good reminder that the design process is not just raw creativity, but the creative impulse applied as brainpower to problem solving.

The big thing that didn’t happen this week was me attending the post-3rd Ward meetup. It looks to have been a great meeting of many, many people who are passionate about Brooklyn, creative businesses, and community. Hoping there’s another one.

Week 006 was a tall, tall mountain that we plodded to the top of. The view’s nice, save a thin veil of fog.

What creative tools matter most to you?

Cleveland, Ohio is home to the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, an event intended to “inspire and enable the creative mind.” Rena was there this year to interview Lisa Congdon on stage (and vice versa) and enjoyed the festivities. There’s something good happening in Cleveland.

Photo borrowed from I am Emme

Photo borrowed from I am Emme

Makeshift Society also attended, in a way, as we were invited by Adobe to co-create a pop-up event. We focused on an area where both groups and the festival overlap: our mutual dedication to enabling creativity.

We asked people about their favorite creative tools: What tools matter most to you? More than 200 people took a minute to sketch their response both on paper and with Adobe Ideas on tablets. At the time we were considering the focus of our Kickstarter (3 days to go!), and the enthusiasm that came out of these drawings helped convince us that a tool library at Makeshift Brooklyn really was a good idea to carry forward.


With 22 drawings at WMC Fest, pencils and pens were the standout winner. Second place was filled with a series of 18 self portraits, or perhaps portraits of loved ones or other inspirational figures — though the only recognizable character was a Lego person named “Oliver”.


Anatomy was well represented with eyes (9), hands (7) and so many brains (16) that at least one zombie was attracted.


Consumables including music (16), alcohol in various forms (9), and stronger substances (4) also made an appearance. But then, so did pickles (1).


There were expressions of love for very specific features like the Pathfinder feature of Adobe Illustrator (1), the crop tool (1), and undo (2); as well as a more general appreciation of Wacom tablets (2), trackpads (2), and pink erasers (1). We want to know more about how a shovel (1) takes precedence in someone’s creative process, but when we saw another person praise spikes (1) our brows really went up!


Nature (3) was more popular than cities (2), but sleeping (1) tied with sitting on the toilet (1). So place matters too.

Thanks to Adobe for partnering with us on this project and to everyone who took a moment to draw their thoughts.

P.S. Note: at Makeshift we strongly believe that credit should be given where it is due. Not all of the drawings were signed, however, so we have not been able to attribute these lovely sketches. If you recognize something you submitted, please let us know so we can give you credit.