Nest’s Makers United Project connects and strengthens community amongst the wide diversity of makers across the United States, building a vibrant and inclusive maker population.
The project strives to identify and support makers who tend to face greater barriers to expanding their market reach as well as accessing business development services that stand to support growth. Leveraging the maker movement’s potential to generate opportunity for all makers, regardless of sex, race, economic means, or physical ability, Maker’s United is committed to economic inclusion.
A multi-stakeholder approach
Designed as multi-stakeholder initiative, the program marries existing local government initiatives with the resources, market access, and awareness-raising power of major brands and retailers in the apparel and home design industries. Combined with the power of Nest’s unique capacity building programs, this integrated program seeks to shine a new light on American makers while ultimately increasing demand for US-made handcraft.
Birmingham, Alabama Pilot
The program is currently being piloted in Birmingham, Alabama, where Nest is engaging artisan businesses employing women, immigrant, disabled, and low-income populations in a series of skills-based workshops led by brand professionals. The workshops will culminate in a local market showcase inviting notable retailers to view products, unlocking new sales opportunities for participating artisans and makers.
Nest is working with Quire Consulting as an implementing partner to help carry out the program’s pilot in Birmingham.
In our pilot city of Birmingham Alabama, Nest worked with local community leaders to survey 103 Birmingham makers about the challenges to growing their small businesses and the opportunities for strengthening inclusivity and access to resources for Birmingham artisans.
We found that Birmingham makers, most of whom are millenial women running their businesses as both artists and solo entrepreneurs, are indeed strapped for resources. Improved diversity across the maker movement is also needed. Considering the wide range of craft types being practiced and lack of wholesale sales channels, there is a greater opportunity for international brands to tap into the burgeoning talent emerging from Birmingham.