Maker Pro News: Adam Savage Meets Jack White, Growing a Tote Bag Empire, and More

Craft & Design Internet of Things Robotics Technology
Maker Pro News: Adam Savage Meets Jack White, Growing a Tote Bag Empire, and More

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“While I’m a full-time mom, I’m also all of the jobs that are associated with running a company.” – Shujan Bertrand, founder of àplat

Is Patreon a New Maker Pro Business Model?

Patreon (@Patreon) co-founder Jack Conte (@jackconte) has been making the rounds to promote the growing subscription content service, which is expected to distribute some $157 million to its fleet of creators this year.

Public perception casts Patreon as a way to support indie musicians and podcast personalities with recurring payments that buy access to exclusive content. But we’ve noticed an uptick in a significant new phenomenon: makers are using the platform to send their physical creations out to supporters, almost like a maker pro version of subscription box services like Blue Apron (@blueapron) or Trunk Club (@TrunkClub).

A recent roundup of notable Patreon accounts suggests that the trend has already gained a solid foothold. There’s Hoodied, pictured above, which sends out a “hoodie of the month,” and Make Waves, which sends out monthly boxes of beauty products, as well as Monster Box, Silverbeam Dolls, and more. In recent years, we’ve often focused on the monumental impact on maker pros of crowdfunding markets like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, nevermind artisan marketplaces like Etsy. Now we’re wondering whether the Patreon model could be a new contender.

Questions remain, naturally. Is the model sustainable? Can it scale? Will backers become fatigued with recurring shipments, and will the project creators be able to maintain momentum? Let us know what you think:

Maker Pro Stories: Shujan Bertrand

A terrific new Make: story profiles Shujan Bertrand (@aplatsf), the founder of tote bag outfit àplat. The concept for the elegant bags came to Bertrand after she had assembled a bouquet of wildflowers for a friend’s gallery opening, and the rest is history — as well, of course, as endless hard work and flexibility.

“While I’m a full-time mom, I’m also all of the jobs that are associated with running a company,” Bertrand said. “So everything from CEO and Design Lead to messenger and intern.”

For more coverage of scrappy maker pros, don’t miss our story about how fashion designer Danit Peleg (@danitpeleg3d) created an entire collectionusing home 3D printers.

Zingbox Investment Heats Up IoT Security Space

In the wild west of IoT security, Mountain View security outfit ZingBox (@ZingBoxSecurity) is rapidly making a name for itself. We’ve covered the company’s research previously, and at this year’s DefCon (@defcon) conference, one of the firm’s security researchers showed how hospital IV equipment can be hacked by malicious actors.

Now, we’ve received word that Zingbox has scored a modest $22 million investment from Dell and Triventures (@TriventuresVC), a medtech VC fund — which could suggest that the company plans to double down on its work on medical network security, a natural intersection of hardware protection and life-and-death safety.

Jack White and Adam Savage Take on Vinyl Record-Making

For a deep dive into a classic maker pro industry, check out this video in which MythBusters veteran Adam Savage (@donttrythis) scored a tour of Third Man Records (@thirdmanrecords) with none other than founder and famed musicianJack White (@jackwhite).

White is famous for his dedication to analog tech, and the duo geeked out about the enduring craftsmanship that goes into creating vinyl records at the label’s Detroit facility — both the technical process and the appeal of an immutable medium like vinyl in an era when the internet has made it cheap and easy to correct and update recordings.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

An event this week at Cornell University (@Cornell) highlighted the work of the school’s Hardware Accelerator Program, which supports early stage hardware startups. “The teams are constantly growing and learning about what it takes to build a prototype and become an entrepreneur,” said Entrepreneur-in-Residence Brian Bauer (@bauerbrianted).

Seattle startup Senosis, which uses the sensors in smartphones to monitor health conditions including asthma and cystic fibrosis, has been acquired by Google — another indication that the search giant wants to make inroads in the growing medtech space.

Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft) reports on how Adafruit (@adafruit) will soon integrate CircuitPython (@CircuitPython) firmware into its products, and how the move could benefit makers.

Kraft also wrote this week about how adopting a “contributor covenant” that governs contributor behavior — as Adafruit did with CircuitPython, incidentally — can encourage a more friendly and inclusive developer community.

Indian messaging app Hike (@hikeapp) acquired hardware company Creo (@CREOspeak) this week for an undisclosed sum, prompting speculation about whether (and how) the former player might be interested in entering the hardware market.

And Make: contributor Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchini) published two new features about maker pros in the foodtech space: one about how two picklers are expanding a probiotic startup and another about a “food designer” using vegetable waste to create tasty snacks.

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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison

Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

View more articles by Jon Christian
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