UT alum hosts craft festival, Re:Make

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Vanicek | Daily Texan Staff

After leaving her career at Google in San Francisco, UT alum Brit Morin’s is returning to Austin to host a variety of Texas’ small, do-it-yourself business vendors at “Re:Make.” 

A variety of local artisans are setting up shop at the Palmer Events Center on Saturday and Sunday for Re:Make, a festival that emphasizes how technology is revolutionizing the creative community. The convention will display about 70 of Texas’ small businesses that sell handcrafted merchandise. 

Re:Make first took place last year in San Francisco, where Morin’s company, Brit + Co., is based. Brit + Co. is an online media and e-commerce business that educates people on how to complete DIY projects and support makers. It developed Re:Make in efforts to expand and reach people offline. 

“The website is about the community of people who get together and learn how to make things and do things,” Morin said. “Re:Make is about bringing together the thought leaders and influencers of the maker community.”

In search of a creative outlet, Morin left her career and created Brit + Co. She realized that various digital tools were making it easier for people to make and distribute their creative productions.

After a turnout of about 5,000 people last year, Re:Make will return to San Francisco in September. Inspired by her company’s success, Morin decided to reach out to other areas, specifically, Austin. 

“I knew Austin, my hometown, was a great place to start,” Morin said. “I knew the community there and how creative of a city it was and that people would really respect what Re:Make is all about.” 

The event will take place over the course of two days, during which vendors will sell their handcrafted merchandise. The guests of Re:Make will be able to shop and be given the opportunity to learn how to create their own products at interactive stands called “Make Stations.”

“You can learn how to make everything from different types of DIY crafts to technology projects,” Morin said. “[From] robotics to how to properly decorate cupcakes.” 

Brit + Co. worked to recruit vendors who sell what people of Austin want to see. 

“We got involved with a lot of local organizations, like TechShop Austin, and organizations at UT, like in engineering, communications and art, to get the right people there that would have that Austin local vibe,” Morin said. 

Although the artisans come from all around Texas, the majority comes directly from Austin. Morgana Lamson, co-owner of Satchel and Sage, a printed goods and textiles business from Austin, heard about the San Francisco Re:Make through friends who attended the event and decided to participate in Austin this year.

“They said it was curated really well and everything was just really well-made,” Lamson said. “I think it’s good because our city has such a huge maker community and lots of people investing in the arts.”

Kelley and Kris Denby, owners of an Austin-based custom furniture business named Hemlock and Heather, are looking forward to being a part of Re:Make because it gives them a chance to sell directly to the public instead of through retailers. 

“We have never done an event like this before” Kelley Denby said. “They basically gave us this 10x10 booth for free, and I think that’s a really big deal because you normally have to buy in to these kinds of events.”

The couple said they find it important to interact with other makers and are excited that Re:Make will give them the opportunity.

“It’s really such a tight-knit, supportive community,” Kelley Denby said. “You would think that it would be really competitive, but we’re all just kind of trying to make a living.”   

Re:Make’s technology-based theme is geared toward a 20- to 30-year-old audience. 

“The combination of being able to learn how to make things and take them home with you as well as the curation is much different than your traditional craft fair,” Morin said. “It’s not your grandma’s craft fair.”

This article has been updated since its original posting.