You’re a designer. You love what you do, your business is growing and you can’t keep up with production. It’s a good problem to have, right?
Unfortunately for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the idea of taking the leap and going from making everything yourself to sourcing a manufacturer can be more daunting than finding health insurance and doing taxes and getting married the same day. It also may involve several costly trips to visit factories and do proper research. So is it worth it? Isn’t it a better option to just cut sleep hours back to say, 2 and a half, and keep production going?
There had to be a better way. The team at Maker’s Row wants to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to find the right manufacturer in the US. They’ve created a site that aggregates factories with different capacities and provides in-depth information about each one. You can search by category (say, you’re making handbags), by stage (maybe you just need help with pattern-making or materials), or by keyword if you’re looking for something specific. You can also search in a specific state, which is helpful if you want to keep production local.
Maker’s Row was started earlier this year by Matthew Burnett, Tanya Menendez and Scott Weiner. The trio hit it off at the Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp, and they’ve been expanding their directory since them. They tell us more about how this all happened, how it works, and their plans for the future.
What moved you guys to take the plunge and start Maker’s Row?
[Matthew] The concept of Makers Row was born out of frustration. Every time I wanted to add a new product to my leather collection, The Brooklyn Bakery, I would have to stop everything in order to find the right manufacturer. The factory sourcing process can take weeks when you take into account searching, calling, and ultimately visiting factories. After repeating this process for a couple of years I was exhausted and wanted to create a free resource for designers and entrepreneurs to be able to find the right manufacturer.
How do you juggle The Makers Row with your work with The Brooklyn Bakery?
[Matthew] We have discontinued the Brooklyn Bakery line in order to focus on Maker’s Row. Right now we are just fulfilling orders of the products that we have inventory of.
How was your experience with the Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp?
[Matthew] Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp provided us with the resources to find the proper funding we needed in order to test our theories, and find an awesome technical co-founder (Scott Weiner) to implement and display our vision. During the camp weekly meetings, we were pushed to think critically and defend our vision as a team to the other teams of entrepreneurs. This helped us mold our service into what we have now and where we plan on going as a company.
What do entrepreneurs get when they sign up?
[Matthew] Entrepreneurs will gain access to all of the contact information of the factories, suppliers and contractors in our database. They will also be able to message factories directly through their profile and get immediate access to new industries as they come.
Is there a fee for entrepreneurs to use your site?
[Matthew] There are no fees for entrepreneurs or designers to browse our database. We just ask everyone to signup and join our community.
What are your plans for 2013?
[Matthew] Too many to list! We can say that you will be able to see more industries in our database which is very exciting to all of us at Maker’s Row.
[Tanya] You can find new factories every day by sorting by “newest”, but we are super excited for the new industries to come, and a few people have already started voting here: feedback.makersrow.com. We are also working hard get more Maker’s Row videos up in the next year.
How long have you been in Brooklyn? What are your favorite spots in your neighborhood?
[Scott] I’ve been living in Manhattan for the past 5 years. I enjoy going to new and unique shows, museums, parks, restaurants and food festivals. I’m interested in anything to do with innovation and creativity.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Sign up for Maker’s Row and get started.