Photo by M. Fischetti via Visit Philadelphia
We’re proud to say that our Dwell 2nd Street apartment community is located in a city and neighborhood full of innovative creators.
Our new neighbor NextFab is setting up shop to provide rentable spaces, machinery, education and professional services for makers building their businesses and aspiring their dreams. We had the chance to speak with Marketing Manager Rebecca Ledbetter and North Philadelphia Location Manager & Jewelry Supervisor Melissa Guglielmo to learn all about NextFab’s unique mission to create and sustain an artistic network.
What exactly is NextFab?
NextFab is a space built with its inhabitants in mind. It has been purpose-built to serve the needs of artisan entrepreneurs, providing tailored programming to drive their businesses, enhanced shop space to create their products and goods, flexible studio and storage solutions and more. NextFab provides not only the physical tools, equipment and spaces, but also the educated staff and resources to market and continue businesses.
Aside from using the workspace for personal ventures, NextFab also offers a wide array of classes and workshops for members to attend ranging from woodworking to 3D printing. The goal of these classes is to certify safe use of the machines and provide a skill set to start working on personal, independent projects. As a bonus, students join a unique community of passionate and collaborative makers who share with and learn from each other. If the group vibe isn’t your style, private training and support from experts is customizable to each maker’s specific skills and goals.
Why our neighborhood?
Philadelphia is a city teeming with creative energy and enthusiastic artists, making it the perfect location for NextFab to curate their community. As Ledbetter says, “At the core of our mission, we’re seeking to create the future of making, while also making the world a better place, starting with the Philadelphia ecosystem.”
NextFab’s previous location on 4th and Thompson was within the South Kensington neighborhood, but when the community outgrew the current space, they knew they wanted to stay local. Their new building can be found at 1800 American Street, complete with vast warehouse space, parking lots and city infrastructure improvements to continue to expand and thrive.
This new location not only allows NextFab to join an already existing and growing creative cluster along this corridor, but also to curate a hub of businesses within the building itself. NextFab has partnered with organizations like The Resource Exchange and the Center for Creative Works to build an internal support network for creatives from different disciplines.
Who are the current creators?
NextFab loves seeing members of their community flourish in their artistic business ventures. Alex Kachenko, a local professional potter/ceramics artist, came to NextFab to learn about 3D printing to make stamps for his practice. After taking a WoodShop class, he was inspired to make wooden tools for claywork and began mass selling them.
Others join to access the equipment they need to expand upon their current skill sets. Khai Van joined NextFab in the Fall of 2018 to learn and use the laser cutting and engraving equipment. He creates intricate, laser-cut diorama bookends, which he places in the middle of stacks of books called “book nooks,” showcasing the idea that there’s a story within these works.
Some members join NextFab with an already successful business in order to access tools to better mass produce their products. Kate Leibrand of TWEE already had a thriving business of mixing and creating sidewalk chalk for kids in a variety of fun shapes. She and her team came to NextFab to learn digital software and 3D printing to create molds to help their process of mass producing chalk to fulfill the influx of orders.
How do I sign up?
NextFab offers several different membership options fit for each individual’s personal needs. For those looking to build a business, the Stand Membership level or an Ultimate Membership is the best bet since it allows an unlimited number of days to access the space at any NextFab location. If you’re looking to build your business on the side, one of the membership levels that offer a certain number of days per month is your best bet.
All of the membership tiers allow access to any of the three NextFab locations, access to all of NextFab’s shops, studios and equipment, the talented member community and expert staff and the learning tools, resources and classes.
NextFab is incredibly excited to join our bustling community, and we’re thrilled to have the creative space only a few blocks away from Dwell 2nd Street. Stop by their open houses on March 18 and 19 to tour the new facility, and don’t forget to schedule a hard hat tour of our brand-new luxury apartment community while you’re in the neighborhood.