Makerviews exists to share the stories of and advice from a variety of talented makers, designers, and artists.
Miniviews series - No. 37 with Nathan Martin
You’ve landed on the thirty-seventh installment of the Maker Miniviews (mini, two question interviews) series. Learn more about these maker interviews and view a list of all Miniviews.
Nathan Martin is the dedicated and hard-working founder of Go Forth Goods - handmade leather goods company based out of Marietta, Georgia. With a background in marketing, branding, photography, and more, he carries that foundation into his current work.
Check out this interview with Nathan Martin.
I'm a Maker Because...
Nathan Martin interview
What inspires you to keep making things?
"I owned my own marketing firm from 2001 to 2016. I did branding, web, photo and video. When I started Go Forth Goods I was doing it on the side in the evenings until I got it off the ground and it could be my full time company. I had the idea to start the company in Feb 2014. I officially started selling my products in March 2014 one month later.
I would stop doing my marketing company work around 5:00 and then hang out with my family until they went to bed at 8:00-9:00 and would work until 12:00-1:00 in the morning. I would go down in my garage that I had set up with a single work table with some basic hand tools. My first products were wallets, key fobs, mason jar mugs and belts. I used social media and word of mouth to market things and put every dime back into the company to buy more leather, tools etc. I also put a lot of that money in the bank so that I would have a cash flow cover any slow months once I went full time.
I spent the next 6 months perfecting my craft and creating more products. The company steadily grew and that Christmas I sold enough in that 5 weeks from Black Friday till New Years that I could finally see the hope of making enough to live off the income. 5 months later I hired my first full time employee and 2 months after that I went full time with GFG and was only doing the marketing part time. And as they say...the rest is history."
What one piece of advice would you give to other makers?
"My best advice is to be unique. There are so many leather crafters now and they mostly look the same. If you want to really do this full time you have to be different in the market.
My second piece of advice is to realize that nothing comes easy thats worth doing, so if you really want this, then make a plan and stick with it. While your friends are hanging out, relaxing you're going to be working, hustling to get the company successful. Those are the ones who succeed. The ones who sacrifice and put forth the effort that others aren’t.
Then the third thing is you must be able to adapt and change when necessary. Business rarely stays the same for long, so being able to see where you need to change course is huge to being successful and staying successful."
Makers don’t do well in a factory.
- Sawdust-filled garages, basements, and sheds best suit us
Makers thrive on shaping their craft while burning the midnight oil.
Has your making starting as burning the midnight oil, too? It seems so common of a start to crafts, passions, and handmade pursuits like Nathan’s.
Heed his sound advice of “…if you really want this, then make a plan and stick with it.” and always follow this plan. On that same note, it’s important for makers to ensure that we do not burn ourselves out - burnout is very real.
Most importantly along your journey: never stop making things!
"...being able to see where you need to change course is huge to being successful..." — Nathan Martin
Thank you all for reading this article, now get out there and make things!
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"If you want to really do this full time you have to be different in the market..." - Nathan Martin