The rise of Pinterest, coworking spaces and a collection of unfinished do-it-yourself projects at home left Jenn Bade and Jenny Gunter with an idea for a new business.
“Being DIY queens, we have so many unfinished projects at home,” Bade said.
Bade, 43, and Gunter, 44, often find themselves spending more on buying materials for projects than if they had just bought a finished product. But there’s a sense of satisfaction from finding a design idea, customizing it to match your own home décor and finishing the project.
That’s the driving idea behind Bade and Gunter’s new business, The Makers Market and Workshops, 6650 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton.
“No artistic talent or crafitness required!” reads the Makers Market website.
Bade and Gunter saw that other guided-craft businesses like Painting With a Twist have had success in the Bradenton area and in May decided to join the creative professional ranks.
“It just seemed like a natural fit,” Gunter said. “I’d been to several in other counties and Jenn always had craft projects going at home.”
The two met through volunteer work about six years ago, then found themselves working together on a parent-teacher organization, where Bade was the treasurer and Gunter was the president. They enjoyed working together and Bade already had experience running a business. She made crafts, often using wood, and sold them on the catchall online marketplace Etsy.
And because they met through volunteer work, both wanted the business to give back to the local community. Each month, one workshop will be a fundraiser for a 501(c)(3). Qualifying nonprofits can enter to be the chosen charity. The nonprofit’s information will be available on the Makers Market website for the entire month and proceeds from a small beverage station in the workshop area will be donated to the charity.
For example, the Nov. 14 workshop will be a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Participants pay $45 for instruction, materials and space to create a decorative item on a wood plank or a 20-inch by 30-inch hanging canvas. More than 25 different designs suitable for gifts or home decoration will be available for workshop attendees to choose from. And like other collaborative art businesses, Bade and Gunter encourage groups to enjoy the activities together and BYOB.
Beyond Bade’s business experience, they’ve utilized local networking resources to get the Makers Market name out into the community. Bade and Gunter are happy with the work they’ve done with a SCORE mentor and said joining the Anna Maria Island and Manatee chambers of commerce have been helpful as well.
“But a lot of it has really been supportive friends,” Gunter said.
Both invested cash and took out personal loans to get Makers Market off the ground and have rented the 1,700-square-foot space for three years with a two-year option. About 500 square feet will be dedicated to retail space, with the rest occupied by the group workshops and offices.
The shopping center, which houses other small businesses and local favorites Anna Maria Oyster Bar and Sage Biscuit, is owned by PV-Cortez Village LLC, a Safety Harbor-based company. PV-Cortez bought the 46,500 square-foot shopping center for $1.6 million in February 2011.
The Makers Market officially opens Oct. 29 and the first workshop is Nov. 1. To sign up for a Makers Market workshop, contact Bade and Gunter about a fundraiser for a local charity or with any questions about the crafty coworking space, visit their website at makersmarketdiy.myshopify.com/.