Dyer and Jenkins "Forge Your Own Path" series is all about American Makers and Do'ers. We love people who have travelled off the beaten path and taken the entrepreneurial plunge. It's very important for us to spread the word about them so that other people may find and appreciate their talents. We believe that it is not only our duty to produce American Made items, but it is also our responsibility to spread the word about others who are doing the same thing.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am Lindsey Smith; Louisiana native, rambler, and founder of Makers Workshop, a website focused on quality handcrafted goods and the skills passed down from generation to generation. I am also a stylist, brand consultant, and mom to 4 year old Oliver.
When were you born, where?
I was born on November 10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I'm a total Scorpio.
What were your hobbies growing up?
Oh! I was (am still) such an old soul. I collected antique hankies and played 19th century songs on my violin when most girls were playing with Barbies. I was also a major tomboy and lived outside, rollerblading and collecting rocks.At age 6, I started Scottish dance and did so until I was in College. I've always loved Scottish culture....and plaid. All of that had a major impact on me and the things I love now. I am probably the only kid who ever had an 8th birthday party on a Sunday so I could go to a historic church with my friends and then have a picnic at a plantation. But I grew up with an extensive knowledge of old things and their craft and of an era of ideals that I think we are all working towards.
Did you go to college?
Yes, I graduated in 2007 with a degree in Merchandising and Consumer Studies.
How did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been an artist of sorts. In college, my passion was fashion design. After graduation, I threw myself into the visual world of Anthropologie for several years. Later, I would take on event styling, jewelry, woodcraft, and anything else I could get my hands on. All the while, I was tormented by one simple fact; There was not one single thing that I loved enough to do just that. When anyone would ask what I wanted to do, my answer was simply, "I want to do it all."
Why did you choose this path?
A few years ago, I began working as a buyer for a retail store in Louisiana. This brought me to several trade shows each year in cities across the USA. With each buying trip, I was disheartened by what I had to choose from for our customers. Everything had a gimmick, was made overseas, and the sales rep knew little to nothing about the product in front of them. I knew this wasn't the way it should be. If I wasn't connecting, then certainly our customers wouldn't! But, every once in a while, I would discover a brand so full of heart and purpose that I wanted to run out of the building shouting in exclamation! My fast heart beat and admittedly sweaty palms told me THIS was how it should be.
One day, sitting in my home office, a little light bulb went off and almost instantly the name, MAKERS WORKSHOP, came to me. I started the blog that day and haven't looked back since.
Ask me today what I want to do and I will still reply, "I want to do it all." Working closely with all of these makers gives me that and inspires me every single day.
How do you try to create change through business and in your personal life?
I enjoy partnering with brands that align with our mission and aesthetic. My hope is that enough people are passionate about this purpose and want to do something about it. Who knows what great things will happen from this little idea. It has the power to be pretty big if we let it. As with everything we do, it is necessary for us to make sure that if we were putting our name on something, it was something of quality. We work with artists of all types; some are very small independent operations and others have accounts worldwide.
What causes–not necessarily organizations, but just adversities do you try to understand and have others understand–do you hold close to your heart?
We all have our own struggles built in. I have a slew of medical problems that can sometimes make my work difficult. It's always important to me, to maintain a sort of transparency about that with my readers. There's great community in sharing with other's who understand and go through a similar pain. There is also great strength in understanding you are not alone in whatever your own adversity might be. Social media has a way of making everyone seem like movie stars. They're not. I'm not.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Our good friend Hall Newbegin of Juniper Ridge told me once, "My dreams aren’t about getting bigger, I dream about staying small and being more specific." And that is what I hope for Makers Workshop.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a fellow creative?
We are all in this together. Trust me, whoever you think has it all together, they don't. Ask almost any entrepreneur and they will tell you stories of struggle. We are all just figuring this out as we go and doing it the best that we can. The greatest thing we can do is admit our faults and strengths and help each other in that. We're lucky, 30 years ago creatives had such a private outlook on their business and no one shared anything for fear of competition. Now, we have this incredible community of makers willing and eager to share what they know and have learned along the way. How amazing is that?!
Why do you feel Made in America is so important?
We live in an age when we cannot even walk to the mailbox without some sort of product being pushed on us. I think we are at the point where we want the story, we want to be moved to buy something. At Makers Workshop, we try to give you that. We have never been the blog to visit for daily posts. Quality is always better than quantity in our eyes and that is something we will always maintain. There are thousands of Made in America products out there and while we love that, Made in America to us is not a trend or fleeting idea. Made in America is quality handcrafted goods and the skills passed down from generation to generation. We're at this crucial point, I think where the last generation of real makers are passing and we are at a great risk of losing many of these trades. It's our job to not only preserve them, but to do it well. The timelessness and soul of those products is what makes our heart skip a beat (and we think yours too!)
What’s your favorite book of all time?
Of all time..... that's far too difficult. I do have a book of collected works of John Muir that I carry with me always.
If there was one movie you could go back and watch all over again as if you’ve never seen it before; what would it be?
I'm the worst when It comes to movies. I don't have cable and never go to the cinema. There are classics like E.T. and Star Wars I've never seen. My favorite, I suppose, has and always will be Pride and Prejudice. The A&E version with Colin Firth. The Regency era has always been very beautiful to me. In reality thought, I'd never choose a movie to watch over and over. Can I just relive the experience of seeing Mt. Rainier for the first time over and over? That place has some sort of magic over me!
If you have any suggestions for our Forge Your Own Path Series please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org