1. Super cool project that one of our makers, Jesse Dresbach, just finished for Airbnb. 



  2. YouTube goes old school with Makeably.



  3. Introducing Remixing and Our New Look

    We’re happy to let you know that we’ve rolled out a new design of Makeably to make creating things with makers and artists easier and more enjoyable than ever. Here are the highlights:

    Remix the product to make it really yours


    • Remixing: It’s customizing, commissioning or modifying the things you see and want based on our makers’ options and skills. Each maker creates a set of questions to ask you up-front, so the only conversation you need to have is about the creative fun stuff.
    • Estimates help you to understand how your remixing choices might affect the price. The maker will quote you a final price after they read over your request.


    New profiles help you find the perfect maker or artist


    • More about our makers: You can now get a full view of the maker you’re considering working with. This includes not only reviews, but also the full range of the makers’ skills, and the tools, skills, software and materials they work with. You can also see whether this is a full-time job for the maker and the networks they belong to.



  4. Tips with Swank: New Year’s Revolutions

    Posted by Jen from Swanky Shank


    Change! It’s inevitable (Especially in January!). Us fancy-shop-keepers need to roll with it, embrace it and be all up in it. One thing I’ve learned about owning an online shop is that you must stay fresh if you want to be successful. A year ago my shop was all about mustache’s and beards. Marketing facial hair was new and fresh and customers totally dug it. Fast forward one year later—I’m seeing ‘staches everywhere. They are so common— so mainstream. Which means I need to change up my game. Us fancy Makeably shop owners have to stay a step ahead of corporate stores. Here are three ways to freshen up shop!

    1. Don’t Share. As I mentioned earlier, you need to stay fresh with what you’re selling. A good rule of thumb: if Wal-Mart is selling it, you probably shouldn’t. You want your items to be unique. And not something your potential customer can find just anywhere. A great way to test a new idea is to ‘google it’. How popular is that item? How easily can you find it? And most importantly, can you make this item unique and irresistible?

    2. Don’t Sit Still. Use your free time to try out a new art. I sew for a living, but every free moment I have lately, I draw on chalkboards. I may never draw on chalkboards for a living, but I am keeping my creativity flowing in fresh new ways. You may be surprised at what might pop up in the ol’ noggin during one of these creative-play-time sessions. PS Don’t forget: your brain is a muscle, and it needs exercise too!

    3. Don’t Be Shy. Not sure if your new idea is all that rad? There is no better way than to test the waters! Share a photo of the created item on your social media networks. Email the photo to family and friends—asking for feedback. Good response? Jump in! You never know— this new swank could be your ‘piece de resistance’.

    Have a quick shop question/comment you want to bounce off of me? Shoot me an email, I’d love to hear from you: swankyjen@makeably.com

    Swanky Shank on Makeably

    See Jen’s previous posts:

    The Three Be’s of Compelling Selling

    Getting Professional Photographs (for Free)


  5. Get to Know the Maker: Inauguration Special

    Post by Scott Sigel from Makeably

    In the first of our favorite ongoing series, Get to Know the Maker, we’re joined by our friend Travis Pfeifer. Travis has called both California and New York, home. He’s a Google-man by trade, a painter by love, a comedian (when granted a stage) and an aspiring musician.


    M: Travis, thanks for taking the time to chat! We’ve been sitting here over a coffee but for the readers could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

    T: Well, I’m a fourth-generation Californian. I’m fascinated by people. Donuts are a weakness. Artistically, I’m an odd duck because art and drawing defined me as a child but I first painted at 28. 

    M: Tragically, no donuts in this cafe… why the switch from drawing to painting?

    T: My family was pretty traditional, so very little TV and one soda each week. Once I got to high school, I felt pressure to focus on academics and sports, particularly football which became a big part of my life. I’d be so exhausted from practice that I had no energy for sketching. Life just got in the way. Meanwhile, fast forward a dozen years to living in New York with a new and vibrant group of friends that know nothing about my artistic skills! This was 2008 in SoHo and paintings are sold on the street every block. I love vibrant color, and big canvases so I wanted to reinvent myself. I didn’t have any training but this was the time to experiment and grow. So, I threw myself into technique, experimented with new materials, and do things I couldn’t years ago. Acrylic paint is bold and solid and fits the way I dream. 

    M: What would you say is your favorite painting memory?

    T: There’s one that sticks out right away. For my best friend’s 30th birthday, I made a piece dedicated to his favorite musician. He and his wife arrived at my SoHo (NYC) apartment where they would take a needed vacation - I was leaving for a wedding anyway - and I surprised him with the painting right before I left. He started throwing compliments my way but I had to catch a train and left. Twenty minutes later his wife calls me - she never calls me. She said “Travis, I’ve known my husband since we were 14 years old and I’ve seen him cry twice in my life. As soon as you left he broke down in tears.” I’ve been hooked ever since. 

    M: That’s a really sweet story! Where do you draw your inspiration? Who or what tends to enthuse your creativity?

    T: There’s a range. Mostly people, problems, and the human physique inspires me. Each make me eager to send messages and connect. I appreciate social commentary. I like the idea that I can make a contribution through simple and beautiful images that resonate with people. I think we need commentary and dissent for dialogue. I like stoking the fire a bit.

    M: What’s the best thing you’ve ever done with your talents as a painter? Do you use your powers for good or evil? 

    T: Haha, I’d say mostly for good, but that depends on your point of view! I’m most proud of my Obama pieces. Four years ago I spent three weeks completing over 40 paintings of a simple and colorful profile of Barack Obama. I rented a van and drove 5 hours to DC from downtown Manhattan. I slept for a few hours at a friend’s house then awoke at dawn to get a good spot. Somehow, without restriction, I was able to park only yards away from the Washington Monument while thousands of people poured in to see the inauguration ceremonies. The paintings sold as soon as I could bring them out of the truck. People were posing proudly next to my work, I was interviewed, and several customers asked for additional pieces for their home and offices. The work resonated with people of all types. 


    M: Such a great story. We’re lucky to have those listed on Makeably as well! A perfect fit for inauguration day. So, just for fun, if you could swap artistic abilities for a day, what would you do?

    T: I would switch with Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist for the Black Keys. He captures the way men feel… love, heartache, rage, and sincerity all with a kind of musical soul that few can master.

    M: Awesome pick, I could get involved with that! So before we say farewell, any advice to aspiring painters from the hobbyist to the professional?

    T: Like anything else worth doing, I’d say hard work. There are many people with artistic talent but only a few combine that with an enterprising attitude and a diligent approach.

    M: Great advice. Travis, thanks so much again for joining us for a chat! For everyone else, be sure to check out Travis’s work on Makeably. He’s an awesome guy, a fantastic painter and we can’t wait to see what he does next! 



  6. 5 best pieces of advice for DIY businesses

    Guest Post by Amy Cuevas Schroeder from diybusinessassociation.com

    From pie-in-the-sky to tactical and technical, I’m a sucker for all kinds of inspirational entrepreneurial advice for solopreneurs. Here’s what’s resonated with me lately.

    1. Figure out how to make money and get help.

    I learned a lot from interviewing Laurel Touby (@laureltouby), the founder of Mediabistro, for this blog post: “Laurel Touby’s Advice for Growing a Small Business.” The one-woman powerhouse sold her company for $23 million in 2007 and now works as an adviser for a number of tech startups. Here are two pieces of Laurel’s advice that are critical for DIY businesses growth:

    Raise money. Laurel says women and creative small businesses tend to be charitable and volunteer-spirited—admirable personality traits for sure—but they need to balance their big hearts with financial strategy. They tend not to monetize their ideas to their full capacity nor seek out investment capital, she says. “Unfortunately, they end up being small as a result.”

    The solution? Raise money to grow. Whether you go the crowdfunding route (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc.), a small-business loan from an organization like ACCION or funding from angels or venture capitalists, startup funding will allow you to grow beyond a one-person operation.

    Hire employees. If you design physical products—such as furniture or jewelry—Laurel recommends securing capital in order to get a workshop and workers. “You shouldn’t make every piece by hand,” Touby says. “Oversee a studio that can make your design—in that way, you can go faster than producing one piece at a time.”

    2. Accept that 80% is good enough.

    “Perfection isn’t the key to success. Learn to accept 80 percent as good enough, and don’t sweat the small stuff,” writes Ilya Pozin in this post. The serial entrepreneur and Inc.com columnist says the last 20 percent can take forever, so don’t get hung up on perfection.

    Pozin also recommends keeping tasks focused. “Founders should focus on personally working on tasks that have the biggest impact on growth. Delegate everything else,” he writes. “Stay focused so your company growth isn’t stunted.”

    3. Adapt and evolve.

    If anyone knows how to adapt and thrive in a climate of constant change, it’s Corey Takahashi (@takalabtime). He started his career as a newspaperman in the late 1990s, which led to editing and contributing to various magazines and sites, including Entertainment Weekly, Vibe and  the New York Times.

    Identifying early on that multimedia was the future of journalism, he honed his skills as an audio storyteller and has covered some of the world’s most interesting people for Public Radio International, NPR and London’s Monocle. He now works as an assistant professor at the crossroads of media, technology and new storytelling at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, encouraging students to prepare for how people will communicate five years from now.

    “The ability to adapt to change probably will be the single biggest factor determining the careers of young people entering creative or knowledge-based fields,” Corey says. “That’s because these industries are going to change, then change again, then again—especially as they begin to intersect more with new technology.”


    4. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

    5. Learn by doing.

    Sure, you can learn a ton about business by reading business books or getting an MBA. But you can learn even more by actually running a business. As a women’s studies and journalism major in college, I learned everything I needed to know about operating a magazine by founding one at age 19 and selling the business a decade later.

    I’ve begun the entrepreneurial process all over again with DIY Business Association—this company is a whole different animal, and I learn something new every day. I haven’t cracked the code yet, but I know I’ll eventually get there if I don’t quit.

    “The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company,” writes venture capitalist Ben Horowitz in “What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology.” In the blog post, Ben shows how CEOs don’t necessarily need to know everything there is to know about running a business, but they do need to master the art of not freaking out.

    Subscribe to the DIY Business Association Monthly Newsletter

    Follow Amy & the DIY Business Association

    Original post here


  7. Making Good on Your New Year’s Resolutions: Learn Something New

    A new year is a great opportunity to improve yourself, and what better way than by learning something new? Whether you want to become the next Martha Stewart, or simply learn how to use your presents from Christmas, we’ve got some ways for you to get started.

    Learn How to Bake

    Nothing beats homemade baked goods, and that’s why learning how to bake is a great way to make new friends in the new year. Watching the cooking shows and scouring baking blogs are some easy ways to get started. We love this chocolate chip recipe from Tidy Mom.

    These rock n’ roll cake stands from Pop Life Arts will be a great way to motivate yourself to bake something with equal pizazz.


    Learn How to Use Your New Christmas Presents

    For the less technically-savvy out there, the new year means new phones, laptops, and e-readers that have way too many buttons and not enough instructions. But have no fear! As you read through the manual for your newest i-gadget, take solace in knowing even if you don’t quite understand it, you can still store it in a really cool case. No instruction manual needed.


    Case from Oh! Koey


    Tablet Cover from Teamwear Totes

    Learn How to Sew

    Have you forgotten everything from your 8th grade Home Economics class? There’s no better time than the start of the new year to pick up sewing again! Whether you’re going to start basic with sewing on a button or want to make a full-on outfit, this skill will definitely prove useful throughout the year.


    These cupcake pincushions from Made in Lowell will be a cute way to store your pins and needles in between projects.


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