Meet a Maker: Arieann with Kitables

Arieann has a long standing passion for taking ideas and running with them. Graduating with a Bachelor’s in Cell Science and a minor and Chemistry, she spent the next five years wandering the world of academic research, before starting a company of her own. She is now Founder/CEO of Kitables and Executive Director of Spark Boulder. A fan of perpetual learning and exploration, as well as an entrepreneur by nature, she loves building whether that’s an actual project, a company, or helping strengthen the amazing entrepreneurial community of Boulder.

What do you make?
I make companies and communities, and I used to get to do cool chemistry side projects but not for a while… (running 2 companies doesn’t leave a lot of r IMG_8056oom for tinkering.)

How did you get started making and why?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a builder. Although I was never a ”let’s take the remote apart” kinda kid. I was more “ok I have 2 pieces of plywood, an ice cube, and a piece of broccoli” I’m just gonna build something kind of kid. I cleared a 3rd grade class because I refused to read the directions on my chemistry kit and just threw some stuff together that started smoking and the teacher freaked out.

The “why” actually has a lot to do with my upbringing. My father was a fixer and a contractor professionally and my mother was very into crafts so I grew up thinking that’s just how things were done. Also I was a massively independent person from a young age and you learn how to get “it” done when you are like that.

What part of STEAM Fest are you most excited for?
Showing off Kitables new offerings, we’ve got a really cool kit coming out!

What will you be demo’ing, hacking, making, playing with at your STEAM Fest booth?

Our Kits:
Including the repeat appearance Rubiks cube solving robot kit the RubiSolver. Our new Bismuth Crystal kit and our newest offering the Mini Origami Quad Copter! It’s the cutest coolest thing you have ever seen!

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) Rubisolver-wood-1-e1437500319344thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

Someone wanted me to make them a life size sword out of aerogel, they were being dead serious. I started specking out what it would take but it was crazy expensive to build the machine. But I would have built it, given the money.

What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?
Never stop moving or learning, complacency is the death of everything. Also Boulder’s entrepreneurial community is unique and we have a “Give First” mentality. This town is crazy welcoming as long as you contribute. Funny story – Mary Anne the co-founder of Maker Boulder was the first person to get me started on my networking journey. We had coffee one morning during my first Kickstarter campaign she told me about the give first thing and I was like how do I give back I know nothing right now, she simply replied “your time.” So my advice would be to go out there and help and it comes back 10 fold, even if you think you have nothing but your time to give!

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?
The people, I know that sounds really corny but it’s true. The fact that a community like this exists is amazing to me. Makers are everywhere from your backyard auto-enthusiast to leading technology entrepreneurs. Makers love to build, they are creatives, the movers and shakers of our generation seeing opportunity where others see none. It is for these reasons the world needs more of them, and I am proud to call myself one.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?
I hope to make Kitables a national household name, and really help empower the maker movement, both for those looking to do projects and the project creators. As far as Spark I hope to solidify our position as the one stop shop for young entrepreneurial talent and expand what young people think of when they hear the word entrepreneurship, it’s not just tech (although tech is awesome).

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?
The Forbes 30 under 30 list
But in all seriousness.. I actually don’t know how to code at all, I hope to learn at least front end web dev from our class at Spark this fall.

Meet a Maker: 23rd Studios

We love the pictures that 23rd Studios took of Rocky Mountain STEAMFest 2015! Want to see the album? Check it out!

What does 23rd Studios do?Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest Maker Boulder 23rd Studios Photography Boulder (88)

​ 23rd Studios located in Boulder Colorado works in Video Production, Photography, Web Design, Development and Branding. We offer full scale video production including Ariel Videography and Photography, no project is too small or big​.

Who is your target customer?

​ We work with clients from Mom and Pop shops to Fortune companies, our services, expertise and equipment has us set up for any type of work.​

You have very generously supported us for our events.  Why is it important to you to support events like STEAM Fest?

​ Advancements in STEAM are important to the growthRocky Mountain STEAM Fest Maker Boulder 23rd Studios Photography Boulder (20) of our economy and the evolution of kids in the coming years. It is important to engage young minds by letting them work with their minds, hands and encouraging them to create. Not only is this important for kids to get expose to but important for parents to be open to letting their kids explore these avenues and not be so traditional in their education path. 23rd Studios believes that not everyone is destined for college and supporting young adults in figuring that out now is an important part of guiding them to a successful future.​

What else do you want our readers to know?

​ We are​ highly interested in technology so working with 23rd Studios gives your company a head start sense we already engaged in the dialogue and conversations around what technology companies need and the stories they tell.Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest Maker Boulder 23rd Studios Photography Boulder (44)

How did your company get started and why?

​ 23rd Studios got started out of the need to offer high quality services​ for companies of all sizes. We believe that companies should not have to choose between needs for their business and what they need to survive. That is why 23rd Studios has a sliding scale based on the size of you business.

Where do you see your company if five years?

I can tell you that we have many hopes and dreams, but truly there is no way to predict where we will be. We will still be in business doing great work forRocky Mountain STEAM Fest Maker Boulder 23rd Studios Photography Boulder (48) many companies in Colorado and around the country, that is about all we can say about our future.

If you want to know more check us out online at or email us at

What is your best advice to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a company like you?

​ The best advice we can give is do good work and you will always be well received in the community and always remember that giving first and making a good name for yourself and your company is more important than not making it anywhere.

Meet a Maker: Bitsbox

Wheee! Bitsbox is AWESOME and a ton of fun. Guess what else?! They’re a smashing partner of Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest and will have a booth in the exhibit hall!

What does Bitsbox do?

Bitsbox is a subscription box that teaches kids to code. Every month a package arrives to your door with dozens of programming projects. Kids go on our website and follof10ac033a14a47fd99836178d49a2b91w the instructions to type real code that makes real apps that work on real devices.

Who is your target customer?

We’re most popular with families having kids between the ages of 6 and 12, though we’ve had a few people have success with older and younger kids. If your kid can read, then they can do Bitsbox. And parents don’t need to be coders themselves. If your kid gets stuck, all you need to do is go back to the instructions and help them find where they went off track.

Why is Bitsbox important and what wil643c4563a79b4b84a1d7770badf555ab_largel your customers get out of being members?

Coding is a language. The earlier kids start, the better they learn. Kids who do Bitsbox build confidence in their ability to handle all this tech stuff around us. Once a kid says “I’m a coder!”, they carry that with them the rest of their lives.

What is your most inspiring customer feedback?

We get wonderful feedback every day. Here’s a small sample.

“My kids spent 6 hours playing with Bitsbox last night. They’ve been playing with Scratch and — but they felt that this was much cooler and they loved the fact that they felt like they were writing real code.”

“Wow! Thank you so much! You just made his day. I thought I’d share that he had surgery on the 20th and that’s why we missed the deadline. He’s on very limited activity while he heals so he’s spending lots of time on Bits Box code. Just thought I’d share so you could see how y67d7fd5948900e51665cc2329c8ca412_largeour kind gift truly means so much to him.”

“Just so you know – I love Bitsbox. You are doing great things. I’m not teaching a computer class next year and I’m done with my programming unit this year. I am paying out of my own pocket so I can’t keep my subscription. If something changes and I teach computers again, I’ll gladly sign up.”

“I’ve got to say, my daughter is loving her first bitsbox. We’re taking it slow — I work to get her to think about what the programs will do, and encourage her to play around with changes. We just finished Tuba or not Tuba, which she loves. I am really impressed by the platform and definitely want to keep her moving forward.”

How did your company get started and why?

Our cofounders, Scott and Aidan, are a couple of ex-Googlers who wanted to build a company that really teach people. Being is edtech is both fun and satisfying.

Where do you see your company if five years?

We want to be the way that kids all over the world can learn this amazing skill of coding. No matter where they live, what language they speak, or what devices they have access to.

What is your best advice to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a company like you?

  1. Choose something that you love.
  2. Choose a cofounder you really click with.
  3. Build a prototype and test the heck out of it with real users.
  4. Get help! Accelerator and incubator programs are all over the planet these days.

What else do you want our readers to know?

Thank you Boulder! We couldn’t have gotten as far as we have without the amazing network of parents, teachers, and start-up enthusiasts we enjoy around here.

Do you have a discount code for Maker Boulder readers?  If so include it here.

Come to our booth for an amazing deal! We want to meet you and show you in person what Bitsbox is all about.