Guest Editor: Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean Talks Target Collective and the Maker Movement

March 20, 2015 - Article reads in
Michael Williams Walking his Dog

I kept hearing rumblings that Target was looking to work with small companies to form a capsule collection of artisanal goods for guys. With the Maker Movement and American manufacturing being key passions of my blog, A Continuous Lean, I was inspired to learn that my friends at Billykirk and Terrapin Stationers had each become part of this new “makers project” that we now know as Target Collective.

I’ve been a champion of the Maker Movement since I founded A Continuous Lean in 2007. To know the face and place of origin behind the things you buy is a cherished connection that goes beyond a commercial transaction. I’ve spent afternoons on the press floor at Terrapin Stationers with Ted Harrington watching the dying art of engraving thrive with the help of social media. I’ve personally witnessed brothers Chris and Kirk Bray bootstrap their brand, Billykirk, to the height of success in their Jersey City studio. And I’ve supported Target Collective partners Owen & Fred, Taylor Stitch and Duluth Pack as a fan and customer; I’ve been lucky enough to meet the founders and craftspeople, and go behind the scenes to see how their fine things come together.

Meanwhile, many of you may understandably be wondering: What exactly is the Maker Movement? Let me explain: In the past 10 years or so, people in Brooklyn, Chicago, Portland, Austin, Minneapolis and countless other American cities have started hand-making things in small batches, often in a workshop setting (and sometimes out back in the garage!). From leather to woodwork to blown glass and fabric, the success of one homegrown cottage industry inspired others and soon the Maker Movement was born.

Some say the Maker Movement’s rise to prominence stems from the popularity of farm-to-table restaurants and the hyper-local nature of farmers’ markets training consumers in the art of provenance. It could also have been due in part to the way that the Great Recession of 2008 fueled a return to hand-skills and craft. Or it may just be that in our increasingly digital world people wanted to have a more analog connection to both their work and the things they use everyday.

Of course, knowing that items like a perfect button-down shirt or a collection of long-lasting leather goods are American-made is important, but a personal connection to the makers is always worth more to me. And that’s beauty of the Maker Movement and the brands that comprise Target Collective. The craftspeople are front and center, accessible to any and all who are interested.

Michael Williams Target Collective Menswear Clothing and Accessories

Taylor Stitch Men's Slim Chino Pants
Taylor Stitch Men's Cotton Linen Stripe Shirt
Duluth Pack Market Tote
Duluth Pack Scout Bag
BILLYKIRK Leather Card Case with Snap
BILLYKIRK Large Canvas Pencil Case
Terrapin "NOT GOING TO HAPPEN" Notepad

See more great options from Target Collective makers in the gallery below!

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