Workspace Essentials for Makers

 It’s been estimated that the average person will spend one-third of their life at work. So it makes sense that we want to find work that is meaningful and brings us joy. If that’s too much of a leap for now (we each have our own journey to take, right?), we should at least find ways to make our workspaces, well, work for us. 

We all want our workspace to be a place of inspiration and productivity. Having our essentials and our sources of inspo that keep us working (aside from those bills!) is one way to make sure it stays that way. Your essentials of course, can include the team you rely on like Jan Verceles for her cosmetics and skincare brand Dear Self Beauty. It can be all your furry friends like Danger in Design’s Elly Ang with her dogs. But the two of them, and other makers like them also have other must-haves they keep close by to stay productive and inspired.

1. Organizers, shelves or storage spaces.

You lose a great deal of time when you’re disorganized. Where do you put the printouts for the orders, those tubes of paint or boxes of beads? Is everything you need within reach or are they spread out somewhere in the four corners of your office? Jan says that product organizers and wooden baskets keep their studio organized and they get to maximize space. We saw how she does it and she makes it look easy with how organized her set up is.

 2. Spacious tables.

If you work with many tools or materials, or you just prefer to have loads of elbow room when you work, it makes sense to have a large table. “They’re very essential for packing and production,” says Jan when they need to pack the many orders online for their tints, balm, and other clever multi-use makeup products.

3. Books!

When you feel stuck and in a creative rut, it’s always advisable to be able to step away from your work and do something else. For many creatives, turning to books is a good way to get some easy inspiration. “I have a lot of art and design books on my shelf that I’ve collected over time and usually when I’m tired of looking at my art, I try to do something else,” says Elly. “Sometimes I just browse them to get inspired or just to take my mind off the art I’m currently working on. And then I go back to my work with fresh new eyes.”

4. Coffee and a playlist.

We’ve mentioned how sound can help create a space that sparks creativity, and for Marvz Conti of Studio Habil this is an essential to help him get in the zone when working on projects. Also, don’t forget the coffee. “They can influence my mood and lift up my spirit somehow,” says the moss terrarium maker who also counts his glue gun as something he can’t do without in his workspace. “Coffee is like my liquid fuel. It can heighten my senses and keeps me focused. A good playlist from Phoenix, Haim, UDD are some of my faves.”

4. Gadgets galore.

We know we’re attached to our gadgets at this point and for Popjunklove maker (and Common Room founder) Roma Agsalud, she can’t do without her smartphone. “I can work non-stop with just this tool on hand. These days, since we mostly do video content for Common Room PH, my air pods are proving to be a must also.” 

When she has more time to spare, she can even quickly edit videos on the go and her air pods help her to remove distractions around her. “It ensures I don’t distract others also.” (She makes it easier to lug them around with Punch Crafts’ cord ties and Sustainably Made’s device stand!)

For enamel pins creator Hannah Armada of Studio Haebi, aside from her cutting machine (Silhouette Cameo) that helps her cut stickers, labels and signages, it’s her iPad that she uses “to sketch ideas and write notes” even when she’s out. “I also like browsing on Pinterest for ideas and organizing them when I’m feeling uninspired.”

5. Just a blank canvas.

You can also just go offline. For Cat Limson of Bedazzled Accessories, it’s easier if she works on a design with a blank canvas. “I feel more pressured when I check design inspiration online… When I do this I feel somehow compelled to pattern my designs with what’s already out there,” says the former preschool teacher who’s also behind three other successful retail businesses. “I also feel overwhelmed at times because of the amount of inspiration online. I usually go with my gut feel when designing accessories.”

Besides the external must-haves we rely on to create, it does go back to the tools we innately possess. Happy crafting! 

Written by Mabel David-Pilar
Mabel has been a writer and editor for many publications, including shelter and food titles and a book on the most endangered Philippine trees. She spends most of her time writing, illustrating, stalking Common Room’s online shop, and making ferments. Together with her sisters, she co-created to celebrate fermenting in the Philippines.