Gold Nuggets From Make Works

Here’s another edition of Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and doers. Digging into their stories to reveal tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

We caught up with the inimitable Fi Duffy-Scott founder of Make Works, factory finders who support makers to make local. We recently worked with Make Works to launch their Patreon campaign.

Image Credit: Peter McNally

Image Credit: Peter McNally

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year?
That it was OK to take a day off! Over the first two years of Make Works I only had a couple of days when I wasn't thinking about the project, and wound up totally exhausted. Now I'm pretty strict about taking myself home in the evening and actually having holidays.

What are your top 3 tips for experimenting with alternative models to support Make Works?
Make Works has always been looking for sustainable ways to make the work happen. Quite early on we realised that public funding wasn't going to be very sustainable in the long term; and equally the typical start-up trajectory of growth and investment didn't fit very well with being a non-profit. So, we needed to find alternative models to support the project.

From what we have learnt so far though here are 3 tips:

Tip 1. Seek out like-minded people. From reading work by Aaron Swartz to meeting people at the Small is Beautiful conference or reaching out to other Patreon creators - have all helped to reassure me that it is not completely crazy to be actively looking for alternative models.

Tip 2. Give yourself time to experiment. New ways of doing things won't always work first time, and can take a lot of chipping away at to make work. I think being comfortable with things not being a 'quick fix' is important if you want to make anything really worthwhile for the world.

Tip 3. Make things for your audience. Starting a Patreon has meant that we've really got a better understanding of what sort of people really find Make Works useful and want to see it continue - it's made me super appreciative of that support and helps keep perspective of who we are making the project for.

What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
"Find the right person" -  I remember I was speaking to Janine Matheson from Creative Edinburgh early on about the difficulty I was having getting funders to back the project. She told me that I just needed the right person to hear about it, and soon I had much better success - purely from making sure I was seeking out people who would 'get' it.

What’s your ambition for Make Works?
I'd love to see people setting up their own Make Works all over the world! The ambition at the moment is to work out how to make that work well for people who want to start those other regions, and finding a sustainable, open business model to make that possible in the long term.

What song motivates you in the studio and why?
Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina absolutely got me through 2016! It came out at a time when everything seemed really dark in the world, and still makes me feel super hopeful and energised.