Handmade Detroit in 2008

Handmade Detroit had our first planner meeting of 2008 yesterday. Besides the numerous events we will be producing and taking part in this year {DUCF 3.0!}, we’ve also set a goal to get more people involved in the Detroit DIY community as a whole. In a way, we’re going through a refocus on Handmade Detroit’s original mission.

When we started Handmade Detroit, we really wanted it to be a resource for all area DIY makers, and particularly for those who make and sell their handmade goods. We envisioned the group, and especially the web site, as a way for makers to meet each other, learn about upcoming local events and resources — and by extension, create a community.

Few local opportunities existed for indie artists to sell their goods when we began. So we set about creating these opportunities, focusing most of our attention in the past few years on planning selling events. Two things have changed since we started in 2005. First, more opportunities outside of Handmade Detroit events now exist. We’re thrilled to see other indie events pop up around the city, and more established events open their doors to indie makers. Second, because the community of makers is growing, there seem to be more and more people all the time knocking on our door to get involved. As we’ve been focusing on events, we’re starting to see that the limited space of any given event is not allowing every person who’d like to be more involved in Handmade Detroit to do so. As a group that believes in a larger mission of DIY being vital to the creative fuel of our city, turning away enthusiastic, creative people has oftentimes proven to be heartbreaking.

Growth in our community is a wonderful thing, and it’s our mission this year to better serve more people who want to be involved, whether it’s just making for the love of making, or running a DIY business.

So, how do we do this?

We’re planning a redesign of this site in 2008 and some of the new features will focus on this goal. You’ll already start to notice that our event calendar is no longer just Handmade Detroit-related. Soon you’ll be able to submit indie events for inclusion, as well as show application deadlines and other important information. {And please pardon the mess as we clean up the sidebar this week.} We hope to turn the calendar into a strong resource for getting involved with the creative community.

Outside of the web site, we will be heavily partnering with Loop, a new Detroit-based group which meets monthly to craft and chat. Loop has an open door policy, and is a great way to meet other people with a passion for making. Look for Loop to really get going in March. We also plan to expand HD’s event offerings beyond fairs to encompass more leadership and small business topics.

And we want your input. In a month or so, we’ll be posting a survey to open the floor to all Michigan makers; to help set our agenda and fill us all in on what the Detroit DIY community may be missing.

2008 promises to be an exciting year of growth. We hope you’re as geeked about the DIY community as we are.