Re:Make 2014: The Maker Revolution

brit_morin If you’re an avid creeper of mine, you know I spent the last weekend in San Fransisco for a little thing called Re:Make 2014 held by Brit + Co.

I am a freelance writer and editor for Brit+Co., an online DIY community dedicated to innovative ideas, apps, and products that help you live more creatively. Brit Morin, the “Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley,” started Brit+Co. after a stint at Apple and Google. Brit + Co. is a bit like if Etsy, Pinterest, and Buzzfeed had a baby. We are composed of about three-ish full-time editors and 65 freelance contributors, churning out about 25 posts a day.

Re:Make is a creativity conference that brings together makers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and techies to talk about the Maker Revolution that is sweeping the country, and how we can impact that revolution for the better.

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What is the maker revolution? I love how Thomas D. O’Connor, Jr. explains this new era:

 “During the 1900s, there was the Industrial Age, when people worked side by side (sometimes in less than ideal conditions, to be sure) to produce well-designed goods for everyday use. Then came the Information Age, when people worked alone in their cubicles, using computers to communicate virtually with colleagues and to remotely serve customers.

We’re inspired by what we call the new Maker Age, where modern creators are harnessing the best of those two previous eras: a communal approach to work, enhanced by technology and tools.”

 - Mohawk Maker Quarterly, Issue 04 

The Maker Revolution is important because it is estimated that, by 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be freelancers: designers, writers, builders, crafters, makers. But 77 percent of adults feel they have lost their creativity. How can we bridge the gap between the desire to make the fear of not being very good, seeming silly, or the false association that “I am not creative”?

Brit + Co. studied up on the Maker Revolution and came out with the Maker Movement Report. Brit opened up Re:Make 2014 with a video proving that we were all once petite Picassos or mini Monets. We were once creative children, but lost that confidence in making as we grew up. And we need it back.

Brit + Co. chose a handful of contributors to fly out to San Francisco to experience and cover Re:Make 2014. I was one of the few chosen.

Day One brought nearly 500 people to Fort Mason to listen to panelists discuss the maker movement, creativity, storytelling, and startup companies. I met people from one coast to the next, people who quit their day jobs to start projects out of their garage, people who know what it’s like to pitch to venture capitalists and kick ass while doing it.

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Here are just a few of the amazing people I met and listened to at Re:Make:

  1. Ben Kaufman, Founder + CEO, Quirky
  2. Eileen Gittens, Founder, President + CEO, Blurb
  3. Ido Leffler, Author, Investor + Co-founder, Say Yes To Carrots, Yoobi + Soma Water
  4. Kandee Johnson, YouTube Personality
  5. Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop
  6. Verena Von Pfetten, Executive Digital Editor, Lucky Magazine
  7. Zach Kaplan, CEO, Inventables
  8. Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor, Design Milk
  9. Shauna Mei, Founder, AHAlife.com
  10. Joy Cho, Founder, Oh Joy!
  11. Bradford Shellhammer, Founder, Fab.com
  12. Craig Dalton, CEO + Co-Founder, DODOcase
  13. Chris Taylor, Deputy Editor, Mashable

I could go all day on how many cool, creative, and successful people made an appearance. One girl cried when she met Kandee Johnson. It was equal parts adorable and awesome.

Attendees took frequent breaks - called “make breaks” - to try out our own creativity and maker-style. By the end of the day my manicure was ruined with fabric glue and cupcake icing. Yeah, I said cupcakes. Wilton Cakes baked for us and provided us with all the swag to decorate our own cute little cakes, including easy icing bags and tips to create all kinds of looks. The "Bake Break" was awesome because Wilton gave us all the tools to make really adorable cupcakes - even if we had never decorated one before. It gave attendees confidence in making, and inspiration to go home and make our homes and offices and lives into something really custom and beautiful. If you're interested in cakes and cookies (and who isn't) and learning how to be better baker, check out all of Wilton's tools, ingredients, and online classes hereIMG_7744

The Brit+Co. contributors were invited to a blogger lunch with Brit Morin, Randi Zuckerberg, the Lowes Innovation Lab team and various panelists from throughout the day. About 25 or 30 of us gathered around a table to break bread, discuss the future of storytelling, the importance of beautiful imagery, and what it’s like to be a woman and battling the social expectation of being syrupy-sweet and humble when we really want to be CEOs and Boss Bitches. It was interesting that, no matter the level of success, we still deal with the occasional tendency to play small when we really need (and want) to be larger than life.

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Exchanging ideas with these successful, influential people was the best part of my weekend. As we sat and talked, I thought to myself: these people get it. They get risk, change, rebellion, confidence, bucking status quo, and why the stories we tell are just as - if not more - important than the products and services we sell. Man, I’ve been in places where people most definitely did not get it and to be in that type of culture feels stifling and suffocating. At Re:Make 2014, and at that lunch table, I felt like I was inhaling for the first time in a long time. I walked away excited, inspired, and energized to go make, do, and kick ass.

Day Two of Re:Make was a festival of makers. Vendors of all kinds – paper goods, leather goods, chocolate, jewelry, etc. sold beautiful, handmade products from across the country. Dotted in-between vendors were more make stations, where attendees could make things of their own – anything from mini planters to cupcakes or headbands.

The place was packed and full of just as much, if not more, energy than the day before. When you bring that many creative people together to create in the same space, a certain kind of magic happens. We are all better for having joined as a community than any of us could have been on our own.

So that was my wild, exciting, star-studded, creative, maker-made weekend at Re:Make 2014. It was beyond anything I expected, and made me so proud to be apart of Brit + Co.

Later this week, I'll post all about my extracurricular adventures around San Fran.

XO,

J.

Photo cred herehere and here. All edits and text overlays by me.