MSS Member Spotlight- Einat Argaman

Today’s MSS Member Spotlight features Einat Argaman, who runs the blog Design Break.

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How would you describe Design Break?

DesignBreak shines a spotlight on emerging designers as well as veteran and/or less well-known designers and brands, and helps them get discovered by the public and by the industry. DesignBreak is constantly inspired by new designers and trends of the scene, and while it has a strong personality of its own, it’s always evolving and growing with the times. In 2009 I started out as a blogger trying spread the word about the impressive design scene in Israel (that’s one of the reasons I decided to write it in English) and that’s how and why it all started. Today the blog is more international (and features designers from around the world (moving to San Francisco helped :) .

Most of the designers (like I once used to be) like doing their own thing, designing from morning to evening in their studio without worrying about anything else. I guess that in a way, I’m helping them spread the word out. Some know what’s needed to be done but there are others who need to be pushed and be encouraged and that’s what I’m here for.

What made you want to start Design Break?

I studied Interaction & Digital Media Design (a long long time ago). At the beginning of my design career I worked as an e-learning designer and then switched to web design. At some point I decided that I needed to explore a different path. I found out that I love to design but not so much designing for someone other than myself. So, after much thought, and being encouraged by my partner, I quit my job and took some time to think about my next step in life.

I used to sit in front of my computer and gaze for hours at so many inspiring design blogs and I was really blown away by all of the variety. I wasn’t thinking about a blog of my own and actually it was my partner who came up with the idea (he knows me better than I do). After giving it some thought, I decided to give it a try. I always wanted to be some sort of an ambassador, so writing about the mad talent in Israel sounded like an obvious choice.

What does an average day look like for you?

You can say that for me design comes first and that is how I choose to live my life. I love being surrounded by white spaces, dashes of colors and lots of amazing designers. Oh and… most importantly, my coffee breaks are crucial for my everyday survival. I guess that being some sort of Instagram junky is also a big part of my daily life. Most days I start by scrolling down my Instagram and Pinterest feeds (actually that’s also how my night ends) while I have a big cup of latte in my hand. After eating a huge bowl of fresh fruits and drinking another cup of latte, I sit in front of my computer and go through my inbox (I must say that being approached by designers that otherwise I wouldn’t have known about, feels pretty special. I’m also lucky enough to establish a close bond with most of the top design schools in Israel and their PR department informs me about what’s going on during the school year). A few times a week, mid day I’ll schedule a couple of meetings with local designers or bloggers. I always make a point to combine it with a gallery or a design shop visit (and a yummy treat on the side). After a few hours away from my computer, I’ll go back home and to sitting in front of my beloved computer. Answer some emails and continue working on future posts and other projects. I love sitting in front of my computer and just sailing away to the unknown and that’s never going to change.

What are some of the tools that you use?

As far for apps and programs, I usually use Photoshop and wordpress as my right hand. I also try and keep up with my ever-floating bloglovin/feedly and Evernote.  Since Instagram came to my life, I began following a few design students and from their feeds I discover a whole new world of talented people. Pinterset and also my FaceBook feed is filled with lots of design related news that I go through each and every day to stay on to of things.

What is your workspace like?

To be honest, it’s still a work in progress.  I always need a bright and white space so my white table and white chair are a must. My iMac (a pretty new and exciting gift from the Mr.) makes everything looks a lot fancier. Other than that, you can find lots of patterned pans, few black and white notebooks (most of them will have a polka dot flare) and ceramic stamps on top of my table. Oh and recently I bought one of Courtney Cerruti’s illustrations and I’m so happy to look at it each and every day.

What type of role does Makeshift Society play in your work?

I moved to San Francisco from Israel about a year ago. I remember learning about Makeshift Society before knowing I would move, I didn’t even imagine ever visiting it in person. BUT the minute I knew that San Francisco is going to be my new home I had a feeling that Makeshift will play a big role in my new adventure. Coming to a new country with no friends or family, I had to find myself a home away from home and assembly a new creative net. And so, at the beginning I visited the clubhouse once a week and began learning the “American way of being” in small inspirational doses. I met some pretty special and inspiring girls that some of them became with time some of my favorite people in the city (hi there, Ashley and Kat!)  A while back I switched to being a supporting member and I can honestly say that the mailing list and the ability to read and be introduced to some of the bay area’s most talented and diverse people makes a big difference in the way I explore the creative side of the city. I learn about upcoming shows and events that I get to explore first hand and then write about or even discover new and exciting creators in so many disciplines. You can say that now it’s more of informative kind of role but it’s much more than that. It makes me feel like there are so many like minded people out there that I still want to get to know and learn about and Makeshift is right there by my side to guide me in the right direction. It must sounds a bit cheesy but that’s how I feel…

 

MSS Member Spotlight- Launch Sessions

Today we are featuring the dynamic duo behind Launch Sessions- Ariana Pritchett and Katrina McHugh.
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How would you describe Launch Sessions?

Launch Sessions is a micro-business support team. Created by a coach and designer duo, we work with creative entrepreneurs and change makers who are looking to start something new or mix up what they’ve already got going. By pairing thoughtful business strategy with quality custom design folks not only build a map to where they want to go, but also have a new identity to help them look good along the way.

What does an average day look like for you?

Both of us work primarily from home, Ariana in Oakland and Katrina in San Francisco, so our days often begin by throwing on a hoodie, grabbing a cup of coffee and parking it at the computer while we go through our work plan over the phone. The rest of the day varies, filled with client meetings, marketing, leads follow up, art direction prep, accounting, and other various projects that get thrown our way. We break up our day by taking our dogs for walks, having networking brunches with other fun creatives, pursuing our own creative projects, and trying to reap the benefits of being self-employed by making those daytime appointments or running errands without the crowds.

What are some of the tools that you use?

We love anything that helps simplify systems and daily tasks. Our business mainly runs on Google Apps but other favorites include: Harvest, Boomerang, Hootsuite and join.me for meetings and screen sharing. The design studio is up in the Adobe Creative Suite all day but getting off of the computer and into the physical world is important too. We can often been seeing getting our hands dirty with sketchbooks, colored markers and giant pads of paper for our meeting notes.

What is your workspace like?

Ariana has a studio in the lower level of her house where she can meet with clients, work in peace, and even rent out on airbnb for some extra income. It is homey with great natural light, but truth be told many days she stays upstairs working from her couch.

Katrina has an art studio in her SF apartment and perches in the top floor bay window behind her giant imac most days. She’s lucky to have plants, light, and little dog to keep her company but the best part is having two separate desks – one for business and one for purely creative endeavors. As a creative working from home it can be hard to switch gears between things like accounting and illustration. The defined spaces for each make a world of difference.

What type of role does Makeshift Society play in your work?

Makeshift has been such a huge player in growing our business. We have received referral clients through members, used their lending library in a pinch, found incredible resources like our photographer and lawyer, as well as utilized their space as a place to meet with clients from SF in person. We love Makeshift and wouldn’t be where we are today with out them!

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MSS Member Spotlight- Kent Hudson

Over the next couple of days/weeks we’ll be rolling out interviews done with MSS members conducted by Samantha Macy.

First up, independent video game developer Kent Hudson.

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How would you describe The Novelist?

The Novelist is a game about the struggle to follow your dreams without pushing away the people you love. It’s about a novelist named Dan Kaplan, his wife Linda, and their son Tommy, but you don’t play as any of them: you play as a spirit inhabiting the house they’ve rented for the summer. You can’t harm the Kaplans, and in fact your job is to stay out of sight so they don’t know you’re there. By doing that, you can explore their different career vs. family struggles and decide what they should do; despite the ghostly premise, the game is focused on real-life dilemmas.

For example, what should Dan do when his agent calls to tell him that he has an important book-signing event on the same day as Linda’s grandmother’s funeral? What about when Tommy’s doctor recommends that his parents tutor him for two hours a day to overcome a mild learning disability, even though their busy schedules make finding that time almost impossible?

Each dilemma has three possible outcomes, each of which is sympathetic to one of the characters, and you as the player have to decide what the family should do. There’s no winning or losing; you simply make the decisions you feel are best and take an active hand in shaping the Kaplans’ story.

The hook is that none of the situations have a right or wrong answer – or, more specifically, as the game designer I don’t specify what the right answer is. Questions about career dreams vs. family life are difficult, and I don’t pretend to know all of the answers. Making this game was in many ways an embodiment of my own struggle with that question, and as a game designer it’s exciting to me that I can make a question game, not a message game.

Since The Novelist doesn’t advocate one specific viewpoint, each player has to bring their own beliefs to the game, and many players have learned about their own values through the choices they’ve made. It may be surprising to hear this about a game, but I get emails from players who were deeply affected by The Novelist and were often moved to tears by what they learned about themselves. It’s really humbling to hear that the game is having that kind of impact for people.

What does an average day look like for you?

With independent game development there isn’t really an average day! Some days I focus solely on PR work and interviews, and on other days I focus on business and industry stuff, but on most days I just work on the game.

Though when you’re focusing a personal project, even working on the game brings something different every day. One day I might be writing character dialogue, the next day I could be tracking down a weird bug that only happens on one person’s computer, and the day after that I might be trying to get the game’s UI to line up a certain way.

I spent over a decade as a member of huge teams in the AAA industry, which means that I had a specialized skill set and was focused on specific areas of the games I worked on, so the switch to independent development was a huge eye-opener. I had to learn how to do tons of things that I’d never done before – audio, music, UI, writing, managing contractors, recording VO, etc. – while also running the business and publicity side, things which were also completely new to me.

So about the only thing I can say about an average day is that I’m working really hard on something, and it’s probably something I’ve never done before.

What are some of the tools that you use?

The main tool I use is a game engine called Unity. It’s become very popular with independent developers because it’s a low-cost alternative to traditional game engines, and it’s also very flexible in terms of the kinds of games you can make. I also use a variety of software that isn’t game-specific, like Scrivener and Evernote. I actually did a write-up of all my tools for a blog post last year, so if you want the full breakdown you can check it out here.

What is your work space like?

I have a pretty simple setup at home, just a desk with an external monitor for my laptop. Since I work on a computer each day I don’t have many requirements beyond a power outlet, which makes it easy to switch back and forth between home and Makeshift. At home I have a bigger screen, so some types of game work are a bit smoother, but it’s easy to bring my laptop to Makeshift a few days a week. I just grab an open spot (usually at one of the big tables by the front window), get to work, and take advantage of the easy access to great coffee in the neighborhood.

What makes video games important?

Wow, that’s a big question! I’m stealing a bit from my answer to the next question, but I think that games are important because they’ve opened up new ways for the audience to experience interesting worlds and interact with fascinating people. You can watch a great story in a movie or read about memorable characters in a book, but in a game you can be one of those characters. You can explore a fully-realized world at your own pace, in your own way.

That isn’t to say that games can or should replace other mediums; each art form has its own magical qualities and unique strengths. But the ability to create your own experience, to immerse yourself in an amazing setting, to make meaningful decisions that shape not only the story, but the world itself? That’s a wondrous thing, and game designers are still in the early stages of exploring the full possibilities of the medium.

How does a video game offer different storytelling potential than other mediums?
In a word: interactivity. Games are the only major medium where the audience can take an active role in shaping the story, and that’s the central focus of The Novelist. Many games sadly don’t allow the player to affect the story, which has always struck me as a missed opportunity, so when I got a chance to develop a game of my own I knew that I really wanted to tap into what was unique about our medium.

The possibilities are incredible when you embrace the fact that the audience can play a key role in the work itself and make it their own, especially now that games are finally taking on more mature, relatable subject matter. There’s nothing wrong with zombies or robots – there are books, movies, plays, and TV shows about those subjects, too – but for a long time games didn’t do much to move outside of that kind of genre work. The indie game movement has really changed that in the last 5 years, and I’m incredibly excited to see where the marriage of personal subject matter and an interactive medium can take us.

What type of role does Makeshift Society play in your work?

The main thing Makeshift does is keep me from losing my mind. For the first year of independent game development I worked out of my apartment. I’m married, so I’d of course see my wife every day and see my friends out and about, but sitting in a home office working without human contact day after day really started taking a toll on me. I started keeping open lines of communication with my friends via IM and video calls, but it was no replacement for actual human contact.

So I started looking for coworking spaces in order to get out of the house and be around other people three days a week, and I was immediately drawn to Makeshift because it was one of the few coworking spaces I found in San Francisco that wasn’t knee-deep in tech startup culture. I may work on a computer all day, but I don’t want to be surrounded by tech heads chasing venture capital deals. I really dug the DIY vibe of Makeshift and the super-diverse set of professions you learn about there.

Makeshift is my excuse to get out in this amazing city, be around people from completely different industries, and add a little structure (but not too much!) to my life as an independent developer.

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Member Mentions

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Oh, hello Spring! You crept upon us fast. With this new season comes many new projects, conferences, and all around busyness. Our members have been tinkering, making, and doing so we wanted to drop in and see just what they are up to for our Member Mentions.

Illustrator, artist, and member Arin Fishkin has made a series of fun, cheerful, and beautiful illustrations of San Francisco. The illustrations are of  favorite famous and some not so famous city icons that Arin pays tribute to. They are graphic and bold with a vintage feel. She uses custom patterns for accents for the landmarks like the big fog in her Sutro Tower illustration or the floral pattern on the 49 mile Scenic Drive sign. Her vibrant prints caught the eye of  Taxi and they did a nice write up featuring some of her SF icon prints.

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Karrie Myers Taylor was interviewed recently on Regain Focus. Karrie owns of Videokard, a video production and marketing crew,  who essential creat “movie trailers” for business (what a neat concept!) She spoke with Regain Focus on her business, clients, and being a small business owners. She also provided insightful advice for small business owners just starting out. Head on over to Regain Focus for her full interview!

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Heidi design studio GOLD has had some recent exciting mentions and award-winnings. GOLD is a two women design studio inspired by systems in nature, narrative of places and people, history and its ephemera, and the sciences and humanities. GOLDToday is the blog show casing the design duos bi-costal creativity. Their previous work was hands on, is now done via corresponding over the internet. Each day they are given a prompted to create some work. “It has something to do with that day and sharing something with each other beyond our digital back and forth and to flex their making methods and process.”

Their poster for the CCA 2013 MFA show won a typography award from Communication Arts. You can see the full poster here on Heidi’s site link to the poster/exhibition hereThey are also are currently the featured studio on HOW Design’s Designer’s Spotlight.

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Member Peggie Lee is a jewelry designer. Her pieces are described as simple, but sophisticated, “deceptively simple, featuring artisan craftsmanship mixed with contemporary approaches to contrast, color, texture and composition,” and have been garnering attention in television and in movies! Peggies jewelry has been spotted recently on shows like as The Vampire Diaries & Scandal. Her pieces were also spied in the most recent issues of Sports Illustrated. We will be looking for more appearances of your jewelry on the small screen, big screen, and beyond, Peggie!

We are excited for all of the Makeshifter’s and what they have been up to! Remember, if you are a member, please share with us all the fun and noteworthy ventures.

 

 

Residency Recap

From David Anderson, our Quarter 1 Part time resident:

When I found the Makeshift Society website and its residency program, I was considering many options for where to incubate my next tech startup through its earliest days. With the profusion of technology-focused coworking spaces in the Bay Area lately, it seemed like one of these bastions of fast-moving entrepreneurial drive and energy would be the obvious choice.

But Makeshift offered a different path. Here, creative energy is driven by far more than the technological curiosity or simple desire to get to a million users ASAP which pervades the Bay Area tech community’s mindset. In Makeshift, I saw an opportunity to let a more mindful, nurturing energy infuse the formative months of Trust Labs‘ existence. After all, the creatives that a space like Makeshift serves are exactly the pioneers who are focusing on creating deeper value above and beyond the dollar economy, which also happens to be our primary focus at Trust Labs, via our experiments with community-based digital currencies.

And what a few months it’s been. I started the year working part-time out of Makeshift, with little more than lots of research and a plan to build a prototype web app for early users, likely in the Bay Area. Within weeks, a coder friend had agreed to do the hard technology work for our prototype, and we had been offered the first $5k necessary to fund building it — by The Mill, a partnership between the Work In Progress coworking space in downtown Las Vegas and Vegas Tech Fund. Although I’d long-considered launching mCred, our first experiment around redefining social capital, in Las Vegas (“if it’ll work there, it’ll work anywhere”), the Bay Area always seemed like the default choice. However, the Mill’s validation was enough to commit to soft-launching in Vegas first.

In recent weeks, we’ve taken our earliest version of an app with virtually no features beyond the ability to send and request time-based currency among members, and just a few friends local to Vegas using it, and continually improved both features and interface based on the experiences of our earliest users. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Currently, we’re up over 40 members locally, and are focused on solidifying our ability to both grow more quickly in an individual community like Vegas, and launch new instances, starting with the Bay Area. Although lately I’ve been distracted by the pressing need to raise more than five thousand dollars to fund Trust Labs’ continuing operations (wink), preparations are nevertheless underway to bring mCred to new cities! As we activate new local currencies based on trust, we build a basis for the reinvention of our economy’s broken notion of personal credit (more info here).

It will be a long road, but an important mission; my deepest appreciation to Rena, Christina, Ashley and everyone at Makeshift Society for your help in making this journey possible.

 

Building The Brand with Materials + Process

btb-mp For our second Building the Brand series talks, we have local company MATERIALS + PROCESS. The talk will take place on March 20th at Makeshift Society in San Francisco. MATERIALS + PROCESS is a design studio based in San Francisco founded by Christine Marcelino at the end of 2011.  What started as a platform to explore personal interests as a designer became a business through which she can share her designs with the world. At Materials + Process, we find inspiration in the elemental beauty of materials and the processes that transform their sentiment. We coax the grace and elegance of materials through craft and thoughtful deliberation, carefully honing the design of each of our products until the honest simplicity of purpose reveals itself. Our intention is to create enduring products that intimately reflect individuality and creativity, while keeping pace with a modern lifestyle. Their mission is to design and craft thoughtful, enduring products for the modern nomad and frontiersman. By recognizing essential functionality and using authentic materials, they naturally build longevity into our products. Through their work they cultivate and inspire thought through their artisanship. That philosophy is manifested in MATERIAL + PROCESS’s inaugural line of carryalls, totes, and cases. This line is crafted with vegetable-dyed leather that, with age, gets embedded with the lingering markings of your personal memories and adventures. Their designs invite you to evolve the look, feel and functionality of your product as you engage with it over time. With starting any company, there are unforeseeable challenges, especially when creating a physical product and manufacturing it. With our Building the Brand series, we look to bring you an inside peak of how brands break through the barriers they encounter and creative problem solving they tackle along the way. We asked Christine what she found to be the most challenging thing about creating their own physical products: “The most challenging aspect of starting a business is really staying focused and balanced. The design part comes easy but to build a sustainable business it takes more than just designing and making all day. I have a vision of where I want my business to be and its staying true to that vision and staying focused on the tasks that will take me there. Sometimes its the mundane stuff that keeps me at the computer all the day, it’s the meetings that take me away from making, its taking the time to fix what needs to be fixed, etc. And its all that plus balancing the time to be creative and have a life. With manufacturing, its been a challenge finding small run local domestic manufacturers that have exceptional craft and work with the materials I work with. As a small business, with limited resources its also a challenge to find the right manufacturing model for each product. It takes a lot of relationship building and learning on both ends.” mp   Christine Marcelino is a San Francisco based industrial designer. Originally from Chicago, she moved to SF for the mountains, the ocean, and the food, of course. She studied Industrial Design and Art History at University of Illinois in Champaign and in Newcastle, England at Northumbria University. During that time her interest centered on materials for innovation and sustainable practices.  Christine Marcelino has worked as a product designer in companies such as Smart Design, Pottery Barn, Marmot and Camelbak, and with product startups such as  Alite Designs and Boreas Gear. Join us this Thursday March 20th, 2014 for the Building the Brand talk at the clubhouse in Hayes Valley! Tickets can be found here!

Portrait Photography 101 Class Recap

A few Saturday’s ago, we held “Portrait Photography 101″ for those interested in learning how to take better portraits of people. The class was led by  Sarah Deragon and Jesse Friedin who both specialize in natural light portrait photography.

Makeshift member Antony Courtney attended the workshop and here’s what he had to say:

I took the workshop because I enjoy photography and really wanted to learn more about both the technical and artistic side of taking photos that really capture the essence of people.  The workshop delivered on both fronts, and the instructors, Jesse and Sarah, were fantastic teachers and guides.  We learned a reasonable but not overwhelming amount about what matters most in manual settings, how to look for and set up a shot making the most of natural light, and how reflectors can be used to amplify natural light (particularly useful in cloudy San Francisco…). The workshop also covered developing rapport and interacting with subjects to get the best, most natural photos of them and avoid “the cheese factor”.  We got to solidify all of this with a half hour practical session:  we broke in to groups of 3, wandered through the colorful alleyways of Hayes Valley, and all took turns as “subject”, “photographer” and “assistant”, a process that was both informative and often amusing.  The attendees had a wide variety of experience levels, from rank amateur (me) to a few professional photographers and everything in between. I’ve really enjoyed browsing through everyone’s photos after the workshop.  Since we were all shooting basically the same subjects (each other) against many of the same backgrounds the variety of different results is fascinating, and I’ve found it helpful and informative to reflect on which of the various shots I like most and why.

And some lovely images courtesy of participants Megan, Antony, Sarah, and Cristal.

 

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Antony Courtney                                                                         Sarah Deragon

 

 

 

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Cristal Veronica                                                                        Megan Alderson

 

 

 

 

Member Mentions

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It’s a new year (almost March!) so that means everyone is back to work and hitting the ground running. Makeshift members have been busy bees lately and are up to new, fun, and exciting endeavors!

Kelli Ronci just launched an online shop for CORDA, a new line of textile jewelry and home decor. She also does wholesale and currently has her products available at Summer House in Mill Valley, Ellington and French in Berkeley and Maude in Petaluma. She is also looking to sell in other spots in the Bay Area and is open to any recommendations of places that are a good fit for her items!

Our member Christopher of T-we Tea is having a Grand Opening Party for their new store. They have grown by leaps and bounds! They needed room to expand so they have moved into a larger space in the Crocker Galleria and will now be able to sell tea by the cup at the new location. This Thursday evening they are hosting a Tea Kiki. There will be tea cocktails with their tea’s and they encourage dressing up as one of their tea flavor persona’s (Cuddle Bug, Grumpy Dinosaur, Scandalous ManFriend to name a few!)

Our previous resident, Stephen Kennedy, recently did a TEDx talk in Bangladesh. He spoke on creating the first bus map of Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city with millions of bus riders each day. They had had no previous maps to help them in figuring out the buses routes. He spoke along side Albert King who was a former researcher in sustainable transport at MIT and worked on Google Maps. Stephen is currently working on a clothing company called New Market Goods which he started in his residency. NMG focuses on men’s wear that is ethically sourced from worker’s in Bangladesh.

Member Shannon Kay is collaborating with Makeshift Member Kira Mead of 49 Doors and also with Laurie Furber to present HUE: an interactive color theory workshop that helps homeowners and design enthusiasts choose unique and personal color palettes for their homes. The first workshop is offered on March 1st at Climb Real Estate with Kira. On March 7th & 8th, Shannon will be at the new ElsieGreen’s location sharing tips and guidance with Laurie.

 

 

Jamie Lau Designs Pop-Up Shop Opening Party

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New York-based fashion designer Jamie Lau Designs is setting up shop at Makeshift Society for the month of March. Shop her new collection of dresses featuring textile designs and prints inspired by the natural environment, travel, and art. Jamie’s designs include a mix of fit and flare dresses featuring volume with color, minimal cuts (shifts, sheaths, and A-line silhouettes), pleated shorts, and her classic styles cut and sewn from Japanese fabrics!

Jamie Lau Designs’ month-long pop-up kicks off with an opening night party on Friday, February 28th from 5-7 PM. Meet the designer and enjoy some sweet treats and drinks while you get your shop on. For one night only, customers will receive a special 20% discount if you come in wearing a Jamie Lau Designs dress.

The pop up shop will be open for the month of March, Monday-Friday from 9-6.

please RSVP to jamielaudesigns@gmail.com

Building The Brand with Endswell

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We are starting off the New Year with a new speaker series entitled Building the Brand. It will encompass the fields of design and production exploring where the physical meets digital. It is a bimonthly event series where you can gain advice from creative professionals (designers, photographers and architects) who have created a physical product line with a Q&A style panel with them following the talk.

First up are Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming, the designers behind Endswell and Yield Design Co. Endswell is best described as the modern day heirloom. At Endswell they cast solid gold rings from 3-dimensional prints and hand-finishing them to perfection. They believe in creating pieces of value, imbued with meaning, that stand the test of time. They create rings that embody their own beliefs in the importance of good design and responsible sustainable production while respecting the past, yielding to the present and looking forward to the future.

Endswell is the creatives sister company to Yield Design Co. Yield is a San Francisco based design house creating products that pair progressive design with traditional craft. Yield goods are designed to encourage a vibrant lifestyle and to facilitate the better parts of life. Founded by Rachel and Andrew in late 2012, they have crafted numerous collections with a wide material vocabulary, all unified by a distinctive and refined sense of play.

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As for Endswell, Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming found their inspiration for their new venture after designing the ‘Infinity’ pair of wedding bands for their close friends. In 2013 they began creating the line of rings that would become Endswell, consisting of rings designed for everyday as well as a “Commitment” collection of non-traditional wedding bands. Each design is a physical translation of a concept or feeling; the Infinity series reveals continuous surfaces and mobius strips to represent the concept of endlessness and the Align series shows a motion in which two pieces meet to become one. Each piece is a delicate balance of rich meaning and minimalist form.

With starting any company, there are unforeseeable challenges, especially when creating a physical product and manufacturing it. With our Building the Brand series, we look to bring you an inside peak of how brands break through the barriers they encounter and creative problem solving they tackle along the way. As a preview of what they will be discussing, we asked Andrew and Rachel what they found to be the most challenging thing about creating their own physical products:

“What we’ve found to be the most challenging is everything outside of the design of the products themselves–designing them has been the fun and easy part. It’s the operational challenges, figuring out the infrastructure that supports the ordering, manufacturing and fulfillment of our goods where we’ve encountered the most difficulty. It’s something we’ve had to learn on the fly, just by making mistakes and correcting. When we created Endswell, we tried to put a lot of what we learned from Yield into practice. We greatly simplified our supply chain and created a model where we didn’t need to go out of pocket to stock a large inventory before we could sell to customers.”

Join us for our founding Building the Brand talk this month at the clubhouse on January 27th to hear more on Endswell, Yield, and this dynamic duo!

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Rachel Gant

Rachel earned her Bachelors in Industrial Design following a period of Architecture studies at Cal Poly. Her experience has ranged from a brief stint at the firm of architect Cass Calder Smith, to designing custom products for the playful photo store Photojojo. Rachel’s way of thinking is a bit unexpected, leading to unique pairings of ideas.

Andrew Deming

Andrew is a designer and strategist with a degree in graphic design and an MBA in Design Strategy from CCA. He is also cofounder of the city based experience sharing service Mosey. Prior to starting Yield, Andrew worked Yves Béhar at fuseproject where he took part in designing award-winning projects for clients such as Herman Miller, GE, and Sodastream Source.

Meet our 1st quarter residents

it’s a new year, a new quarter even, and we are pleased to introduce our new residents!

our part time resident is David Anderson

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“Hi, I’m David.

I can be loud, but mostly I live a quietly reflective existence. I share more (resources, thoughts) than I probably should. I love digging to the heart of any issue, eschewing binary characterizations, & inserting myself into difficult situations of any kind. Ultimate frisbee is both my primary social fun & exercise. My nickname on (& off) the field is Pug, so feel free to call me that.

For work, I do tech entrepreneurship, as applied to positive change, first in the blogging world, and now in the crowdfunding world. I started & kinda sold, re-acquired, re-sold GreenOptions (2006-2009), started & sold Important Media (2010-2013), am an alumnus of Virgance (2008-09) & early operations at One Block Off The Grid (2009-10). In 2012, I fundraised on Kickstarter for a short, interview-based documentary about the hot springs my family has tried to protect, and shipped it. I helped make multiple prototypes for a crowdfunding platform focused on socially-valuable, long-term projects, called openfire, with its first successful public test runs at SXSW2013. Starting at StartupWeekend Vegas #6, I helped turn that code into a crowdfunding platform for touring musicians, which ended up as TourAlong. Although I consulted for a while on crowdfunding campaigns and related initiatives, I’m currently entirely focused on inspiring people to think of money differently, via my new startup, Trust Labs.

cheers!”

 

our full time resident is Holley Murchison

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Holley Murchison is a social entrepreneur and rhetoric coach using education, food and music as conduits for change. Since 2011, she’s managed operations as founding partner of The Hall Pass Tour; a nationwide concert and events company designed to get underserved youth excited about leveraging higher learning to pursue their dreams.

A native of NYC, her work is centered around creating innovative, sustainable solutions to advance education, help the world communicate better and take (big and small) leaps toward championing and executing their ideas.

 

Thank you David & Holley! We look forward to seeing the process and collaborations that result from your residency!

Makeshift Brooklyn Meet-and-Greet

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It is 2014 which means that Makeshift BK now is looming closer on the horizon!

We are so looking forward to meeting all of you! Because we can not wait until we open our doors in a few months, we will be hosting a meet-and-greet on Thursday, January 30th from 3pm-8pm in NYC. You will have an opportunity to meet the Makeshift crew, fellow friends, and future members. We will be setting up shop for those 5 hours across the street from Makeshift BK’s future location at 66 Hope Cafe in Brooklyn.

We will be ready to answer any questions you may have, lead tours on the hour of the clubhouse that is currently under construction, as well as be accepting sign ups for membership. A membership deposit will guarantee your spot, plus there are no monthly dues until the space is open. Let’s hang!

For more information on the  clubhouse progress follow along with our behind-the-scenes series detailing the entire build-out of Makeshift BK.

Class preview: Surviving Career Change

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 Image from Flickr, courtesy of avrene 

Do what you love.

If you’re consistently unhappy at a job that isn’t making good use of your talents and strengths, it’s time to make a change. Life is short.

As Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Perhaps only a small change is needed to make you come alive. If switching to a different role at your current company does the trick, you’re lucky. But sometimes, a larger leap is called for.

If you’re contemplating changing companies or careers, or if you want to become your own boss, be prepared.

It’s always more challenging than you would expect.

When you’ve been at a job for a while, you know how things operate. It’s predictable. You can often take care of your responsibilities relatively easily while having the security of a steady paycheck.

But when you leap into a career change, either by necessity or because you decide to give up “good enough” for your dream, predictability goes out the window.

As Murphy’s law so optimistically states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Nothing goes as planned. Your brilliant career move or business plan doesn’t map to reality. You keep getting rejected. And you’re feeling more and more frustrated, lost, fearful, and out of control.

Overnight success is a myth.

Many of us have absorbed the cultural myth that switching careers should be fast and easy.

We hear stories of billionaire rappers who have reinvented themselves and think that change actually works that way.

It doesn’t. For anyone. If you look closely at any example of “overnight success,” you’ll discover chapter upon chapter of unglamorous effort leading up to the finale of glory and fame.

The problem is, we know what the final destination looks like, but we have very little knowledge about the journey itself.

We need a better understanding of the process of change.

While nobody can predict the exact sequence of events that will happen when you change careers, the process of change is actually quite predictable.

My favorite model of change, developed by Martha Beck, maps out four stages or “squares” of change, and what to do and not to do in the particular stage we’re in.

The final square, called “The Promised Land,” is where you want to end up. Once you’ve reached Square Four, your new career or business is running smoothly, you’re doing creative work that you love, making plenty of money, and have time left over for travel, hobbies, long trips to Italy with your sweetheart, or whatever your heart desires.

But to get there, you have to travel through squares one, two, and three, which are far less sexy.

Square One is called “Death and Rebirth.” It consists of a lot of grieving, confusion, and turmoil. We’re thrown into Square One whenever we initiate a major life change, such as getting laid off or quitting a job.

Square One, uncomfortable as it sounds, is a useful and necessary step in the change process.

If you don’t realize this and think that being in Square One is a big mistake, you’ll be tempted to jump right back into the frying pan of the job you hated, or try to skip ahead to a more fun square. But that would only cause more difficulty.

Come learn more and get some support!

I’ve just given you a taste of this model. Would you like to learn more about this model of change and how it can help you navigate your career change?

Then join me on the evening of January 16th at Makeshift Society for a workshop on Surviving Career Change. Learn more and RSVP here.

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Online Store

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Cats as coworkers. Photo by Kate Koeppel.

By popular demand, we are making available some of the rewards created for last year’s Kickstarter campaign. We’ve set up an online store over at Square Market. You can purchase a Makeshift-themed kerchief, replete with donuts, by Stewart Scott-Curran, or a silkscreened poster of tools to make shift happen by Kate Bingaman-Burt, or a sturdy silkscreened tote illustrated by Lisa Congdon. Get ‘em while they last!

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With 2014 just days away, we have been spending time reflecting on the current state of Makeshift and thinking about what makes us unique. We’re lucky to have a community that is strong and growing, and at the same time comprised of members who themselves have a wide reach. Here’s where we’re at:

Hundreds of members in San Francisco

9,000+ combined Twitter followers among the official Makeshift and founders’ accounts

760,000+ combined Twitter followers among all of our members

As a community with online and offline aspects, Makeshift is unique in this sense. Our clubhouses in SF and Brooklyn (soon!) carve out room for people to meet, work together, and experiment. Our larger online following means that we’re able to extend the Makeshift spirit to places where we don’t have a clubhouse yet, and to be influenced by these wider conversations as well.

Makeshift is stronger than its impressive numbers alone; our community is also enthusiastic and supportive. This means a lot when you’re working as much as we’ve been these past weeks. We’re doing our best to ensure that Makeshift is more than tiny real estate.

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As the Kickstarter rewards make their way into the world backers have been sending images of their items in the wild, like this one from Georgia and Alan.

So many things are going on, people. That’s what we’ve been up to: so. many. things. For instance, we spent half an hour online with a turing test, yielding such poetic nonsense as this:

Verizon FiOS is the latest in fiber-optic technology. It delivers laser-generated pulses of light, riding on hair thin strands of glass fiber, all the way to your front door. When FiOS meets your computer, you can get broadband Internet at blazing-fast speed.

And much more than half an hour at the construction site, anxiously watching things fall into place. We’re still in the boring-but-necessary phase, working on things like heating and cooling. Still, what was on the ground last time is now hanging from the ceiling. Progress.

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During the holiday I’ve been in California which has allowed Rena and I to meet in person and work through things over breakfast. Today’s list was “furniture, website, welcome kits, and January event.” On that last one: we will be accepting pre-sales for memberships from late January onwards. If you want to be among the first to know, sign up here.

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We’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Heartwork, who are going to be supplying some of the furniture for Brooklyn (as they did for SF). A new color they have been developing happens to match our palette quite nicely:

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Our neighbor Frankie opened his cafe recently, 66 Hope Cafe. Williamsburg has no shortage of cafes but 66 Hope has (at least!) one thing that the others do not: it’s literally across the street from us, which is great because it means we’re not alone, and there’s a nice place to hop over to if you need something a little different. They have nice plants.

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Allen Tan captured the same spirit in a different context: “Institution-making is a messy process, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.” That’s a notion worth starting the new year with.

Makeshift Brooklyn Week 012

Week 012 felt like this:

We’re the ribbon of magnetic tape feeling the dual forces of big picture strategic issues on one hand and minute details on the other. So in other words, we’re like every other small business. I’m not telling you which fan represents which side.

This week was door locks and security, pricing, reciprocal use policies, paint colors, brand and positioning, alliances, Ruby on Rails, construction planning, special inspectors, TR-8s (not to be confused with T-8s), and choosing your battles.

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This is soon to be a kitchen and, in the distance, a second bathroom.

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Grinding down some exposed metal so it’s not a safety hazard.

The most important part of the week was meeting with our general contractor, Gabe, to review all of the drawings and make sure we have a mutual understanding of the scope of work.

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Welcome to the team, Gabe!

The most surprising part of the week was a late-friday phone call that could have ended in lawyers but didn’t – not yet anyways. Point one for pragmatism and civility.

I enjoyed a coffee with Ryan Jacoby of Machine, a group that helps small companies think bigger and big companies act smaller. If we’re lucky, Machine and Makeshift will find a way to collaborate in the new year.

Friend-of-Makeshift Chiara Camponeschi released volume two of her book Enabling City which you can download from the book site (v1, v2). Both books focus on the way that new potential is being squeezed out of democracies the world over and are filled with examples of clever, hopeful, provocative projects. From the introduction to volume two this Italo Calvino quote from Invisible Cities is relevant to us as we think about Makeshift’s role in the cities that it is part of: “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” It’s a reminder that we must be an answer, maybe even a wonderful answer, but never just a wonder.

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This post started with art and it’s join to end with it. Recently the New Museum announced that they too are entering the workspace game and will be opening an “incubator.” Welcome, New Museum. Let’s get drinks.

Member Mentions

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Kate Koeppel of Skill Exchange fame just launched an online shop. Her first product is a collection of laser cut wood record dividers. Everything from the letterpress packaging, screen printed boxes, and product is designed and produced in SF. If you find yourself scouring record stores in your spare time and your collection is growing out of control, these alphabetical dividers will be able to help you find your Joy Division or Roxy Music albums in a jiffy. This would also make a great gift for the holidays for the vinyl hoarder in your life! Kate was recently interviewed by Design Feast where discussed further details on Skill Exchange and her new wood record dividers.

Risa Culbertson, of the two year old stationary line Papa Llama, recently moved her letterpress machines into a new space at the Heath Ceramics building on 18th and Alabama. She will be having a launch party in the new studio to celebrate this Thursday December 5th from 6pm-9pm. I recently visited her in her new space with her studio mate The Aesthetic Union, who also did the packaging for Kate Koeppel’s record divider packaging and boxes. It is a lovely space and I was able to see all of their machines up close and personal, even a big ol’ letterpress machine from the 1800′s!

Member Ali Price of Lydali was named a finalist in the Ethical Fashions Source Awards. The Source awards put the spotlight on best practices in the fashion industry, from field to final product. Lydali were selected for the Retail Award for Independent Boutique/Sustainable Brand Platform category. The winners will be chosen at the reception at the House of Lords in London, UK this month. We are rooting for you, Lydali!

 

 

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I never thought that heating and cooling equipment could be so exciting but this week marked the beginning of construction at Makeshift BK, and seeing the equipment being installed was a significant milestone for us. This is part of the landlord’s work, which includes the boring-but-necessary details like air conditioning. The images will get more enticing when we take over and begin building out the new kitchen, conferences rooms, and everything else.

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To make all of that possible, we need architectural plans (done) and a general contractor. Last week we concluded the bidding process and selected a contractor. Another milestone passed. We’ll begin working with them next week to calibrate the budget and timeline for the construction work.

Among the weaknesses that our team suffer from, furniture is somewhere high on the list, so it has been a struggle to stay focused and on budget. Since returning from Japan (which was awesome) I have been spending a lot of time on furniture: hunting for it, pricing it out, talking to potential sponsors, and filling up spreadsheets detailing all of the above.

FLOR is the first relationship that we can talk about. They’ve contributed a couple rugs which we’ll be making creative use of. Their modular system is great for us because it means we can remix and adapt as desired.

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A couple of my meetings with other potential collaborators were on-site and it’s still fun to watch peoples’ eyes go wide when they enter our ground floor space. Hopefully some of the conversations mature and in a couple weeks we can share more about the groups who will be joining FLOR as a sponsor and collaborator of Makeshift Society.

Other ongoing activities include Kickstarter reward production fulfillment, a refresh of the website, and assorted non-construction needs in Brooklyn such as bandwidth, phone lines, and access control. This involves meetings with coffee and a lot of paper, including a couple weeks ago with Hardhat:

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Today we learned an important lesson: do not try to research and shop for security systems on the day after Thanksgiving. No one is answering their phones. Luckily there’s no shortage of things to look after.

Member Mentions

For this week’s Member Mention, we are featuring a photographer, quarterly magazine, and online courses for crafting this holiday season!

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Janette Crawford, Genevieve Brazelton, Tiffanie Turner and Lisa Solomon were featured in studio for creativeLIVE for courses on Holiday Crafts and Cocktails. Oh, and let’s not forget, Rena made an appearance on set, too! The classes featured were High-Fashion HeaddressesHomemade Liquor Infusions and Cocktail BittersWoodland Egg Holiday Ornaments, and Crocheted & Embroidered Snowflakes. Although they have already taught their classes, creativeLIVE offers the courses digitally to be viewed on your own time and the ability to rewind to see just how much vodka you were SUPPOSED to use for the limoncello!  All four classes are perfectly packaged together for ease of not having to choose just one!
 

Emily Nathan of  Tiny Atlas has a Kickstarter to fund the next edition (both online and digitally.) Tiny Atlas Quarterly, a magazine that “features travel in a fresh, immersive and personal way,” There are just 5 days left to help TAQ to reach their goal (we know just how exciting and nerve racking these last few days can be!) Emily was selected as a contestant for Resource Magazine’s photographer of the week last week and won! Congratulations Emily and Tiny Atalas.

 
Robert Birnbach has been a photographer for over 20 years. He has passed on some of his insider knowledge with photography classes at the clubhouse. Most recently, he was able to capture a very special once-in-a-life-time night at Foreign Cinema. Rather than serving their normal fantastic fare, Foreign Cinema turned over the cooking reins for the evening to the chefs of Stars for a tribute diner to honor chef Jeremiah Tower. For one night, the whole restaurant turned into the long time favorite Stars that has been closed for over a decade. Robert was lucky enough to be one of the few photographers to capture this special evening (and to sample the dishes!)
 

We love to see all of our Makeshifter’s accomplishments as they make with their heads and think with their hands. If you are a member, be sure to let us know of your note-worthy news, new products, and exciting adventures and you maybe mentioned in the next Member Mentions!
Images by creativeLIVE/Fiona Conrad for Tiny Atlas Quarterly/Robert Birnbach

final week of November pop up shop

it’s the final week of our November pop up shop! this month we were lucky  to have 2 MSS members share their amazing wares with us.

if you’ve had your eye on the vintage mesh jewelry by Maral Rapp, beauty products by Fox&Doll, jewelry and vintage barware by Shana Astrachan, this is your last chance to snag something for yourself or for gift giving.

we’re open this week 9-6 Monday- Wednesday.

 

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Class Preview: DSLR Video Workshop

from Sara Washington…

One of the most important rules about filmmaking, and especially documentary filmmaking, is “Show, don’t tell.”

Ok, say there is a rogue science experiment that got loose from it’s lab. Let’s say this experiment was half elephant and half tabby cat, and on this past Thursday it was walking through Golden Gate Park like it owned the joint. Which is the experience that you feel would make the biggest impact on your life: me telling you about it, or actually seeing it with your own eyes?

When you make the choice to stand behind the camera and direct its gaze you realize that the rule “show, don’t tell,” is one that sounds deceptively simple. Kind of like “Do the right thing.” There are situations in which we feel the “right thing” is clear and straightforward, and there are other times when it is really, really not. Showing that, when it rains, there is a hole in a parking lot that fills with water? That’s pretty straightforward. Showing things like despair? Hope? Love? Anxiety? That’s a different story entirely.

I was trained in documentary film. I studied at UC Santa Cruz, spent six months working at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and went on to The New School in New York City where I continued to study documentary film on a graduate level. I’ve racked up a considerable amount of student loans, watched many, many films, and written many papers on the subject. I know from experience what it is to be a novice, barely acquainted with how my camera works, while watching works of the masters of filmmaking and think “How the hell am I ever going to get to a place where I can do that?”

I can tell you that the single most important thing you need to do to begin filmmaking is to pick up the camera. And if you aren’t ready to immediately start exposing intricate webs of corporate conspiracies? Start small.

In the couple of years that I have been teaching various kinds of storytelling classes, my favorite way to get people shooting and thinking like real storytellers is the “how-to” assignment. Creating a how-to film is the perfect exercise for beginning storytellers, and especially beginning filmmakers and immediately throw them into working in the mindset of “show, don’t tell.”

And it’s not just an exercise for filmmaking virgins. Over the summer I tackled two new projects. One was a short film series about makers in San Francisco, that I am still currently working on. The first maker I featured was Sean Young, who founded Stovall & Young denim. I wanted to explore the question of why he made jeans. The simple answer is: he likes jeans and was passionate enough about them to start his own denim company. But why does he love jeans so much? What happened in in life that sparked this affinity for jeans? How did it develop? And how is that affinity reflected in what he does and how he does it?

[http://vimeo.com/68755785] 

The second project was one that was a bit more straightforward. I collaborated with my friend, Crystal Sykes, on a series we call “On the Rocks.” The aim of that series was a bit simpler. My one question: how do you make various kinds of cocktails?

[https://vimeo.com/76172734]

Two very different kinds of projects, and the approach to each one is a little different, but the same basic principles are applied to each one. And if you want more information on how to apply those basic principles, you’re going to have to take my class.

Member Mentions

Our members are always up to the most fantastic and creative endeavors, it’s so hard to keep track sometimes! We have decided to catalog their accomplishments here with Member Mentions. Here are some current and noteworthy things we spied:
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Member George Zisiadis is an interactive artist that some say may just be the happiest guy in San Francisco. He has been creating art pieces all over the country like and The Pulse of the City in Boston or The Bubbleverse here in San Francisco. The self proclaimed Chief Happiness Scientist, George is constantly thinking up knew ways to bring joy to others. If you have a fun-tabulous idea that you’d like to execute, send your thoughts his way. They may just be funded via his side project The Awesome Foundation!

Christy Natsumi released a new jewelry collection Matters Of The Heart. Christy crafts all of her jewelry locally here in San Francisco and produced with eco-practices in mind. The collection is  meant to chronicle the journey of a our hearts traveling through this world — hence cue hearts with spikes, hearts tangled, magic wands, and more.

Whisk, member Maggie Spicer’s company, celebrated its first birthday on September 6th, 2013. With a year behind them, here are some of their favorite memories from this first year as a company!

“We’ve gotten engineers to leave their screens and get down Gangnam style…taken a globally-core-valued company on a 5-week culinary adventure around the world, experiencing a different country each day through their palate…brought city-slickers out to the country on retreats showcasing an exciting new generation of farmers in the Bay Area…gotten teams off their asanas and on to the yoga mat…. produced panels on building culture from the ground up and analyzed the effects of beverages as stimulants on the brain and mood….and finally, ensured the most important meal of the day (breakfast!) was a great one, partnering up with some of the cityʼs best and brightest food producers and crafters! Cheers – to many more deeply engaged people, communities, and years ahead!”

Images via 1/2/3

Class Preview: Cool As a Cucumber

from Holley Murchison…

I grew up incredibly shy. In third grade, I’d scribble my answers down on paper and hand it to Ms. Smith when she’d call on me. Most times I had the right answer but the idea of standing up and publicly addressing a group paralyzed me.

Sometimes, as adults, we feel the same way.

We know we have ideas, stories and content worth spreading but sometimes struggle to articulate them clearly or even worse – we opt out of sharing altogether.

Ironically enough, some years after Ms. Smith’s class, I fell in love with public speaking and ended up building a career around it. Having figured out a way to own my voice, I wanted to help others grow into better speakers and communicators as well. I designed Cool As a Cucumber so that you can better champion all those amazing ideas you’re working on. And it’s nothing like that freshman year Intro to Public Speaking class, promise.

This workshop is for makers, doers and creatives looking to improve on one of life’s most vital skills -whether you’re pitching to new clients, preparing to speak up in the meetings you’ve been dodging, or readying yourself for the big toast at your best friend’s wedding.

Taking a hands-on approach to the art of speaking, Cool As a Cucumber is 1 part lecture, 1 part Q&A and 3 parts participation. It’s a fun, encouraging, small group experience where you’ll learn how to navigate your feelings of speaking angst, craft engaging content and become a more authentic, confident speaker in the moments where it counts most. Plus – my favorite chef whipped up an awesome menu of comfort food goodies for you to snack on while we work.

So, now’s your chance to board the Oratory Glory train and get a step closer to owning your voice. I’m looking forward to working with you on the 20th!

Cheers to the cool in you,

Holley M.