Make Shop is a creative space that provides affordable, approachable, and relatable digital fabrication services.
Our store has developed organically over the last six years with the addition of services that encompass the needs of our ever growing creative audience. Our services are used by students, creative individuals and both local and international companies.
Our approachable studio is nestled in Auckland’s creative community; K’road. Alongside our digital fabrication services we also host social and community based events and hands on workshops as a way to connect people through gatherings.
As architecture and design students, Alan and I (Helen) were frustrated with the lack of digital fabrication services available to students especially at their peak times of need. Being immersed in university ourselves we understood the intense nature of creative study and found there was a serious need for digital fabrication service that would truely cater to creative students. During hand in periods it was impossible to find somewhere that would be able to get jobs done within a tight timeframe, at times students would have to wait until the next day of business just to find out that they wouldn't make the deadline, services were fully booked, or too expensive.
We knew that we could pioneer services that would better satisfy students and aid their creative process. With this in mind we managed to scrounge up enough funds and purchased a laser cutter without much thought as to where to put it.
Both of us were 21 at the time. Alan had recently graduated from Auckland University with a bachelors in Architectural studies and was studying a Masters of Architecture and I had recently graduated from a Bachelors of graphic design. With our laser cutting machine sitting on the docks in Auckland and one week until its release from customs, we found and leased a tiny rough gem of a store on K'road, the creative heart of Auckland.
After gutting and refitting the store we opened in July 2013 with a boutique store front selling our handmade wares and a backroom laser cutting service.
It quickly became apparent that if we wanted to pursue our original goal of better satisfying students digital fabrication needs we would have to get more machines. Over the next 6 years we purchased another laser cutting machine, a vinyl cutter, three large format printers, a CNC milling machine, an embroidery machine and two 3D printers. Our boutique store front also transformed, we designed and build all of the fit out, from as little as designing and building the roller wheels for our custom built cabinet (to the whole cabinet), to building a cast for our concrete sink and casting it; transforming it into a workshop space in which we could host creative classes and events.
Our mission when we started Make Shop was to create a space to provide affordable, approachable, and relatable digital fabrication services that aided the creative process of students. After 6 years in business many of the student who came to us in their university years are now out in the workforce, our services have shifted accordingly to accommodate the needs of creative individuals and both local and international companies. We are always looking for new ways to improve and diversify our services to aid our customers and their creative process.