It's Time to get Comfortable with Your P&L
When you first walk up to Brooklyn Tweed’s headquarters, a couple blocks north of Burnside in inner east Portland, it’s hard to tell what’s on the other side of the door. With distinctly industrial-looking neighbors—a small car dealership, a contractor, and an electronics component distributor among them, with plenty of barbed wire to spare—the airy, light interior of Brooklyn Tweed provides a nice contrast. The expansive floor provided an ideal setting for makers to gather and focus on July’s Maker Meetup topic: finances.
Before we dove into the presentation, though, director Meghan Sinnott had a few announcements: First, NW Documentary is offering a four-part workshop to Portland Made members during the month of August, after which participants will have their own short films to showcase their products. The best part? The class only costs $200, and that fee includes a one-year membership to NW Documentary! Be sure to get in touch if you’re interested.
Next, Sinnott introduced the night’s speakers, Wendy Kotila and Sara Batterby, who together operate EqCo (The Equity Capital Collective), an organization dedicated to inclusion and helping underrepresented makers obtain access to capital. Kotila, the COO (or Chief Make-it-Happen Officer) kicked off the presentation, first addressing the results of a survey she had sent out to makers in advance of the night’s event. One of the questions posed in the survey was about frustrations and fears of makers, and Kotila noted the following common concerns:
Am I doing it right?
How do I avoid mistakes?
It’s going to take me a really long time to figure out how to do it.
Kotila walked us through some very basic financial concepts to assuage our fears. In addition to delving at length into vocabulary including balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements, Kotila advised makers that much of these items could be accomplished through two things: good systems and a strong financial team, including a CPA and a bookkeeper. Overall, Kotila was a calming, knowledgeable speaker, and she was generous enough to offer her entire presentation to those who were trying to write every detail down. You can view the presentation here. We also encourage you to take a look at her Income statement template (P+L), which you are free to use!
Batterby finished up the presentation to talk more specifically about what EqCo does and for whom. The organization’s reach, by the numbers, is astounding: over 30 million dollars raised for organizations that are 65% women-led, 32% minority-led, 29% with a social focus, and 16% LGBTQIA-led.
And they want to help you, too! If you’re interested in their masterclasses, get moving: The next six-week course starts in September.
Afterwards, the owners of Brooklyn Tweed gave everyone interested a quick tour of their workspace and a crash course on wool. Their vibrant colors and varied textures, in addition to their commitment to textile production in the United States, are well worth your attention, as a hobby knitter, a small producer, or more generally, as a consumer.
Next month’s Maker Meetup is The Anatomy of a Campaign: Facebook & Instagram Ads.
Words by Katey Trnka
Photography by Sarah Toor