It’d be a lie to say we weren’t obsessed with DIY. Not only does making something yourself (or with a group of friends… did someone say Par-DIY?) give a sense of accomplishment, it provides you with a totally unique and one-of-a-kind product. In addition to the ever-evolving and amazing Brit Kits, there’s another kit company kindred to the Brit + Co shop. It’s sustainable and eco-friendly Grow and Make. Owner and founder Will Johnston creates the kits in order to “restore that part of our culture that has lost touch with a part of our heritage and humanity, which is the act of making.” Read on to learn more about his kits, ranging from mason jar candle-making to mustard and kombucha making.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I spent most of my life in Santa Cruz, California, and I have a background in high-tech startups and entrepreneurial ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. I moved to Portland with my wife to raise our family. I am an avid soccer player and coach, learning to play the piano, surf and balance my life between raising kids and running my business.
Why did you decide to start Grow and Make?
I started Grow and Make to be a part of the emerging maker and sustainability cultures. After having worked in software and Internet businesses, I wanted to do something that was more tactile and hands-on. I also find that DIY kits are products which excite and inspire customers.
Tell us how the kits are sustainable.
The whole premise of the business is that if we all grow and make more of what we consume, we are acting in an inherently sustainable manner. As a business, we have as a part of our DNA a commitment to sustainability. We know it’s not possible for any company to be 100% sustainable, but it’s possible to give consideration to it in all aspects of your decision making. Some ways we’ve decided to differentiate ourselves in a sustainable way include purchasing organic materials whenever possible, shipping in recyclable boxes, using soy based inks whenever possible, paying our team livable wages, creating our kits with only what is necessary to create the product as well as including materials that can be re-used.
Currently, what is your favorite DIY kit and why?
Right now, the Mustard Making Kit is probably my favorite, because it’s our most recently updated. Mustard is one of the easiest and most interesting ways to spice up a dish or starter plate. I’m really excited for the newly developed flavors, including raspberry, honey mustard, wine mustard, fiery hot chipotle, sweet and spicy beer mustard and classic yellow. Creating recipes for this kit has been fun and is a perfect way to transition from summertime sandwiches to fall harvest dishes. Additionally, the jars can be re-used for re-filling your kit when you want more mustard supplies or for canning season!
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
The connectivity we can have through our site and through our blog really helps us explain our mission to consumers as well as those interested in learning more about living sustainably. Our online articles allow us to share information and ideas with people searching for ways to DIY their life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Creating a sustainable company doesn’t always mean you have to go to extremes for a green product. It’s about simple sustainable solutions along the way to reduce excess or use of harmful materials for the environment.
Ready to get Growing and Making? The Brit + Co Shop has got your kits!