Even though it doesn’t have a lot to do with the “Maker-Movement” per se, I’d still like to talk about another quite amazing service.
Let’s take a look at the concept of shapeways.com for a second. The special thing (besides the whole 3D printing magic) is all the service around it. The company lets you upload a file and takes care of all the procurement, production, shop and logistics, which enables you to focus on the design only. Even if you do not want to sell your stuff, it is still a huge thing, because it gives you access to production techniques you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Shapeways does that for 3D printing, but last time we talked about the Vynil cutter and that you can create cool T-Shirts with it, so let’s take a short detour in that direction.
Now do me a favour and follow this link (even though it sounds like a porn-website…)
What you are seeing there is what can happen to shapeways.com.
Redbubble works exactly the same, artists/designers can upload their files and choose with which technique and on which type of shirt their art can be printed on and how much the markup on the shirt-price should be. Redbubble then takes care of production and shipping.
Some people might just use it to create the shirts for their chess-club, their soccer-team.
That is the pragmatic and standard use for it, but what it also did was building a community, enabling artists to make some money out of their hobby. Redbubble also, from a marketing-perspective built the brand for the people that do not want to buy any brand, it is the to a certain extent, and “anti-brand”. (Some designers also build a reputation inside this eco-system, so it is not 100% true, but it makes it possible to cover incredibly small niches)
Happy Making, or rather printing ;)