#MakerCrushMonday: Meet Ben Uyeda, Concrete Designer, Eco-Friendly Architect and Maker Extraordinaire
Architect, furniture designer and business owner Ben Uyeda is insanely inspiring. From democratizing the world of responsible, eco-friendly design to coming up with dozens of new ways to work with basic materials like concrete and metal, he is revolutionizing the concept of making in the home.
Ben’s been a longtime member of the Brit + Co family. Two years ago, he joined us as a DIY contributor and today, we’re pumped to announce the launch of our DIY Concrete Design Class, taught expertly by Ben. Stay tuned for more deets on that!
If you hit us up yesterday, you may have seen my seaside jaunt with this awesome maker. Now, it’s time to learn more about Ben, what inspires him, why he started HomeMade Modern and how he sees the future of making changing in the next decade.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
Seeing how cheap furniture was made from particle board and plastic inspired me to try and create affordable design made from real materials. I get inspired by constraints. I like designing things that can be made with common materials and a limited number of tools. These constraints are inspiring because they define the boundaries of accessibility.
Tell us about HomeMade Modern.
I created HomeMade Modern as a way to deliver design ideas and experiments directly to consumers. Typically financial, manufacturing, and logistical infrastructure separate designers from consumers who experience their work as finished projects. I deliver design in the form of digital media content, which lets me directly interact with consumers.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Precision can be ugly. The minute we were able to make perfectly formed plastic objects is the minute when we started to appreciate the flaws of hand-hewn natural materials.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
The 3D printers in my studio get a lot of attention, but i would argue that things like Pinterest that virally spread visual ideas are far more impactful to my day to day.
What’s on your studio playlist?
This is my new favorite song.
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
When I wake up I have a coffee and sit down with my sketchbook. No social media or emails, just caffeine and ideas.
What do you love about teaching people to make? And inspiring people who don’t think they are traditionally creative?
Anytime I show someone how to make something there is a good chance they will show me how to make differently or better. I like teaching because a shared idea is one that others can improve upon.
We love the idea of looking at teaching and learning as a way of constantly iterating and improving on ideas, design and craft. Looking for more concrete action? Here are FIVE more ways for you to get up close and personal with Ben Uyeda.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.