TGW Business Spotlight: ADX Portland
ADX Portland, a unique maker space in the Pacific Northwest, features Wood and metal shops, design studios and labs, and craft classes, among other things. People of all backgrounds come together in this collaborative space to learn new skills, share their talents, build companies and ideas, and to grow the Portland community.
How do you decide what classes to offer?
ADX: Our process for developing new classes is a four-step process that includes idea generation, market research, cost analysis, and test runs.
First, we gather ideas for classes from feedback and requests from our members and/or the general public, pitches from instructors for classes that fill a gap in our current catalog, and/or ideas generated by staff based on gaps we see in our catalog. Next, we decide the theme of the class we then do market research to see what is being offered already in our community. After that, we do a cost analysis to figure out how much the class will cost us and therefore how much we will need to charge for tickets. Finally, if a class idea passes all of these steps then we throw it up for a test run with our work-trade members and use their feedback to finalize the curriculum.
What are some of the most unique projects that have come out of ADX Portland?
ADX :The two most unique projects to come out of ADX are Charlie Haughey's Spheres and Portland Razor Company hand-made straight razors. Charlie creates his spheres from 100% scrap wood from our scrap bins and trash cans. His largest sphere took over 755 hours to complete and is one of 8 that he has created. Portland Razor Company developed and produced their straight razors in the shop until they became successful enough to move into their own manufacturing space.
How has the community responded?
ADX: The response from the community has been incredible! I never get tired of seeing the look in people's eyes when they first walk into the shop and see all the tools and projects. We've worked with hundreds of local businesses as partners, members, and clients and received countless articles in the press locally, nationally, and internationally. We were even asked to go to Australia to teach their local economic development agencies and universities how to open spaces like ours. Portland is a unique city that draws in creatives by the droves -- and ADX is a hub for that community of makers, thinkers, and doers.
What does social good mean to ADX Portland?
ADX: It's hard to nail down one definition of social good for our ADX community. However, our mission focuses on creating a space and environment where anyone can express their creative ideas in whichever form they desire. Whether it be facilitating the development and growth of a small business, giving space for artists to experiment, or providing the tools and knowledge necessary for the average person to become competent enough to build or repair the functional objects in their lives. This central mission ties into many different "social good" areas such as sustainability, community empowerment, creative nurturing, safe spaces, etc.
Looking ahead, what does the future look like for ADX Portland?
ADX: We hope to continue to refine and perfect the processes that make our company tick as well as to continue to expand our services to new and diverse communities. Also, In Feb of 2017, we will open the doors to our new 10,000sf manufacturing incubator space where seven businesses will work to develop their products alongside our team of experts. We hope to continue producing small maker businesses over the lifetime of ADX and will be working closely with City and State officials to make sure that the Portland business environment stays attractive for creatives and makers.