Ever since MAKE’s first foray into e-commerce three years ago, we’ve believed an important part of our mission should be to help indie makers bring new DIY kits and products to market.
Breaking into a market through traditional retail channels can be a daunting barrier for an indie maker or small kit builder.
That’s why in the Maker Shed (makershed.com) we’re willing to carry small runs of promising new project kits, often assembled by hand in the maker’s garage and packaged in small, nondescript boxes purchased at the local packaging store. We do business over email with a virtual handshake; put the product online; maybe blog it on makezine.com to stir up interest; watch the sales and listen to what customers have to say; and then give the kit builder valuable feedback that he or she can use to refine the idea. It’s another way MAKE reinvests in the maker community.
But makers’ product ideas and the resulting economics are as varied as the makers themselves. They just don’t all fit in the Maker Shed. Not a week goes by when I don’t have to take a pass on some cool kit or game concept.
Sometimes, they’re actually services or custom one-off products that would be difficult to carry in the Maker Shed. Sometimes they just don’t have enough margin to split between the maker and the retailer.
Nonetheless, all these makers and their DIY creations need a market to showcase their ideas and their products.
And so, this summer the Maker Media team is joining with the Boing Boing crew to launch a brand-new online marketplace called Makers Market (makersmarket.com).
Makers Market will be a curated marketplace where indie makers, small suppliers, and artists will be invited to sell their creations, and in some cases their services, to the DIY community.
Participating makers will have their own storefront or studio space where they can showcase their work and sell their products, have their own blog, post pictures and videos, and communicate with their customers and the DIY community at large. Plus, we have a few other cool marketing tools we’ll be integrating.
Think of it as a curated bazaar of wonderful science, tech, and artistic treasures. We provide the web service, the tools, and the community. Participating makers will be responsible for doing their own product fulfillment and for bringing their unique character, energy, and DIY spirit to the marketplace. And in exchange, the Makers Market takes a small commission on resulting sales.
If you’re a maker of original products (anything from Arduino shields to blacksmithed jewelry to catapults) or have a service of interest to other makers, we’d love to hear from you. Bonus points if you’re willing to actively engage the community from within your Makers Market storefront.
Send us a note ([email protected]) telling us who you are, what your product or service is, and why you find the Makers Market intriguing. If you have an existing store, that’s perfectly OK. Send us a link. If you don’t, that’s OK, too. Now you will.