A series of interviews, short films, practical resource guides and highlights from our community of makers.
What to expect from this series : interviews with inspirational designers, short films featuring our making community, practical advice-based pieces on how our designers Make It Work, resources guides and highlights from our community of makers.
I can’t think of a more exciting series to be writing - highlighting women-identified and femme* makers who are defining success for themselves and running creative, independent businesses. Today, I want to share a bit about my background working in predominantly male fields, how this has shaped my story-telling, and why I believe representation matters.
Something that has always intrigued me about the making community is the dominance of women - and honestly, I took this for granted until I joined the corporate workforce as an adult and found myself in a lot of male-dominated tech environments. These environments have their place, and I’m not here to speak on gender diversity in tech (cuz we’d be here for a *while*). I’m just here to share my experience of this space, and how it’s shaped the lens with which I view the making community, and broadly, the world. I worked in a coworking hub with over 150 techies and if memory serves me, there were about 8 women, 5 of whom were on my team (2 of whom I hired when I became a manager), and only one of whom I can remember as a CEO of a company. Working in this space for close to 2 years, I remember craving connection with women, which I sought in my time outside the office. I was craving seeing women in positions of power, doing their work, kicking butt and being creative.
It was what led me to produce a podcast that showcases fiber artists (predominantly women), because once I started actively looking for women creatives around me, I found a huge pool of incredible, talented makers living in the same city as me. I had seen and heard the same story over and over at “Pitches and Beer” night at the coworking hub, and was to be totally honest, a little *over* talking about “High Net Worth Individuals” at networking events. I was beyond ready to hear a success story that sounded different - one that came from someone who looked like me, maybe even engaged with the world in a similar way to me, and perhaps defined ‘success’ differently to what I’d been seeing in the tech hub.
I think the key point for me here was that it only took getting interested in this to see that there were, in fact, so many women all around me making it work - running businesses, going to school, having families, teaching at universities, designing knitwear, teaching pom pom making workshops. There were so many examples of the many ways that different folks patchwork together their lives for success, and this success was really defined by each individual.
Now that I’ve been clued into this for the last few years, I’ve had countless conversations - both on the record and off - with dozens (if not hundreds?!) of designers and makers about the ways they make it work - from side hustles to full time work. I’ve heard a diverse lot of stories that all have one thing in common - people caring so much about this work that they give it their all, whatever that means to them. I’m excited to share these conversations with you, learnings from designers and makers and gems of advice from folks who’ve been in this for years, and stories of designers and makers who are just starting out - full of hope and possibility.
Here’s what to expect from this series:
*a note on diction: This series will highlight the work of people who identify as women & femmes, and is not to discount the work of designers whose gender identity is not ‘woman’ - these designers are amazing & their work will be featured in future series!