Makers Find a Way

Mayor Rogero, 2019 Maker City Summit, Mill and Mine, Knoxville, September 2019
Many of us have had to adapt in one or multiples ways in the current pandemic. We’ve had to find new ways to work, shop, take care of and potentially educate our children. We’ve even learned to scour the earth for that last roll of toilet paper.

Imagine you were one of our city’s “makers.” At first blush, this might seem a perfect set up for a maker. With all the extra time as businesses are shut down and we’re sitting at home, it’s a perfect opportunity to make to your heart’s content! But what about selling those items? The shops that would normally carry them have been closed. The festivals which would feature them were canceled. The Market Square Farmers’ Market has had to eliminate non-food items for now.

Knox Makers, 116 Childress, Knoxville, March 2017
Well makers are creative by nature, so they’ve started figuring it out. Yesterday I was contacted by two people, independent of each other, associated with the Maker Movement. Dominique Oakley contacted me saying she wanted to give Urban Woman and I handmade masks, which we very much appreciate. I also heard from Anne Templeton, the Mayor’s Maker City Liaison. She offered an update on some of the efforts underway in the maker community.
Here’s Anne:
The Maker movement has been growing quickly in Knoxville for many years. The Maker City was formalized five years ago and has grown to include makers throughout the city and promotes makers of all kinds. The Maker City Directory is one resource that is open to all makers and provides an easy access point for consumers to find makers for any variety of needs including, gifts, fabrication of all kinds and even music and video work. It’s the place people should check first, when they want to shop local.


When the distancing and stay-at-home recommendations began, this instantly put makers at risk – brick & mortar businesses were closed and craft markets were canceled. This is one of the busiest times for many makers. In response, The Maker City created two programs to serve the needs of makers.


The Maker Meet-in takes place each Thursday, via zoom. The link is found in our FB events. It is intended to connect and provide an educational outlet for makers during this time. We’ve discussed the CARES Act with Haseeb Quereshi, created organization with Samantha Day, learned to manage anxiety with Booth Andrews along with other discussions, which can be found on our blog.

This Thursday, we are hosting a discussion between restaurants/small businesses and makers: “Building Knoxville’s New Normal, Together.” It will be facilitated by Forrest Kirkpatrick, of Fork Design. The goal of the meet-in is to determine the best way for the two groups to continuously stay in contact. As businesses reopen, they will discover needs they didn’t know they had. How can makers assist in their success?


We are always open to more meet-in topic ideas and accept them through this form.


The second program created is the Monday Maker Marketplace. It is an offshoot (of sorts) from The Maker City Directory. We post five items made by a variety of makers each Monday, on our Instagram page. We invite the community to come and bid on those items. When the bidding ends, at 8pm, the transaction is then handled between the winner and the artist. This idea came directly from the loss of markets. We want makers to stay top of mind in the community and this is an opportunity for the makers to sell and generate a little bit of revenue. Makers can sign up to be a part of the marketplace here.


The Maker City is led by The Mayor’s Maker Council, a group of makers, who seek to grow the connection between makers and help them make a living doing what they love. The Maker City’s mission is to promote equity in our creative economy by fostering relationships between makers and consumers, by building networks of public, technological, and financial resources, and by creating educational opportunities and partnerships. We are part of the connective tissue between makers and consumers as well as makers and the business community.


Please support these folks as you are able. There is no more local way to show your love than by buying items made in Knoxville by Knoxville Makers.

Weekly Giveaway:

This week I’m purchasing a $25 gift card to Barley’s and another $25 gift card to Tree and Vine. To enter send an email to with the subject header “Barley’s Gift Card Giveaway” or “Tree and Vine Gift Card Giveaway,” depending on which you want to enter. The deadline to enter is midnight Friday night.

Same rules as before: “like” Knoxville Page on Facebook to help us help local businesses and donate at least $10 to something supporting COVID efforts or to someone impacted by the pandemic. Confirm in the email that you’ve done both and tell me how much and to whom you donated. Each entry requires its own donation. If you cannot donate at this time, enter anyway and just say so. It’s all good. The contest runs until midnight Friday night.

In the meantime, if you’d like to have access to multiple local gift card purchase options at once, visit Knoxville Page. If you’d like to have your business represented there, send me an email at and I’ll connect you up. During this difficult time, all money for gift cards goes directly to the business you choose to support.