SF Design Week with Guts & Glory

G&GEvent-27There were so many events during SF Design Week it wad hard to keep track of! A week chock full of amazing design events, talks, and parties. We were gracious to be able to host a talk featuring the rad ladies of Guts & Glory of our window instillation fame! There was wine, obscenities, cotton candy, emojis, and of course lots of design.

G&GEvent-40The event was kindly hosted at the magical tree house/offices of Social Print Studio. If you can not remember the last time your printed out any of your photos (guilty) or want a way to take your Instagram snaps analog, SPS is your go to. For the event, they printed cheeky swag bags with emojis on them to place on every chair. We think that people might have decided where to sit that evening based on which emoji they wanted!

G&GEvent-9G&GEvent-53 sG&GEvent-26Everyone seemed to be jovial and having fun, even before the witty presentations. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again when there is a cotton candy involved. We made sure to have an old school cotton candy machine at the event to not only guarantee sugar highs and nostalgia, but to go along with the cloud theme for the Mad Libs instillation on our windows! If you don’t get the reference, you should stop by the clubhouse and check out the window take over from Guts & Glory.


We also had wine from Union Wine Co. to get the design conversation flowing. To make sure we stayed well hydrated, it was only a Tuesday after all, with all all of the cotton candy and wine consumption (there was a lot!) we had the new SOMA water pitchers at hand.

G&GEvent-38The designer of Social Print Studio and founder of Makeshift, Rena Tom, warmed up the mic and the cozy, bright chairs on the stage. G&GEvent-63 G&GEvent-59The ladies of Guts & Glory laid their knowledge on us. There were talks of haters, lovers, perfume, hiring employees and the fallacy of work life. balance. Really, it doesn’t exist!

G&GEvent-73With many in attendance running their own businesses or working for those that do, it was insightful to hear how they got to where they are today. They were completely honest, vulnerable, and humorous towards the road they took and how they are still learning and taking shots in the dark at running a small business. They depicted their journey in self employment and lady boss-dom as having their “pants down and lasers out!”

G&GEvent-99After the talk, there was time for questions. The ladies where more than happy to answer all the questions that were thrown at them. Following the talk, there was more wine and cotton candy floating around while attendees mingled and connected on design and other topics.

Thank you to everyone one who attended and a special thank you to Guts & Glory, SOMA water, Union Wine Co., and Social Print Studio for such a great evening!

All photos via the lovely Sarah Deragon

Member Spotlight: Laura Palotie

For this edition of our Member Spotlight we chatted with literary agent, journalist and editor Laura Palotie. Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Laura moved to the U.S. as a teenager, and has since studied writing and journalism and worked in writing, content marketing and editing on both sides of the pond. She’s passionate about sharing great stories that break down cultural barriers. Laura works as the New York-based agent of Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, headquartered in Helsinki. A Brooklyn member since day one, Laura was our steadfast cheerleader as we got the space up and running. We love hearing about her trips back to Helsinki and all the fun books that land on her desk. Thanks for spoiling us rotten with Finnish chocolate, Laura!

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What does a typical day look like for you? 

Because I’m in touch with publishers in both Europe and the U.S., as well as with our Helsinki office, my days begin relatively early; I’m typically handling correspondence starting at 7 or 7:30. Throughout the day I work on our agency’s newsletters and other English-language materials, meet and keep in touch with publishers, and work on contracts and other elements of the publication process: we represent Finnish authors, illustrators and publishers in international markets as well as several U.S. publishers and agencies in the Nordic markets, so I’m always busy! In the evenings and weekends I’ll often work on journalistic or editing projects at home: I contribute to Finnair’s English-language inflight magazine, Blue Wings, as well as a medical news publication in Finland, among other outlets: most recently I had an article published in Breaking Character, the theater industry publication of Samuel French.

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image by Kira Simon Kennedy

What do you love most about what you do?

As a literary agent, I love having the opportunity to bring fantastic books to new markets. A terrific translated book, whether it be a literary novel or a picture book, makes the world feel more accessible. We work with outstanding, imaginative authors in all genres, and playing a part in the process that helps them gain more fans worldwide is an honor. The best part of my job is calling an author and telling them that their book is going to be published in a new language. Overall, whether is be as an agent, a writer or an editor, I love bringing compelling stories to new audiences.

Supinen_Mantelimaa_cover-WSOY       Mörkövahti-kansi

What projects are you excited about right now? a favorite book that has landed on your desk recently?

We have a terrific middle-grade novel called “Monster Nanny” (“Mörkövahti”) by author Tuutikki Tolonen, which is a mix of “Mary Poppins” and “Where the Wild Things Are” set in contemporary Finland. It’s just as quirky and charming as it sounds, and it has already sold in Germany, Spain and Estonia (the Finnish edition is coming out in August). In the adult fiction realm we have “Jingle Land” (“Mantelimaa”) by Miina Supinen, about a sinister theme park where it’s always holiday season. To complement the intriguing Tim Burton-esque premise, the story is told in a very realistic way with relatable, richly drawn characters.

What do you miss about living in Helsinki? and what do you love about living in Brooklyn?

In addition to my family, friends and godchildren, I miss the bike lanes, gorgeous light in summers and the abundance of nature — and yes, the free health care system! In Brooklyn I absolutely love the diversity (in friends, food and experiences) and energy. It feels like everyone here is on a crazy shared adventure together.

Any funny stories about your first adventures in NY?

I first moved here in 2006 for grad school, and lived in Soho in a tiny, slightly decrepit apartment. I remember stepping outside and finding more options for designer shoes I couldn’t afford than for bagels (Brooklyn suits me much better in that realm). The most ridiculous moment for me was probably noticing a giant mouse devouring a bag of chips in the kitchen, and calling my dad in panic. Not sure how he could have helped me from 5000 miles away in Helsinki.

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image by Kira Simon Kennedy

What’s your favorite thing about working from Makeshift?

It’s a place full of people who are totally passionate about their respective projects (whether it be in design, marketing or writing). It’s a great place to focus, but also the perfect environment to chat with like-minded folks.

Where’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood to grab a bite or a drink?

I’m very much into Sweetgreen for lunch, and as an after-work spot my absolute favorite is the Pinkerton Wine Bar. It’s cozy and not too loud, so it’s great for catching up with a friend or for sitting down with a book, and the wines and cheeses are delicious.

Member Spotlight: Fabian G. Tabibian


Meet fine artist, experience director, and makeshift member Fabian Tabibian! A true New Yorker, Fabian was born on 196th and Broadway, raised in Queens, schooled in the Bronx and the city, and lives in Brooklyn. Originally, Fabian was focused on a degree in Econ, but a minor in Studio Art took him on a detour from MBA applications to the MFA program at Hunter College. He’s been focusing oh his studio art practice ever since.

We caught up with Fabian to find out about his work, his fave neighborhood hangouts, and the unique way he memorized the boroughs as a child.


Walk us through a day in the life of Fabian.

I’m up around 6am and start on the things I want to get done for me by 9am: Stretch, meditate, give gratitude, write, read, make breakfast and lunch, and some kind of fitness activity. When I do this, I feel like the rest of the day is a bonus.

I work three-days a week for an amazing amazing digital education start-up (Zearn.org) as Experience Director. I’m usually focused on one main project for an extended period. The work is big thinking and sweating the details at the same time.

The other two days (and the weekend), I’m focused on my studio work. Since I work predominantly with digital media, I can work most any place — I make work on my laptop when desk bound, on an iPad when standing and walking around (usually at my studio in Greenpoint) or even on my iPhone when riding the subway. I try to steal extra time whenever and however I can to make new things.  I use the studio space to print large works, look at works side-by-side, studio visits, and to crank music loudly.


What kind of projects are you working on right now?

Current design work is top-secret at the moment. Current artworks are digital abstractions that connect with painting more than photography. The source or starting images for these works are found by hacking my computer and seeing what files the internet has left behind from a days worth of use (thank you, internet!)

What’s your favorite thing about working from Makeshift?

The vibe! It feels like working at an arts library — which is one of my favorite places to make work!


Where’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood to wind down after work?

The backyard at Spuyten Duyvil with a book in-hand, or Roebling Sporting Club if a good game is on.

Share a funny childhood memory with us.

I remember learning about all the neighborhoods in the Boroughs by the infamous murders that occurred at each locale — this is more funny weird than funny haha. It’s a much safer town now!


Do you have some life advice you’d you like to share?

I sometimes snip quotes, this was today’s find:

“…it is always better to do something one feels good about than something that may make us materially comfortable but emotionally miserable. Such decisions arenotoriously difficult and require great honesty with oneself.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks Fabian! If you ever see him walking around Williamsburg, be sure to say hi and ask him for a good book recommendation.

Member Spotlight: Matt Beale and Cory Forsyth

This Member Spotlight post features the newest small team to join Makeshift Society. Say hello to Matt Beale and Cory Forsyth, the duo behind 201-Created.  Long time friends, Matt and Cory quit their full time jobs in 2012 and started their own company.

We caught up with them to find out what they’re working on, why they work from our space, and how they’re doing their part to contribute to the whole point of the internet: sharing cat pictures.


How did you two start working together?

Cory: We’ve been friends through the Ruby (programming language) and NYC technology community for many years. I think we first got to know each other when a company I had started (called outside.in, no longer around) hosted programmer happy hours in our offices in Dumbo. Over the years Matt and I collaborated on some small side projects and stayed in touch. In 2012 we started talking about wanting to work together in earnest as freelancers. It took about 6 months to find the right opportunity, when neither of us had a full-time job any longer, to join forces. We’ve been working together and slowly growing and formalizing our company ever since.  We hired our first full-time employee this June!

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Can you tell us about any interesting projects you’ve been working on lately?

Matt: Absolutely. This summer we’re working with Bustle’s great tech team here in Williamsburg. Most of the work will be on their content editing experience, using HTML5 and JavaScript to improve the collaboration between authors and editors. The code will be largely open source. We work hard to find clients ready to leverage community as much as code, and use our active roles in the JavaScript and OSS world as part of our pitch.

Some other recent work has been on the Nest store, and with our friends at Aptible. On the side, we’re constantly contributing to Ember.js and other projects. We try to balance technical contributions with community ones, and besides commits we also published a community survey and raised over a thousand dollars with our first Coding for Causes program.

Cory: In the spring we worked on a project with conservationists in east Africa to build an interface for them to upload photos of lions that then uses facial recognition software to help them track the lions as they move through different regions. It’s been said that the internet was built to enable sharing of cat pictures; we’re trying to do our part.


What do you enjoy about working from makeshift?

Cory: The pleasant atmosphere is great for working. It’s not quiet as a tomb, but not distractingly loud either. Makeshift has all the productivity benefits of a coffee shop without the drawbacks. Well, it doesn’t have coffee, but that’s actually a benefit too. There are plenty of great cafés around the space that are easy to walk to. One of my favorite things about Makeshift’s space is that it really encourages creativity by making it easy to get up and move around. The location is a big, airy, bright area right on street level, on a nice quiet street, which makes it very easy to get up and get out for a quick walk outside to clear one’s head. A quick afternoon walk around the block to pick up a coffee and maybe a cookie is a great way to reinvigorate my creativity in the afternoon. Other co-working spaces that I’ve worked at are on high floors and I have to pack up my computer in my backpack before I can get outside, which makes it subtly harder to get up and move around. At Makeshift I can just get up, walk around, and get right back to work.

Matt:For my afternoon americano a favorite spot is Parlor Coffee’s popup, inside the Person of Interest barber shop. Another favorite close by is Oslo Coffee Roasters on Roebling.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.53.58 PMSometimes we have coffee!

What’s a philosophy you live by?

Matt:We believe writing software is a creative practice, and strive to make the most of the few million lines each we will each write in a career. This means a continued investment in learning, constant collaboration with the open source community, and plenty of time off to recharge!

Cory:The best type of work also has an element of play in it. I’m happiest and feel most productive when I’m learning while I’m working.

Be sure to stop by on sunny mornings to say hi to Matt and Cory. And ask Matt for some awesome music recommendations!