Its the end of 2014! The year we built the first version of Make Works. It was a year that we pulled together all of our research from tour; designed, built and shipped the first prototype to see if it would work. 

January - March 

We had a bit of a slow start to 2014, as funding decisions had been delayed. We were super excited to get going though so work begins on wireframes for the site, fingers and toes are crossed (and Fi spends a lot of time dancing in her flat to keep spirits up.)

Vana gets a new job at Dovecot studios and we wish her well.

Those first three months were a real low point for Make Works, but we were reminded how brilliant and supportive the Scottish creative community were throughout the process. You all know who you are - thank you!


We are awarded a grant from Creative Scotland! Hooray! We were four months behind schedule, but we were able to start delivering the project. We have a residents meet up at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to celebrate and we play this on repeat for a week. 

We start work with Martin, Hilde and Jamie Sterling in Edinburgh. It was the first time we had worked with developers and first time Fi had managed a team (ahh!) This is the first line of code we wrote:


Luke and Simon at the Edinburgh Film Company begin making their way through 6TB of our factory film footage and editing them into shorts.

The best thing we did this month was use Seth Godin's Ship It Journal. We highly recommend this for any team beginning a collaborative project. You can follow Seth's Startup School podcast here. 


CodeBase, Europe's largest technology incubator opens in Edinburgh. We moved into our first studio! Fi paints the blackboard and we get an OpenDesk made at MAKLab to work from. 


Apart from giving a TedX talk in Edinburgh that month, we keep a low profile and pull in the late nights. Fi regularly becomes the last person to leave CodeBase resulting in a serious case of the computer eyes... 


June is a bit of a blur as we continue to figure out how our first version would work. 


Vana comes in to help out with data entry on Sundays and we end up with the geekiest taxonomy of manufacturing we could have ever imagined. Ross finishes editing the photos and  fellow designers help out picking images and making sure all the information entered in the site is correct. 

Make Works goes to Dubai to with PAL Labs who are running a design and manufacturing project at Tashkeel. We start to think about where and how else Make Works could be used across the world. 

Luke, Simon and Steven at The Edinburgh Film Company finish editing the films and we screen the first of them at the Small is Beautiful conference in the Theatre Royal. 


We ship our first prototype! After the first few hours of being live, we see people from all over the world using Make Works for the first time. We start to see designers messaging manufacturers to make new pieces of work - it was working! This felt like a pretty incredible moment.

We get out the studio pretty quickly and get back on the road. We start working with new photographers like Eoin Carey, Gordon Burniston and Joanna Crawford.  Some highlights include Flux Laser Studio, Titan Props and Gabriel Polishing.


Make Works receives a notable mention in the Core 77 Design Awards in the Strategy and Research category. 


Ross puts on an exhibition of portraits he took on the Make Works tour. Afterwards, he heads off on a new adventure to Mexico, you can follow his progress here. 


We take part in mini-Seedcamp in Edinburgh and understand Make Works as a tech startup. We spend time preparing our pitch and brainstorming business models. 


 We continue filming new factories. Highlights from August include William Johnston, a gasket factory in Glasgow, and Highland Galvanisers in Cumbernauld. 


We get through to SeedCamp Week London! We are 1 of 11 startups out of 3000 applicants. 

We think we really fucked up our pitch (in fact here is a photo of how Fi thought it went right after) but actually end up getting into Seedcamp Academy!

Make Works is mentioned in Wired and TechCrunch. 

The studio starts to work between Google Campus in London on lots of trains. We learn about lean analytics, marketplaces and spend a lot of time translating start up language into design language. It is one of the fastest learning curves we have ever been on, but a pretty exciting one.

Make Works is featured in The Herald. 


We make the most of office hours with incredible mentors at Seedcamp. 

We decide to build up the supply of our factories so set a goal to film 200 more by April 2015. Fi realises that she can't physically go to every single visit and The Edinburgh Film Company take on the task, focussing on Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Lottie Burnley joins the team as Operations Manager and whips us into shape. We are based between Edinburgh, Glasgow and London so the Monday morning meetings start to look a bit like this. Slack, GoogleDrive and Evernote become our favourite tools.

We go on residency at The Whisky Bond with Sophie Dyer, Mauve Redmond and Neil McGuire to make our first publication (released in January!) We even get our own ISSN number and have contributed articles from the likes of Sadie Hough, Barbara Eldredge and Peter Troxler.  

We are featured in the Daily Record and filmed as part of Tech for Good.

We are invited to speak at Lodz Design Week and Make Works becomes a mentor for Maker Library Networks. 

We go to Moscow Design Week and give a lecture on Design Networks with The British Council. 


We hit a bit of a wall in November. We had a prototype that proved the concept, but we were struggling with what we should be building next. To figure it out, we have lots of coffees with as many designers, engineers, architects and artists as we can. We take on their feedback, listen to the problems they have with local manufacturing and take note. 


Make Works is invited to speak at the Crafts Council conference. We discuss open design and new forms of collaboration. We highlight the opportunity for building infrastructures and services that will futureproof existing manufacturing industries rather than creating multiple new makerspaces. 

Fi is named the "Cilla Black of manufacturing". We get to have dinner with some of our maker and design heroes and talk about making in education. We are reminded how essential it is that manufacturing skills are kept alive. 


The film team continue to film around six new factories each week. We visit pattern cutters, jewellers, ceramacists and steel fabricators. We are constantly reminded just how many talented makers and manufacturers are in Scotland.


On the filming front we find and meet even more brilliant factories, such as McRosties Leather, Silo Design and Build, Jay Surfboards and JCB Steelcraft.


Fi buries herself in funding applications and wireframes. We bring back the feedback from our conversations in November and begin the design for Version 2. Things like a clearer verification process, simpler messaging and the ability to 'save factory for later' will come into play from January.

We also get word about some of the new collaborations that have started on Make Works which is always a huge motivation.


Gemma Lord writes for us about the impact of mass manufacturing in China for Christmas, and it gets reposted on Core77. As a result, we have the highest number of weekly users to the site to date!


Next year?

Our plans for 2015 will mean running a small events programme in Scotland and launching our first publication from January 2015. On the tech side of things we hope ot expand the team to have a permanent developer and designer in house; developing tools to make it easier to find factories and doing everything we can to make those collaborations work easily. 

So with that, thank you 2014 and all our collaborators! It's been an epic one.

Make Works! 

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