First Monday of the Month: Monthly update

As we rapidly approach the launch of our Beta site, this is an attempt to sum up what’s happened over the past month, and where possible look at what’s coming up.

Our intention is to provide this monthly update at the start of the month, with it in the form of a proper newsletter in due course. Until then, we’ll post the update on the blog. Happy Reading!

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Makers’ Meetings

We’ve held six Makers’ Meetings in the past month. These have offered us a great opportunity to explain the project to potential sellers and get their feedback on our emerging online marketplace. As a result of these sessions we’ve been able to fix lots of bugs and also identified questions and issues which we might have missed.

Feedback from the sessions about Makerhood has been great, and attendees also welcomed the chance to meet fellow Makers. A HUGE thank you to everyone who attended.

Due to popular demand, we’ve added one more session on Thursday 7 July, 6.30pm, Cafe Roha (103, Acre Lane). Please book in the form at the bottom of this page please

You can read what local photographer Laura Ward said about the session she attended on her blog.

 

Local People love the idea of Makerhood

During June we published the results of an online survey which asked people about the Makerhood concept and the philosophy behind it. From great quotes to five key conclusions, the input from 106 people who took part has been invaluable. If you don’t want to read the full post outlining the key conclusions, spend 30 seconds looking at some nice graphs which sum up your thoughts.

 

People who inspire us

We’ve started to produce irregular interviews with local people who have inspired us. These have proved to be very popular, so we’ll have more in future months. Check out previous interviews with artist Pam Williams, Urban Art Fair’s Tim Sutton and Stockwell based Sweet View.

Not to be out done, Kristina also did her own video with VisionOntv after the OpenTech conference at which she spoke. Click here to watch the five minute Makerhood OpenTech video.

 

Meet Us and Get Involved

Finally just a reminder of some pre launch meetings we have coming up, including drinks, which you are very welcome to join us at!

If you want to volunteer with Makerhood, as well as sell your wares, then our doors are always open. In the past month we’ve been very lucky to have Kim, Chris and Viv join us, but we’re always hungry for more help. So if you want to get involved in whatever way you can, email us: hello@makerhood.com – and let’s chat!

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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”
economy.

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

Gathering thoughts


Our post-it note research meeting in Brixton Market

It’s been a busy month for Makerhood. Just a couple of days before the fabulous Xmas card making extravaganza that Kristina wrote about earlier this week we held a small workshop with potential sellers and buyers about the Makerhood website. The website will be the heart of Makerhood and we’re keen to make sure it reflects and fits with the local community. With this in mind we asked Aoife and Anne (our friendly usability professionals) to help us organise a meeting to gather thoughts on different aspects of the website. The three areas we were especially interested in finding out about were:

What do you understand by local?
What kinds of items do you imagine will be sold on Makerhood? How do you imagine they would be organised?
How would you like to buy/sell items on the website?

Being the creative girls that we are we didn’t want to put these questions directly to our participants so we came up with some drawing and post-it note activities to help us collect participants’ ideas in a more conversational way. The meeting was held in Cornercopia’s lovely new dining room heated by wood-burning stove so we could all sit round the long table, stick our notes on the window and talk happily together about south west London, online shopping and making.

For the first activity we created a communal map of our ‘local’ areas. These reached much further than I imagined they would – from Camberwell to Dulwich, down past Clapham to Balham and Tooting and up to Vauxhall and the river. Interestingly, people described their ‘local’ area in terms of people and places they knew – places they had lived, shops they used and familiar routes to work.


Thoughts about local

Next we asked our participants to write down all of the items they would like to see sold on Makerhood. Once again, my expectations were completely wrong (which just proves the value of doing research..) Alongside the craft and gift and homewares products I expected participants also told us that mostly they shop local for services such as bicycle maintenance, plumbing and classes. The main reason for this seemed to be that you don’t want to have to go too far to find these services because many of them centre around the home.


OK, people did mention some products..

Finally, before we moved to the Dogstar and drinks and chat, we asked participants to draw a timeline of how they imagined a sale would take place on Makerhood either from the point of view of a buyer or a seller. In this activity we were interested in what participants thought would encourage them to make a purchase or, alternatively, what would put them off doing so. People talked about the importance of ratings and reviews from both the buyer and the sellers perspective, for instance, sellers may have concerns about biased reviews while buyers are interested in a sellers reputation. We will definitely be thinking more about this as we develop the website.

Thanks to Zoe from SW Craft Club, Fiona from Oh Sew Brixton, Maya, Anne and Aoife for taking part.