Three weeks ahead of Portland Made’s September meetup, co-facilitators Rowan Bradley and RaShaunda Brooks met with almost two dozen of our favorite makers to share tips and tricks for harnessing the power of Instagram Stories as a tool to communicate with customers. On September 28, the greater maker community gathered at General Assembly to hear Bradley report out on the workshop.

Bradley handles digital marketing, photography, and social media for Scout Books, and his background in photography led him to help develop Gript, a tripod adapter and hand grip for smartphones. Basically, he has been both marketer and maker, which makes him an incredible resource. 

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Kicking off the evening, one of the owners of General Assembly, Christina Davis, gave us a warm welcome. Davis could barely contain her excitement about having people in the building, noting that wouldn’t have been possible even two hours ahead of the event. Despite the facility not even officially being open, Davis said that all but seven spaces were already claimed, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider what the space offers—an affordable, bikeable space in the city limits.

Bradley began his presentation by asking how many people have started checking Instagram Stories and exited out without scrolling through the photo feed. The number of people who raised their hands proved two things right away: First, Stories could probably function as its own platform; and second, you really should be using it to maximize your reach.

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So, do you need a ton of budget-busting, high-tech gear to start? Bradley pointed out a few key items that might help out (including a smartphone mount), but none of them were too costly or extravagant. He also recommended a few apps, like Spark Camera, a supplemental editing tool.

Also, to maximize the quality of your stories and photos, Bradley suggests using the camera app instead of Instagram when capturing images: Instagram actually grabs stills from video as opposed to higher-res images, which is why those first takes often look a little gritty.

The most important element to consider, he stressed, is the subject matter. Thinking about what kind of content you would want to see will yield more compelling, genuine stories for your target audience. Think of your product as a character, show empathy for your customer, and don’t be too precious about your content.

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dave seldon, 33 books

Bradley finished his presentation with a few examples, both from the workshop earlier in the month, and from other successful brand campaigns, including the below standout from Hipcamp (that sound editing, tho!).

After Bradley took a couple of questions from the audience, the owners of General Assembly invited us on a tour of their new home, and several stayed well past the structured portion of the evening to network with fellow makers and talk with Bradley.

If you’re interested in learning more about Instagram Stories and want to get updates on a future workshop, sign up here.

At the October meetup, we’ll be at DIY Bar, where a panel of wholesale buyers will give us their tips for selling your brand to retailers—don’t miss out!

Written by: Katey Trnka   //   Photography: Sarah Toor


Keep an eye out for more Portland Made events.



Host: General Assembly

Speaker: Rowan Bradley
Sponsor: MadeHere PDX

Double thx to Rowan Bradley RaShaunda Brooks for sharing the how-to’s of IG storytelling in Septembers workshop leading up to this event!

Portland Made Branding

More and more consumers are valuing independently made, locally sourced goods. Let customers know you are Portland Made by branding your website and product packaging.


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Designed for more established businesses who want their products seen and their story told, our Growth Membership offers the greatest online exposure, including products, related content, and links directing consumers back to your website. Showcase your products in our online Shop, include your photo in our Featured Maker Gallery, and add your logo to our Brand Gallery. Your Featured Bio tells your story, has a slider of your brand images, and highlights any related blog posts and products you may have on Share your news, events, and product releases in our blog, newsletter and social media channels.


Our Startup Membership includes a one on one session to check in about your business and get some free feedback to remove obstacles and/or develop your business. It includes your logo in our Brand Gallery, as well as your brand’s Bio Page, where others can see a brief overview of your business, and a link to your website, Etsy shop or Instagram account. Looking to show off your products or for added services? See our Growth Membership, and/or optional add-on services.


It all starts with an idea. This stage of membership is designed for those who have an inkling for what they want to do, but may be hazy on the details. Maybe you want to connect with other makers, or you need product photos or a business consultation to help get you to the next level.

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This monthly, one-of-a kind networking event is FREE for members; $15 for non-members. Crafted to be the most useful hour and half a maker can spend on their business each month, this event aims to: expose makers to new workshops, connect makers with each other, and learn from experts.

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For makers looking for greater exposure, your Featured Brand Bio includes your logo, a slider of images, your brand story, and link back to your website or online shop. As well, this featured page showcases products you have in Portland Made’s online Shop and any related Journal posts you may have on our site.

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