WA small businesses founded on community and craft

Crosscut's newest video series Made There digs into the passions, stories and tricks of the trade behind artisans local to Kitsap County.

A person holding a camera to a man holding a glass

Jordan Berns (left) holds the camera as Silver City Brewery graphic designer and marketing manager Dan Frantz (right) shows how beer ingredients influence the flavor profile. (Sarah Hoffman / Crosscut)

When we began the process of adding a new short video series to the Crosscut lineup, I thought back to work I had done for a film about startup ecosystems around the world. Founder stories are inspirational in a lot of ways. With elements of passion, struggle, fortitude and synchronicity, the founder story is one that offers the highs and lows that a great underdog tale requires. This admiration and respect for local creators led to the development of our latest series, Made There.

Shifting away from tech and biz dev, we wanted to focus on smaller business communities in the Pacific Northwest. Our hope was to meet founders and small business owners, county by county, so we could shine a light on local artisans while closing the gap between maker and consumer. We began in Kitsap County, a peninsula that nearly 300,000 people call home. Resting in the Puget Sound between Seattle and the Olympic Mountains, Kitsap County offers small cities and rolling farmland, forest hikes and beaches. It’s a tight-knit area of small towns where farm stands and weekend markets can be found nearly year-round. Besides their shared home base, the makers we met in Kitsap County had something in common. Each maker expressed a broader purpose behind what they were doing – it’s more than a job or a small business. Life simply feels more authentic and true for these artisans when they’re able to create.

Made There was originally meant to highlight the artistry of small batch makers but what we uncovered were passions ranging from waste mitigation to organic and hyperlocal purchasing, plus there was a heavy emphasis on community, charitable giving and connection. The intention of making another person happy was evident throughout the process. Everyone who participated in the series spoke about an aha! moment or serendipity and the stars aligning. These makers feel a true calling to be doing the work and each of them, in their own way, are hoping to make the world, or at least their community, a better place. 

It takes a village to be successful and the contributions to Made There reach far and wide, from the makers to the production team and to the viewer. It’s been a lot of fun seeing this little series come to life and my hope is that these artisans inspire others in some way. Whether it’s starting down the path toward developing a business or organization, deepening involvement in a cause, or simply finding a way to make a positive connection with another person, the makers of Made There offer plenty of wisdom for those of us ready to receive.


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