They say necessity is the mother of invention. This comes to life in the inception of Maker’s Row, (www.makersrow.com) an innovative NYC based technology company cataloging American factories in a convenient database, born out of the need for quality domestic production accommodating to smaller brands. A few years back, HBO aired a series called, How To Make It in America. The series followed the makers around NYC as they tried to see their dreams of breaking into the fashion scene come to fruition. Though fictional and embellished the storyline resonated with many emerging designers who could relate to the struggles, yet it was missing the key element suggested in the title so many of us wanted to know, exactly how do you make it in America, literally?Matthew Burnett co-founder of Maker’s Row fills in the blanks for makers of all stages of the production process…
Why did you start Maker’s Row?
The inspiration for Maker’s Row arose from our own experience trying to find a manufacturer within the United States. It usually would take us up to two months to find the right manufacturer that will work with our order quantities, maintain quality, and meet our deadlines with consistency. Over time, we discovered that this was the dilemma that faced an overwhelming majority of companies from small businesses to large corporations.
What are the main questions that Maker’s Row answers for emerging designers?
We are trying to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access for designers. We came up with a “sixstep process”(ideation, pattern making, materials, sample making, tooling and production) which allows you to search and easily find factories that can help you along any (and in some cases all) stepof the process. We are providing unparalleled access to industry-specific factories and suppliers across the United States. For American designers and small businesses we are the vehicle for discovery, understanding and innovation.
What are the benefits of domestic vs. overseas manufacturing?
It is an invaluable advantage for entrepreneurs and businesses to be able to find domestic manufacturing partners.On the other hand, with outsourcing, miscommunication due to language barriers can lead to critical mistakes, resulting in loss of enormous lots of already limited time and capital. This dilemma faces businesses both large and small.
One of the less publicized hindrances to foreign manufacturing is shipping. Bringing products from overseas can take several weeks and thousands of dollars once import taxes and freight expenses are applied.
There are usually lower minimums in dealing with certain American manufacturers, which reduces production risk. Reducing risk for small businesses allows them to move quickly, save money, and expand their product base with much less difficulty.
There are/have been other web tools or publications aimed to providing similar services of matching designers with manufactures, what’s unique about Maker’s Row?
One thing that separates us from our competition is that we educate our small businesses in order to empower them to refine and expand their product base. Our step by step tutorials illustrate sourcing techniques of experienced product designers.
Secondly, we provide an inside look to American manufacturers with Maker’s Row media. This saves time and money for designers to find the appropriate partner to produce their goods.
What differentiates us from our competitors is that we are focusing on the United States and we have a provisional patent on our search process which incorporates the stages of the process as a filter, which makes searching much easier for the buyers. Many of our competitors provide contact information of factories, but Maker’s Row provides a behind the scenes look. Maker’s Row serves as a catalyst for sustainable change in the way we consume, and more importantly, the way we create.
How do you select factories for your database?
There are numerous networks and organizations we have partnered with. Many were referred by factories we have dealt with in the past with Brooklyn Bakery. We were incredibly fortunate that quite a few factories were so into the concept of Maker’s Row that they offered us access to their contacts.
How do members use your services the most?
We provide a database for designers where they can review, rate and receive granular data on American manufacturers such as, minimum order quantities, machinery and specialties. You can use our “six step making process” as a learning tool, as well as a search filter. You can click which stages you need; for instance, if you need a pattern-maker you can check off that box and it will show you all of the pattern-makers available. Maker’s Row Factory profiles are accessible by factory owners so that you are able to access the most accurate, and up to date information. We also have request features for people to request more information from factories.
We have created clean and easy-to-use interface that allows designers to quickly find the best factories for their specific production needs. There are three different views you can use when searching: grid, list and map view. This saves designers and manufacturers time and money.
Besides fashion, what other industries do the factories listed in your database serve?
We support a broad range of businesses. From entrepreneurs that are up and coming and still in their first stages to established enterprises that are looking to solidify a manufacturing partner. Right now we are in the apparel, accessories, and furniture industries.
Do you have any future plans to expand the services offered by Maker’s Row?
We have recognized that Maker’s Row as a platform has great potential in a number of other industries and are definitely planning on expanding. Since we began, it has been essential to our team to move with a focused momentum in order to maintain our impact and credibility with each community we engage.[via #SoUltimate Magazine]