This month’s meetup was hosted by a trio of supporters—Tillamook Station (a fully decked-out creative space in North Portland), WeMake (a local nonprofit dedicated to art and design), and Make & Mary (cannabis-infused lifestyle products for when “you wanna get high and make some stuff”). This event was not only for makers to catch up with others in their community, though: it was also the official relaunch party for Portland Made. Under the guidance of Sarah Toor and Jim Hassert, Portland Made is ramping up support for makers through multiple new initiatives.
After an informal social hour, Hassert laid out the company’s history, present, and future. Portland Made founder Kelley Roy was in the audience and received a shoutout during the presentation, including a quote from the Maker Manifesto she penned in 2012:
We are makers. We work together as a collective. We are hungry for creative expression. We are determined problem solvers. We are makers and this is our time.
Hassert thanked Roy for her vision and for allowing him to step in to help optimize Portland Made, which he and Toor ultimately purchased in August 2017.
Hassert next detailed a two-pronged approach to provide greater support to the maker community. First, Portland Made’s website has been redesigned to attract consumers, sending them directly to makers’ online stores through a simple click on the main page. Second, Portland Made is building an email list of consumers, allowing another point of contact for creators wanting to elevate their profile. This list is being developed through equal parts brain and brawn: the brain includes a new strategic partnership with MadeHere PDX; the brawn means showing up at local craft fairs to collect email addresses from craft enthusiasts in person.
But that’s not all Portland Made is doing to help makers out—next, Hassert, a former aspiring English teacher, described the three C’s: Classes, Client Work, and Consulting. First, starting in July, Portland Made will team up with Ciara Pressler at Pregame to present a series of weekly classes on goal setting, accountability, and other topics pertinent to making it as a maker. Second, Portland Made is ramping up client services, offering agency-style marketing support (such as social media management and email marketing) to fit maker budgets of any size. The final C? Portland Made will start offering consulting services, also on a sliding scale, to deliver expert information to makers efficiently, with tight schedules and budgets in mind.
Before closing, Hassert detailed another set of three C’s—the Cascadia Candle Company, which he and Toor acquired last month. In order to better understand the challenges of makers, the team felt it was best to experience those challenges firsthand. They are now pouring candles in their garage and helping build a direct-to-consumer business model right alongside members of the maker community.
After inviting the audience to watch what will be a crazy adventure on his and Toor’s part, Hassert invited Portland’s own Unipiper—himself a maker and a symbol of the independent spirit the community champions— for a surprise performance.