National Maker Day

by , posted on June 18th, 2014 in Features

peggy li necklace

When my kids were little, very little, I ran a small toy company with my sister and mom. We were three women working together to create a line of toys we wished were on the market but weren’t.

My mom would sew and watch Ellie who was just 2 at the time and Jonah who was just a baby. My sister worked long hours; one hand cutting the other sewing. She created patterns and refined them until they were perfect. I helped design products and market the company. It was…nuts.

We had instant success and within a year and a half we had a contract to outsource our production. It cost a ton of money, but we told ourselves it was worth it. But we hadn’t accounted for the immediate loss of some of the product due to a first time run. And we couldn’t keep up with the orders. You’d think it’d be a great problem to have, but it was just stressful. We loved making original and innovative products, but the mass production was too much. It wasn’t right for us.

So we scaled back and got back to our original love—making.

hallie gray designs

Here on Classic Play, you’ll notice we are big makers—makers of art, makers of crafts, makers of life. And I know you are too. Sometimes people don’t get it. I’ve heard some say, “Who has time for that?” when they see a passionate maker. And I get it. Not everyone has the time, energy or inclination. And that’s okay! But for makers? It’s in our soul. It’s who we are. Asking us to stop making would be like asking us to stop breathing. We can’t. And that’s a good thing.

For those readers outside the USA, I sincerely appreciate you allowing me to indulge in a bit of patriotism for the next few minutes…

art by melanie biehle

Since the beginning of our country, Americans have been makers. We revolutionized the transportation industry by our mass productions of cars. We won WWII because we out produced the Germans. We made rockets that put man on the moon and computers that changed the world.

We all need Makers. And Makers need all of us. We need them to make and they need us to buy their wares and invest in their projects. We are stronger together. That’s why I’m excited to work with to connect you with independent makers across the USA and the world.

So go check out some of the incredible things people are making. Help a maker out. We need them.

The makers behind the images…
1. Peggy Li has been making jewelry for over 10 years. She loves simple, feminine lines with whimsical and modern touches .Her work has been seen in magazines such as Lucky and Oprah, as well as on TV shows such as Private Practice, Hart of Dixie, Scandal, The Vampire Diaries and Elementary.

2. After completing degrees in International Relations and Textile Design, Hallie Gray found herself with a love for simple, scaled-back design and an immense respect for the textile traditions of artisans around the world she’d encountered on her travels.

3. Melanie Biehle is an editorial and commercial content creator and artist. In addition to creative strategy/graphic design consulting projects, she also writes and photographs a weekly design column for the KOMO News lifestyle website Seattle Refined. Melanie is inspired by contemporary art, graphic design, photography, color palettes, and travel. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three-and-a-half-year-old son.

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5 Responses to “National Maker Day”

  1. Kati Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I am not a maker but I adore people who have the creativity and motivation to make the world a more wonderful place. Your story is really inspirational. People who say “who has time for that?” are probably the ones sitting in front of the TV which definitely is not a better thing to do.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks Kati! I will say having a line was an education. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about supporting makers now.

    And yes, while I am a HUGE fan of many TV shows, I have to limit myself to only a few. I’m selective about my screen time.

  2. Birute Efe Says:

    June 19th, 2014 at 9:29 am

    My 5 year old daughter calls me Maker and I admire those ‘real makers’ (like from so much and just wish I could be one one day… Since my 2nd child was born I feel necessity to make things even if they don’t turn out the way I imagined… But the process itself is like an air to me too.
    Happy makers day to you too, Jenn. The real maker :) P.S. Do you have any stuff on

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Birute, YOU are real maker! I am in constant awe by all you make. I love it!

    And I don’t have anything on yet. I have some ideas though about what I’d like to make. :)

  3. Melanie Biehle Says:

    June 25th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing my watercolor painting! You’re awesome. xo

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