Local creatives are connecting over a new event for area entrepreneurs in Bismarck-Mandan.
When North Dakota-born photographer and designer Ashton Hauff, owner of Genuine Photography, moved back to the community after graduating from college in Minnesota, she felt like Bismarck was missing a “maker community.”
Hauff defines a “maker” as anyone who uses their skills, creativity and passions for problem solving or to make something new.
Wanting to connect with others who shared her mindset, Hauff came up with Makewell, a three-part event focused on networking, learning and information sharing. The event, the second of its kind taking place Saturday, starts with a social hour then moves into a series of speakers, each with a 15-minute talk followed by a question-and-answer session. After each talk, attendees will break into small six- or seven-person groups for discussion prompted by a set of guided questions. The night ends with entertainment.
The first Makewell event, held in February, focused on branding. This time the theme is “Uncharted” and features snapshots of local entrepreneurs in different stages of their business ventures — the challenges they faced, how they faced them and what they’ve learned.
Beth Schatz Kaylor, former founder of the Big Waffle Truck, will talk to attendees about her decision to step away from the food truck business she had founded.
“There’s a small growing group (of entrepreneurs) doing creative works in Bismarck. I admire what they do,” Schatz Kaylor said of her decision to participate as a speaker, adding that, if her experience can help others in the entrepreneur community, she’s all for it.
Hauff said she’s hopeful having examples of “other makers who have been there, done that and willing to share their experience" will be helpful to the 45 registered attendees.
Attendees are mostly from Bismarck-Mandan, but there are also a number from Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, Dickinson and other areas of the state. In addition, there will be about 20 volunteers and vendors who are also “makers” there to offer their perspectives to the group. Along with the main event, there are two workshops earlier in the day covering pricing strategy and business tools, which have about 17 registered attendees each.
Hauff said she initiated the first Makewell event with no plans for a second one but, even then, attendees already were asking when the next event would take place.
“So it was pretty clear this was something Bismarck has been waiting for and would like to see again,” she said. “They didn’t realize how many ‘makers’ were in the community … Often, you feel like you’re the only person doing what you do.”
Registration has closed for the Saturday event but plans for a potential fall event are in the making. Those interested in learning more about the Makewell community are encouraged to sign up for the newsletter online at www.wearemakewell.com/.