Okay, maybe DIY isn’t dead but it definitely has grown up a bit. DIYers have been at it for over a decade — crafting and creating new things, making something out of nothing, reinventing old things into new. On the blogs we read this typically shows itself in ways of fabulous party garland, a new way to display your jewelry or a sophisticated typography print just waiting for you to download. In a parallel (yet equally thriving world), a culture of garage tinkers and hackspace inhabitants have been head-down making things too. New products that solve every day problems and innovating products that have existed for centuries, giving them an upgrade. They’ve been making things; just like DIYers have been.
Despite the clear similarities between the DIY and Tinkerer communities we have (until recently) been living in different realms. In fact, I would argue each group wouldn’t have wanted to identify with the other before — as they have historically seen themselves very different from each other; one side “craft” and the other “tech.” How many DIYers attended the Maker Faire in 2009? Likewise, how many garage tinkerers opened up an Etsy shop in 2009? Exactly. Not until the past few years have these world began to merge into what we are now calling the Maker Movement. But why now? DIYers figured out how to sell their wares. Opening Etsy shops for example provided a way for crafters and designers to begin selling their handmade goods — legitimizing their talents and kick starting their businesses. It became normal for DIYers to straddle the blogging world and ecommerece world and platforms like Etsy made this easy. Tinkeres began coming out of their garages and with innovations such as 3D printing, began making more products (and faster). At the same time the consumer world seemed to fall in tune with the movement and began demanding more innovative and handmade products. The current began flowing in one direction.
DIYers paved the way for Tinkerers to become mainstream in the online space since this is where they started. They forged the way. At the same time, Tinkerers have brought legitimacy to the DIY crowd by attracting press and capital. All the while shoppers have responded. To a customer there is little difference between these two groups — they are simply people, creating new things. They are Makers.
In fact, 57% of adult in the US are Makers.
The lines have been blurred which is an advancement for both sides. You now see the term “Maker” replacing both “Crafter” and “Inventor” terminology. You see what used to be more niche DIY sites like Brit+Co pick the ball up and run with it adapting to the Maker language and in doing so, expanding the Maker Movement conversation. Advancements in the wholesale space by sites like Etsy Wholesale and The Grommet Wholesale are bringing these fresh products from Makers to the doorstep of mainstream retailers. Makers are making and the world is buying.
It’s a pretty exciting time to be a
crafter, baker, artist, designer Maker, don’t you think?
In fact, the President of the United States just proclaimed June 18 as National Day of Making. Will you join in?
photos Makers Gonna Make print from Uncovet :: Maker Nicholas Anderson of Confetti Systems