With all things artisanal and “do-it-yourself” emerging as the zeitgeist of our day, it was just a matter of time before the anti-big-industry movement had its own industry magazine.
Kyle Studstill is a founder and executive producer of Makeway, a new media company that aims to empower artisanal entrepreneurs through a content platform. He and cofounders Mitch Kapler and Caleb Kramer write that, on New York’s Lower East Side, “we’re witnesses to an exuberant class of entrepreneurs filling our community with diverse cuisine, fashion, art, and business. Despite the frightened media perception, creative business men and women are harnessing technology to deliver a meaningful brand and a superior product, with fewer resources.”
As marketing consultants to Fortune 500 brands, Studstill says he and his colleagues “started to see small businesses able to compete and thrive on the level big brands were.” As they became fans of “the business owner who is driven by purpose and passion and premium quality,” Studstill, Kapler and Kramer created Makeway as a “flag for that community to rally around.”
Studstill says the publication will give maker-entrepreneurs “resources in business strategy, articulate what’s going on in the changing movement, and highlight small business heroes and role models” who merge artisanship with innovation.
To be sure, it was MAKE Magazine that pioneered coverage of the DIY movement in 2005. Like MAKE, Makeway will publish quarterly. But Studstill says Makeway is focused on makers who’ve made the transition to business owner. And, in allegiance with its target readership, Makeway is relying, like many makers do, on crowdfunding to raise startup capital. The media company has even teamed up with W&P design, a Brooklyn-based maker of cocktail kits, to offer incentive rewards to funders.
Another difference from traditional publications, Studstill says, is that Makeway will support the crowdfunding efforts of the businesses it features. “After you read the content [about an artisanal innovator], you can become a backer,” he explains. “We’re about inspiring and empowering this world in which more people can create and bring their craft and art to life through the medium of business.”
Unlike “the Kickstarters of the world,” Studstill says Makeway wants to help artisans bring customers closer to the brand. “The businesses that are thriving are drawing support from their market, using crowdfunding in a way that not only grows their operation—such as, ‘I’m a coffee shop, help me buy the next premium coffee maker’—but in a way that they also get a social spread out of it,” he says. “We want to ask, ‘What happens at a small scale when you’re getting your customers involved and they become active evangelists?’ We want to help them build that tool that helps them launch that and then feature stories in the editorial.”
And once those artisanal innovators grow their businesses? Studstill and his colleagues will be happy to follow up with brand and marketing consulting services, event opportunities, and exposure to their Fortune 500 clients who “are trying to get in front of this world.”