Meet a Maker: Rachel with the Cotery

meet a maker element

PhotoMeet RACHEL (friends call her Ray-Chill… no they don’t, but she wishes they did)

Rachel is The Cotery’s Community Manager. She previously was the Small Event Coordinator for Teach for America’s Giving Committee in New Orleans during her time as a corp member. She studied Business Administration and Political Science in the Tennessee mountains, where she grew up with a love of bluegrass music and buttermilk biscuits.

What do you make?

The Cotery is an online platform for creatives to design and presell garments. Basically, we use fashion to give talented folks a creative outlet for their art, photography, or general design ideas. Once they have designed a garment on our website, they presell it. After the sales minimum is met, we manufacture and ship their design. It allows designers to explore the fashion industry without risk. It also allows customers to get really unique garments made in the USA.

LeggingsHow did you get started making and why?

The Cotery started because the founders (Char Genevier and Tricia Hoke) realize that there is a barrier to entry in the apparel industry for many great and talented artists. The Cotery is the bridge between these artists and the fashion industry. We empower creatives to design without worrying about the time-consuming, complex, and expensive aspects of fashion. I joined the team because, as a former teacher, I have a deep appreciation for empowering others, and the Cotery’s goal really resonated with me. Because there’s no up-front costs, inventory investment, or manufacturing contracts for these independent designers, they are able to actually succeed in the fashion world, without risking everything.

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

Oh man, some of the designs we get are absolutely incredible. My favorite design so far would probably be these leggings. The design is the topography of the Red Rocks National Park in Colorado. Damon Redd created his company, Kind Design, to share his appreciation for the surrounding areas and outdoor sports, and he does a beautiful job bringing his passions into the designs. He’s designed a couple pieces with us and I can’t wait to see what he does next. I’m really looking forward to showing these leggings off at the TV on the Radio concert at Red Rocks this summer.

IMG_0709What is your advice to people looking to do what you do or make what you make?

Be you and do. People have really incredible ideas and talents, but too often let self-doubt keep them from actually taking the steps to complete a project. I think it’s so important to put yourself out there and really give an interest or a passion the chance to succeed. If it doesn’t work, so what? You tried, and I think that’s more important.

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

Without a doubt my favorite part is the influence of other makers. It’s really incredible what folks are doing these days, and observing their passions is truly inspirational. Not only is it just really stinkin’ cool technology and innovation, but the problem solving is astounding. I’m really excited for the future of this movement. I think society is embracing creative problem solving, and I think the Maker movement is leading the way. I really can’t wait to see this mentality at work when applied to societal and environmental issues. I’m also really eager to see this more in our school systems because it’s amazing to see what kids can do if you put them in an environment that leads them in this kind of problem solving.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?

I think every type of “making” is only going to increase in traction. There is a renewed appreciation for independent organizations and projects, as well as creative problem solving. Shopping from companies like The Cotery allows customers to be part of the movement community, and that requires a transparency from organizations that really energizes both consumers and producers. I think it increases responsibility for businesses, which will lead to overall improved society.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

Moonshine – I was raised in Appalachia. But that’s illegal, so let’s say quilts. 300 years ago, women in communities used to get together and quilt when someone got engaged or had a baby. I love the idea of the thought, community, and talent that went into quilts like this. I’d love to learn how to make them, and figure out how technology can be part of the quilt-come-back.

Meet a Maker: Alicia Gibb with Lunchbox Electronics

meet a maker element

I’m Alicia Gibb, CEO,Alicia.Gibb_ Lunchbox Electronics: lunchboxelectronics.com. I’m a woman-owned company, I taught myself electronics at NYCResistor, a hackerspace in Brooklyn, and now live in Boulder, creating the thing I’ve always wanted: Light-up bricks to build with, because yes, I still play with Legos. I just launched my first Kickstarter for said light up bricks.

What do you make?

Currently I’m making Build Upons for my Kickstarter. Build Upons are awesomely tiny light up bricks that are compatible with LEGO® bricks! Think Lego, but now with more geek.

Light up your robot, house, spaceship, or monster! The Build Upons system has three types of bricks: an LED brick, agibba power brick, and a bridge brick. Light the LED bricks by connecting them to a Power Brick – you can design pathways with as many Bridge Bricks as you need for ultimate flexibility. Build Upons LED bricks are based on 1×1 bricks to create elegant designs. You don’t need to know electronics to use these bricks, you simply build, just like you’ve always done!

This is the latest in STEAM products that will be ready in time for the holidays! Build Upons are a great gift idea for the kids in your life, including that kid that never grew up.

How did you get started making and why?

Like most people, I started before I can remember, and have always continued through my life.

agibb2What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing you’ve ever made?

I used to make a lot of what I call Cake Hacks, lighting up cakes, putting music in cakes, or making them wiggle around with motors.

What is your advice for people looking to do what you do or make what you make?

My advice is that you should always look at things from all angles and especially underneath. The best part about hardware hacking is learning how to break things and put them back together. Don’t be afraid to be a hacker and use things for their unintended purpose!

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?

Definitely into the future! Continuing to make science fiction science fact.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

I don’t yet know how to make dissolvable support material for my Lulzbot, but I’m thinking soap or Plasticine might be an interesting start.

Bonus question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Solid State Depot

Catapult in to Fun, At-Home Activity!

7bec1ae57a5e19277834222ff4122b40We are honored to attend events all around the Front Range where we get to interact with adults and children alike and talk about our mission.

Most recently, we were at the Frank Shorter Kids Fun Run for Health where we met several amazing inventors that created unique designs for desktop catapults.  This fun activity is best when you simply put the materials out, and let kids go wild.  They will invent, iterate and problem solve.  You can set up your own targets using cups and bowls, or the sink – or your mom (as long as the ammo is a marshmallow or a nice, soft pom pom!)

Materials:
  • Popsicle stickscandy-corn-catapult-1
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic spoons or plastic water bottle lids

Yep, that’s it.  If you want to get fancy, you could add:

  • Alligator Clips
  • Clothes pins

You can also visit our Pinterest page to see more complicated designs.

 

(Thanks to FrugalFun4Boys.com for the example here.)