Makeshift Brooklyn week 004

Last week something special happened. I met Teemu, a friend from Helsinki who co-founded the graphic design firm Kokoro & Moi, and we walked over to the future home of Makeshift Society. This was the first time that I had shown it to someone that’s not somehow involved in the project or playing a role in our Kickstarter video. Teemu was silent for a second and then said, “cool.” It was just what I wanted to hear. What a way to start the week.

The chat with Teemu and a similar one with Feather & Mint were both intended to help us gauge the needs of the crowd here in NYC. What we’ve learned so far is that we probably need to make room for more whiteboards, or at least writing surfaces. We are going to do some tests with IdeaPaint and nice plywood to see if that will allow us to escape the monotony of large, shiny, white surfaces.

After kicking off the week with a spurt of meetings, we spent a couple days at Brooklyn Beta. On Thursday we hosted a party and panel discussion to give people out here a taste of what Makeshift events are like. Eighty-some people showed up to hear from Nikki Dekker of Lake and Stars lingerie, Tracie Lee of Lone Star Tacos, and Archie Lee Coates IV from PlayLab and Plus Pool talk about starting a creative business in Brooklyn. Virb and Photojojo sponsored the event and Design*Sponge for provided their offices as a venue, since ours is still a construction site. Here’s what that looked like:

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Here’s one of the posters that we hung to give people a peek at what Makeshift Brooklyn will entail.

Click to view very, very large

Click to view very, very large

Then we attended the main Brooklyn Beta event to start spreading the word about Makeshift. They had a bike concierge.

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The event was really well done, and featured contributions from a number of Friends Of Makeshift, including Kelli Anderson and Jessi Arrington’s WORKSHOP.

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Between sessions at Beta, Rena and I were taking advantage of being in the same place at the same time. Lots of emails were drafted, interview questions responded to, to-do lists made, and to top it off we had a couple phone calls with Anne The Lawyer. The interviews are especially important to us right now because we’re trying to funnel as much attention as possible to the Kickstarter.

Three things of note with regard to that. First, we posted an update (which partially overlaps with this post, but mostly does not). Second, we added two rewards that can be shipped anywhere in the world! Third, we’ve been working on making better images of the rewards that we are offering because they are awesome and the tiny thumbnails on the Kickstarter page do not do them justice. Each of the rewards features original artwork commissioned by us for this campaign. Hopefully new images like the one below do a better job of showing you how great the stuff is.

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(Click to view large)

In the middle of all of this, one of the more established coworking spaces in NYC closed its doors without warning. 3rd Ward had published significant plans and recently opened a location in Philadelphia, so it was surprising to see them shuttered so abruptly. I lost most of Friday night to reading the various reports and an unhealthy dose of Reddit comments. Of course we’re concerned about whether this will cast a shadow on coworking in NYC in general, but we’re undeterred. We may not be familiar with the inside story, but from what we’ve been able to glean they were expanding too quickly and with plans that were larger than they could sustain. We’re sorry to see 3rd Ward go.

By contrast, Makeshift Brooklyn is a modest expansion for us. We will take things slowly so that our growth is careful and meaningful. There are few things we can promise you, but that’s one of them. Goodnight Week 004, you were exhausting.