Kate Sofis, Founding Executive Director, SFMade/Urban Manufacturing Alliance
Matthew Burnett, Chief Executive Officer, Maker's Row
Greg Lindsay, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute (Moderator)
Matthew Burnett is a Detroit native whose grandfather inspired his interest in manufacturing, as he was a watchmaker by trade. Matthew received a BFA in industrial design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 2007. He began his professional career designing watches for Marc Jacobs, DKNY, and Diesel. After working in the watch industry, he decided to start his own line, Steel Cake, having watches made overseas. Though previously designing and overseeing production for big brands, he found that manufacturing as an independent brand overseas would be a much different experience. Extended turnaround periods, language barriers, and continuous manufacturing errors brought the Steel Cake Watch line to a close. In 2010, Burnett decided to start a line of leather goods (The Brooklyn Bakery) using domestic manufacturers in order to maintain control over the quality of production and form closer relationships with the suppliers and contractors. In 2011 Burnett partnered with Tanya Menendez on The Brooklyn Bakery to manage sales and operations. After pairing with Burnett on the accessories brand, Menendez suggested that they develop a resource that would assist designers in finding American manufacturers. With Burnett’s background in manufacturing and Menendez’s experience with operations, they began to develop the blueprint for what is today, Maker’s Row.
Kate Sofis is the Founding Executive Director of SFMade/Urban Manufacturing Alliance