Jodi’s Journal: Announcing 605 Made

By Jodi Schwan

If you’ve ever experienced what it’s like to create something out of nothing, you’ll know what I mean when I tell you about my latest project.

Because, really, it has been more than a month since I launched SiouxFalls.Business. Why wouldn’t it be time for something new?

Mostly, it’s because I already feel like it’s time to give back.

One of my proudest accomplishments in business has been launching the brand Sioux Falls Made. I thought it up a few years ago, and the Argus Leader let me run with it. Through my business coverage, we highlighted a unique brand of entrepreneurs I had started seeing all around me – stories of local “makers” – who represent homegrown talent and creativity.

They are artists and chefs, designers and coders, small farmers and salvagers. You won’t find their work anywhere else, and often no two products are alike. In addition to telling their stories, I partnered with local makers Kyle and Stacy Wengler to organize pop-up markets where those makers could sell their work. For many, the markets became the first time their products ever had been publicly sold.

The 2016 holiday makers’ market

With a little publicity boost from us and merchandising/selling help from the Wenglers, we watched some of our community’s smallest entrepreneurs find markets for their work. Many now sell their products in retail stores around this region.

But we think we can do even better.

So we are launching 605 Made. As the name suggests, our goal is to become broader. While we’re based in Sioux Falls, we want to connect consumers in this area with locally made items from across our diverse and talented state.

We also want to inject our own creativity into new events with the same local flavor.

And because when I have an idea, I tend to move fast, we’re going to start now.

Our first event will be May 1 and give shoppers the chance to build a one-of-a-kind May Day basket.

For $30, we’ll provide you an empty basket and a chance to shop local. You can fill your basket with an assortment of $5, $10, $15 and $20 items priced at or below retail value with all sales going directly to our makers. We’ll pre-fill your basket with some surprises, too.

Spots are limited, so reserve your basket now for the chance to shop.

Then on May 1, step into the transformed atrium of The First National Bank in Sioux Falls downtown, and start filling your basket. Enjoy local music and special deals from some of our partners. Create a paper basket with candy and handmade flowers to deliver to your neighbor, co-worker or friend in the true tradition of May Day.

Our pre-sold basket buyers will shop first, starting at 5:30 p.m., and at 7 p.m. the doors will open to all for a final hour of selling.

We’ll be announcing future 605 Made events soon, too.

You know how I said many of our makers have gone on to bigger things in retail?

Well, that’s the case with Kyle and Stacy, too. They opened their own business, Knotty Gnome Variety & Salvage, in Hartford last year, selling handmade items and offering classes. I would have never thought when I met them a few years ago that we would end up collaborating as small-business owners, and I’m privileged they decided to partner with me in this endeavor.

We’ll be announcing a limited number of corporate partners for 605 Made soon, too. These will be businesses uniquely rooted in our community that share our excitement for the maker movement and all its possibilities.

I’ll never forget the first time I watched thousands of shoppers crowded into a garage to shop our first makers’ market. I’m far from a creator of anything other than ideas and stories, but it gave me a sense of how makers must feel watching something that existed only in their minds come to life.

As most makers would tell you, connecting to this movement isn’t about making a bunch of money. It’s about tapping and spreading a different type of wealth – the kind that enriches a community through connecting those who live here with the unique talents of their neighbors. I’m just glad there’s plenty of space for storytelling along the way.

Thank you, in advance, for supporting all things 605-made – from my products to the ones we’re about to share with you. I hope to see you May 1!

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Jodi’s Journal: Announcing 605 Made

Introducing 605 Made, an expanded effort to promote South Dakota makers.

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