Come and join the gang!

Last month we set up some working groups made up of makers, making
enthusiasts and locals – to open up the running of the Makerhood
project to anyone who wants to get involved.

Our next meeting is on 23 May at the Dogstar. We are all volunteers
inspired by the idea of making a difference to our community and our
environment, and to help local talent thrive and be appreciated
locally. If you want to be part of the gang, come and join us.

Together, we organise markets, events and workshops, participate in
exhibitions and fairs, maintain and develop the website,
do PR and social media for the project… The list is long, but it’s
all good fun, with a diverse group of contributors who are becoming
great friends too.

You are welcome to get involved in any capacity, however little or
much time you have. There’s plenty to do, and we’re a very open and
democratic bunch. The only requirement is that you should live in Brixton,
Camberwell, Clapham, Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction or Stockwell.

It’s an exciting time for the project as we are growing, and it would
be lovely to have more local people running it together with us.

If you’re interested in coming, sign up on our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you!


Drinks and other opportunities to meet us and get involved!

We’ve been a little quiet on the blog front recently, but rest assured we’ve been anything but idle. Work behind the scenes is approaching fever pitch, with lots of exciting things to share with you very soon!

After our successful round of Makers Meetings (of which more anon) we also wanted to share with you some other opportunities to meet us, fellow makers, potential buyers and other interested parties.

You’re very welcome to come along to as many of these sessions as you want, including our team meetings. Our ambition has always been for Makerhood to be shaped by you, so feel free to pitch in whenever you want, however you want!

Here’s what’s happening when:

Tuesday, July 5 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Project Co-ordination Meeting
Saturday, July 2 · 9:30am – 1:00pm
Cafe Roha, 103 Acre Lane

Pre-launch meetings
Saturday, July 9 · 10:00am – 11:00am
Location TBC

Tuesday, July 12 · 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Location TBC

Maker’s Meeting (for new makers joining for launch, added due to requests)
Thursday, July 7, 6.30pm
Cafe Roha, 103 Acre Lane

Feel free to rock up, or better still let us know via Facebook or Twitter that you’re coming, and we’ll keep an eye out for you!

9 quotes about the ideas behind Makerhood

Some feedback from survey contributors we wanted to share:

“We need to bring back care in this world. I’d like to know that I’ve bought something with a bit of love in it rather than some cheap plastic machine made crap.”

“I love buying handmade goods that someone has put time, thought, effort and love into rather than buying mass-produced rubbish. It’s also really nice to have a one-of-a-kind item rather than something loads of other people own.”

 “I don’t want to end up living in a ‘Tesco clone-town’ where the only choice I have is to shop in chain stores. I want to support local businesses and keep money circulating in the local community.”

“In modern days, we’ve become a total throw-away generation, where everything is built to fail… I think it’s just a terrible waste.”

“I think to keep a vibrant local economy and prevent cloning on high streets and preserve character we should support local business and enterprise.”

“If food-related, it’s good to know exactly where the product has come from and how it has been sourced. If non-food related, it adds to the appeal of a product if you know the story behind it and who has made it.”

“Buying/selling locally is more environmentally sustainable and helps strengthen communities. It’s nice to know your neighbours/ who made your bread/who bought your tablecloth/who makes the best cheese.”

“I feel really passionate about buying locally-made products – it’s so much better for environment and community reasons and I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with buying from supermarkets.”

“Being able to chat directly to the person making the product is a great boon – shopping shouldn’t be a trial! Plus the obvious benefits of less food miles, fresher output, knowing what has gone into the product.”

Can you give us a tenth?

Makerhood survey – key conclusions

We recently ran a survey to ask people what they thought about the Makerhood concept and the ideas which underpin it. In this post, we’ll provide some of the key feedback we got from the 106 people who completed the online survey. You can also see some nice graphs / more detailed results here.

Why this mattered to us

The survey has helped to reinforce much of what we have learnt from previous offline research; reflecting attitudes which show a strong interest in local goods, local issues, handmade/crafts, and environmental concerns arising from how people shop – and what they buy.

But it has also given us a strong steer about how these attitudes might manifest themselves via a local website. Your feedback and ideas are therefore integral to refining the vision for Makerhood, as well as the features the full website (launching soon!) will offer.

Conclusion 1: Lots of support towards buying and selling local goods

  • 100% respondents said they are interested in buying local goods
  • 39% were interested in selling things they made

The key reasons for wanting to “buy local” included:

  1. supporting the community
  2. reducing environmental impact
  3. supporting local economy
  4. encouraging creativity locally

There was also a widespread belief that local products were often more interesting, fresher, unique, and often had a strong story behind them. Respondents were also keen on the idea of having a face-to-face relationship with a real person, which they saw as the anti-thesis of department stores/supermarkets, mass production, and the “throw-away”

Conclusion 2: Local means different things to different people

  • 72% defined local as goods “made in their neighbourhood”
  • 72% also defined local as “goods made in your town”.  (People could choose more than one option.)
  • Only 18% agreed that “made in the UK” constituted local.

Where we gave people space to say more, some felt that local should be:

  • “within 1 mile of where I live”
  • all of Lambeth
  • London and its surrounding environs

Views varied for a number of reasons, including a recognition that some products are hard to make in London, such as dairy or certain agricultural items. But, generally speaking, the consensus seemed to be “buy local” or “as close to local” as you can.

Conclusion 3: Buying local can be difficult, and this prevents people from doing so (even when they want to)

Around 75% said they didn’t buy as much locally as they’d like to (only 6% said they do), primarily because of the problem of finding local products. This of course is where Makerhood comes in!

Main reasons for not buying local goods:

  • I don’t know where to look (55%)
  • Cost (38%)
  • Time (33%)
  • Choice (32%)

The results also suggested that many people try to shop from small local providers / shops but they are unsure about how much is actually made locally vs. simply being transported from other areas. It’s a moot point.

Conclusion 4: Makerhood Brixton can play a role in supporting local makers and community needs

When we asked users how they might use a local online marketplace, the overwhelming response was to buy gifts (84%).

One-off purchases such as furniture (65%)  and everyday necessities like food and toiletries (56%) were also popular.

However, it was clear that community and social relationships are also an important part of this mix.

  • 84% told us they would use Makerhood to find out what’s going on in the area
  • 57% wanted to find out about the people who make things (so descriptions and stories are important part of the marketplace)

Conclusion 5: Frequency of use will depend on products

What Makerhood offers, both in terms of choice and quality, are clearly key issues for potential buyers, but in principle the majority of respondents suggested that they would use the site once a month (38%) or once a week (31%).

What happens next

We are going to continue to pore over what you’ve told us, and of course we also have a number of upcoming sessions with potential sellers, which will offer us some great opportunities to garner further feedback and ideas.

We’re aware that the survey isn’t statistically representative due to small size and the likely bias among respondents towards supporting local goods compared to average population. But we think it’s a fascinating and useful snapshot nonetheless.

Thanks again to everyone who took part – and do keep those ideas coming!

If you are a maker, grower or artist and would like to join in, come to Makers’ Meetings

Hamper winner

I’m trying to channel my inner Hot Chocolate and say that everyone’s a winner (baby), but on this occasion that’s simply not true.

On Thursday night we put 106 numbered pieces of paper in a hat (each number corresponded to an entrant to our recent survey) and pulled out a winner.

Entrant number 50, and the winner of a lovely hamper from the Brixton deli CornerCopia, is Jessica Cargill Thompson from East Dulwich.

Well done Jessica!

Some of you may know Jessica from her excellent blog, How to be Unemployed the White Collar Way, and she’s also the co-author of The Midlife Manual.

We’ve been busy absorbing Jessica’s comments, and those from other survey entrants, we’ll be sharing the highlights from this soon.

But, in the meantime, congrats again to Jessica – and a big thank you to everyone else who entered the survey and shared their views with us.

Our survey is now closed!

A MASSIVE thank you to the 106 people who completed it. Your help and input is much appreciated.

We’re pouring over your thoughts, and hope to share the conclusions in a couple of weeks.

Remember that one person who completed the survey, chosen at random, will get a lovely hamper from CornerCopia. We are going to pull the winning name out of a (metaphorical) hat later this week and we will announce the winner on Friday.

Keeping fingers and toes crossed for you!

Final call for contributions to our online survey

Update. Wonderful news: Nadia Gilani of South London Press is doing a piece on Makerhood for Tuesday’s edition! We’ve extended the survey so that SLP readers could contribute their views.

Thanks to everyone who has entered our online survey which Karen wrote about previously. We’ll be closing the survey on Thursday, 26th May. So, if you’ve not entered yet, then please do!

A reminder that one entrant, chosen at random, will get a lovely hamper from the Brixton deli CornerCopia.

Of course this won’t be the only chance to feed into the development of Makerhood, but we won’t always be able to offer you such a lovely prize as our way of saying thank you!

Remember, it’s just ten questions, and will take about five minutes of your time to complete. If that.

Go on, you know you want to….