Winning first prize at this year’s SXSW V2Venture competition for the category “Best Entertainment and Content Technology Company”, LATechWatch is excited to introduce our readers to MakersKit. Creating jobs, check. Manufacturing in LA, check. Mentoring, sharing with, and giving back to the community, check.
CEO of MakersKit, Mike Stone, sits down and introduces us to his DIY project kits, sold in over 5,000 stores worldwide.
Tell us about the product or service.
MakersKit is a DIY experience made up of awesome project kits paired with digital video tutorials that can teach you a new skill in under five minutes. Grow fresh herbs in your kitchen, shake up old school cocktails, or even make furniture out of laser cut wood, we’ll show you how. There are over 100 types of MakersKit DIY Project Kits available, sold in 5,000 stores including Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma. Since we graduated Techstars NYC a year ago, we’ve sold over a quarter-million kits and well on our way to selling a million more this year.
How is it different?
MakersKit has become the leading brand for DIY Project Kits amongst major US and Canadian retailers. There’s one reason for this, our products are not just a box of stuff, they are an experience. Expert makers and co-founders Mike Stone & Jawn McQuade make learning fun and entertaining.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
$30B US Craft & Hobby Market.
Millennials are fastest growing segment, and MakersKit is the leading brand to capture this customer base.
What is the business model?
Purchase a MakersKit, love it, share it, buy 100 more.
What inspired the business?
We started teaching DIY workshops in San Francisco two years ago and within a few weeks Google and YouTube reached out to us. We like to think that if Google came to us for our expertise, we must know what we’re doing. Soon the workshops exploded in popularity and to keep up with demand, we decided to create MakersKit. We didn’t want to just be another craft kit company, so to make it actually fun we threw out the idea of printed directions and instead made a video for each and every project kit.
Tell us about your recent experience at SXSWV2V.
We were the clear underdogs and honored to be in an amazing group of finalists. We often get the question, “how is MakersKit a tech company?” I think we answered that by winning “Best Entertainment Content Technology Company”.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Launching National Geographic by MakersKit
Selling over 1M units of MakersKit Products
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Any investor who gets it, and is excited about what we’re doing is an investor I’d love to meet. Time is best spent learning how we can do amazing things together.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Our team is made up of passionate makers who love what they do. We’ve created over 50 jobs in LA, giving makers the opportunity to be creative while applying their expertise in product design, marketing, live events and digital media. Every MakersKit product is made in LA and we couldn’t be more proud.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Techstars was a big part of our growth and we’re proud to now be mentors at LA’s new Dodger Accelerator. Giving back is a big part of the culture at MakersKit, in fact for every kit we sell online, we donate an art supply kit to public schools.
Networking events and parties are also great, connecting LA startups to partner and grow together. It was thanks to events hosted by UniqueUSA that I was able to connect with TOMS, which has lead to an amazing partnership.
What’s your favorite after work activity in Los Angeles?
Hiking Runyon Canyon is pretty awesome, my team is pretty active and we like to explore all the amazing adventures LA has to offer.