Adventures at the World Maker Faire in NYC
Last week I attended the 2nd largest maker faire in the country. It was three days of nonstop action, romance, and betrayal. Well, certainly the first and third.
My friend enlisted me and a few others to help him table for his startup company, Eleframes. For three days we presented connecting picture frames like our lives depended on it. Parents, children, and teachers alike gawked at our wares. Responses ranged from jaw dropped stares of amazement to “why would I ever pay for this?”.
We didn’t have a merchant permit, so instead of selling we built an picture frame assembly line and gave out free kits. Our team cut paper, sorted the cut pieces, and packaged Eleframe kits for all to see. This process became an attraction in itself, drawing just as many visitors as the offer of free picture frames.
Giving away free stuff made our table one of the most popular exhibits at the faire. The wait to make an Eleframes kit exceeded 10 minutes for most of the event. Some people waited for our table without even knowing what we were doing. This lead to more than a few awkward conversations and me wondering if it’s normal for people to get in a line without knowing where it leads.
Clueless visitors aside, we gave away over 600 kits, won two editor’s choice awards, and were invited to several future Maker Faires. Overall, we received a highly positive response. Parents and teachers were especially excited. They saw Eleframes as a way to display class trips and family vacations in order to create a sense of community.