makers

Girl Scouts visit Amplifier, forget to bring us Thin Mints

We’ve hosted book signings and Kickstarter mavens but yesterday’s visit by Girl Scout Troop 1252 will go down in Amplifier history as our first time staging an actual merit badge challenge.

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We’re pretty sure these girls will grow up to be creative kingpins. Every year, they design and print their own troop tees, with stencils and ink and amazing DIY grit and gristle.

This year, they asked us if Amplifier would teach them to screen print for real. Who can say no to girl scouts, even when they aren’t selling cookies?

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Our screen printing man, myth, and legend Chris Vreeland taught them the printing process, from art to film to screen to tee, and they took turns printing and curing their very own t-shirts.

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The shirts look amazing. We’d like to say you can get your own Troop 1252 tee in our online store, but you can’t. That would be… strange.

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Thanks again for stopping in, taking the tour, and brightening our day with your questions about screen printing, glitter ink and unicorn posters, Troop 1252. Let us know when you’re old enough for summer jobs!

Maker's Row

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Another highlight of our recent trip to New York was meeting the team behind Maker’s Row. We visited with Matthew Burnett (left) and Tanya Menendez (right) along with designer Scott Weiner (not shown but he rocks similar mojo.) 

So here’s the idea.

Offshoring your manufacturing once presented a nearly irresistible temptation. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in the last two decades to this option.  US Companies thought they’d save a fortune by leveraging the cheap cost of labor in developing economies.  For a while, it worked.  But in many ways this trend now seems played out.  Rising overseas labor rates coupled with increasing fuel costs have greatly reduced the savings of outsourcing. And when one factors the reduced flexibility and inescapably slow shipping time involved in transoceanic delivery, domestic manufacturing suddenly looks a lot more compelling.

But there remains a problem. While the spirit may be willing to buy from American factories, the flesh often has a hard time finding them. Many possess amazing, proprietary production capabilities and generations of experience, they simply lack Internet-era marketing savvy. 

That’s where Maker’s Row steps in. 

They’re making it unbelievably easy to find even highly specialized makers in the good old United States of America. Search by all manner of capabilities such as Pattern-Makers, Toolers, even Ideation. Want to make a belt? Check out Universal Elliot. Custom handbags?  How about Manolucci Handbag Factory.  Wooden buttons you say?  No problem, try Buttonwood Corp.  The possibilities seem limitless.

They say nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.  And speaking as a company who routinely procures all manner of compelling merchandise, we can say that time to look at US production is now.

Congrats and thanks to Maker’s Row for shining a light on our fellow American makers.