Building Girls Guild

(or, How We’re Making a Community of Makers)

But first, a shameless plug.

We’ve entered Girls Guild in the GOODMaker Art Everyday Challenge in hopes of funding our pilot and launch, and voting ends soon (03/30 at noon PST). Please, pretty please, lend us your vote.

Girls Guild

Thank you!

Anyway. What is all this? How did we get to this point? Three months ago Girls Guild was a nebulous idea manifested only on Post-it notes–thousands of them, whole walls of them, but a flimsy, fluttery foundation nonetheless. Mere weeks ago it had graduated to become a design, a fledgling prototype taking its first steps into the wide world… or at least, the world wide web. Now, it’s a service. It is (although personally I still feel wildly audacious saying it) a business. At least, it will be, once we pilot.

For right now, what it really is, is this: Girls Guild is a community bringing together girls with artists and makers for an apprenticeship in the skills and practice of making.

That could change tomorrow. Pieces of it probably will. But that’s what we’re working on this quarter: refining the business model to its essence so that we can pilot it, test it, and then continue refining and testing until we’ve found the seed of something we can grow.

This is not an easy process.

We didn’t expect it to be, but still. It’s hard to expect the emotional grip of the roller coaster until you’re on the ride. I know that’s a clichéd metaphor, but I like it anyway because it’s really very apt:

roller coaster

The above is a generalized diagram of our process. The specifics, for us, include repeated refocusing of our service to hone in on making the connection between girls and artists/makers, while cutting out ourselves as mediators as much as possible. That has required us to rethink our pricing and revenue model, which was hazy to begin with, then oversimplified for a while, but is finally starting to take shape, we think. Maybe. Meanwhile we’re actively recruiting artists to lead pilot sessions over the coming month, and pursuing contacts at schools and youth organizations who might be able to help us spread the word to teenage girls and get them interested.

Along with all of that, we’re also trying to look a little further down the road to plan our launch after we graduate in May, which means putting together a solid business model, practicing our pitches, and thinking about possibilities for funding. We expect to have to get creative about this, since typical investment tracks seem much better suited to profit-driven tech start-ups than to a social enterprise like ours. That’s what leads us to things like the challenge posted above. We’ll continue to explore our options as we look to launch and grow, but for now even a small amount would be a big help in getting started.

Wanna lend a hand?

Please vote. 😉