Using Make Works
Community guidelines for working well with local factories.
Working with local manufacturers and makers
Make Works was built to help designers, makers and artists that wanted to make work in collaboration with manufacturers, needed material supplies, or who were looking for workshops or digital fabrication facilities where they would make work themselves.
Make Works are now factory finders not only to this group, but to a wide range of small businesses and international brands who are looking to manufacture locally. Being part of this shift towards local manufacturing, means that we understand anybody new to the industry needs to understand exactly what manufacturers do and how they do it. We want to enable local production, building an infrastructure and strong relationships connecting the makers with existing industry - but of course, recognise this sort of a shift will take a long time.
There are a few things to remember:
Best practices for approaching local manufacturers
- Respect the factories and their time. Avoid calling up or emailing someone to ask for information you can already find on Make Works or on the factory website, and don't get in touch if your budget, timeline or situation is not going to be a match.
- Do your research. Read the production specifics and details about each company, and watch their video before contacting them. If you get in touch with someone who explicitly states that they do not do what you are looking to do, you are only wasting their time as well as your own.
- Be clear and specific about what you are looking for. Even if you are just at the idea stage, make sure you explain in as much detail as possible what your project is, what you are looking for and any expectations you have about budget, time, materials or other.
- Do not despair if it takes a few days to get a response. Many manufacturers are busy, some are quite small, and not everyone checks emails every day. They may also have a backlog of requests, so be patient - the best method is to call if you are in a hurry.
Messaging a factory
When you contact a maker or manufacturer, it is important that you make it easy for them to understand what you are looking for, as well as how to contact you to take the next step. Everyone is pressured for time, so here are some things you can do to help speed things up:
- Make sure you include your contact details. It is also a good idea to include a daytime phone number in your message.
- If you have files or sketches you want to include attach them to the email, if the files are too large ask the manufacturer the preferred way for you to send them.
Share your stories!
If you've worked with a manufacturer that you've found on Make Works, let us know what your experience was like. We love finding out what you've made, or what we can do to make it easier for you to work with local makers, workshop and suppliers. The fastest way is just to email.