Making Conversation with Madelynn Sare
Today we're talking with Madelynn Sare. Ashley Yousling first met Madelynn when she came into their family to help watch their three boys. Shortly after meeting her, Ashley knew one day she would work at Making. Madelynn has a huge heart for kids, for people, for those who often go unlooked and underestimated, and an intense passion for changing the world. She does so much at Making, from managing all the classes, to social media, and helping make everyone around us feel loved. Madelynn's story is a really good one and we're so happy you get to hear it today.
You can connect with Madelynn on the Making app and Instagram @madmakes.
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/ supporters /We're so grateful for our BRIGHT Collective supporters and wanted to give a shout out to one of them today.
Dear Gemini is an online emporium for makers with a curated selection of handmade textile goods, and sewing, knitting and crafting supplies that are conscientious and thoughtful. You will find that all the fabrics and yarns are constructed of natural fibres, with a focus on organically grown fibres. Come celebrate making, mending, and doing our best to live slower and more thoughtful lives at deargemini.com.
If you'd like to be a BRIGHT Collective supporter, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this weeks episode. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcriptions, visit our blog at makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week!
Click to show transcript.
Ashley Yousling [00:00:05] Welcome to Making Conversation, a podcast where we celebrate making in all its forms from amazing stories of inspiring makers and people to behind the scenes peeks of building a startup in the tech and craft industry. I'm your host, Ashley Yousling. Today I'm talking with a good friend, Madelynn Sare. I first met Madelynn when she came into our family to help watch our three little boys. Shortly after meeting her, I knew one day she would work at Making. Madelynn has a huge heart for kids, for people, for those who often go unlooked and underestimated, and an intense passion for changing the world. She does so much at Making, from managing all the classes to social media and helping make everyone around us feel loved. Madelynn's story is a really good one and I'm so happy you get to here today. You can connect with Madelynn on the Making app @madmakes. And with that, here's Madelynn.
Madelynn Sare [00:01:02] I feel like as a child I was always very creative. My mom was definitely a huge influence in that and always encouraged me to pursue any creative outlet and really any activity in general. She always supported it. And, I would say that she wouldn't necessarily have considered herself an artist or very creative at all. But I definitely remember her being artistic and doing arts and crafts with me. And one distinct memory I have is her scrapbooking. She loved scrapbooking, and that definitely catapulted my interest in crafts, and another thing was music. So, my mother wasn't necessarily musically inclined herself, and my grandmother would actually call her tone deaf, but she loved music and she appreciated music. And we listened to a lot of music together and all different genres. She had a very broad, broad taste in music, so I got a taste of a lot of different flavors, I guess, which was, really special. And she got remarried when I was about nine years old. And my stepdad also was a huge influence in how I see art, view art, and how I feel about myself as an artist or maker. He—when we first met him—he was really into acrylic painting and they're just beautiful. I still have several of them hanging up in my house. And I've carried them, you know, throughout all the homes that I've lived in. And so we would paint together. And he was also very musically inclined. He had a piano and kind of taught himself. He didn't read music, but he would just mess around and watch YouTube videos and we would, you know, take turns. I would always do the the right hand and he would do the left hand. So we would play music together. And that definitely, sparked my interest in in jazz. The piano that we used to play was very out of tune and kind of clunky, but it was a piano, right? And it was just really special time that he listened to a lot of jazz, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk. And I started playing flute and saxophone in middle school. And then I kind of lulled out in high school. I did jazz band through kind of like a separate thing in high school, but it was kind of tough for me to keep it up only because I feel like in high school they kind of make you choose. Like, I wanted to be a band geek and a theater nerd, but I also wanted to play soccer and swim competitively. And you can't really do all of it, even though I really wanted to. So, I kind of took a break from music. I got to college and I bought my own instruments. So I have an alto sax and a and a flute and flute is a lot easier to just pick up and play. But I haven't picked up my sax in a long time. And you can you know, I can play it, but my mouth gets so sore if you don't play it consistently, it's it's very noticeable. So but yeah, I would say my stepdad and, and my mom both were pretty big influences in my creativity and always encouraged me when I pursued something. You know, in college you're so immersed in academia that it was hard for me to find a lot of time to be creative. I also did I did swim team in college, it wasn't a varsity sport or anything, but it was it was still very time consuming. And I was a part of, you know, other university organizations. But the one thing that carried me through was writing. So, I definitely went through a really big poetry phase and late high school and then throughout college. And still I haven't written poetry in a while, but I am currently still trucking along with my with my little yearlong project, which is writing 5 minutes a day. And each month I have a disposable camera and I just capture little moments along the way and it's been really fun. I would definitely say writing is my biggest creative outlet and has kind of kept me company, if that makes sense. While I was teaching abroad in Spain, I kept a blog of my adventures and just thoughts and reflections and you know, reading some of those blog posts, I was really transparent and pretty vulnerable and I was like, man, it really does come across in my writing, probably more than it does just meeting me in person. So, I think that—that writing has definitely provided me that that creative outlet above anything else. And then totally when I came to Making, I just was flooded with inspiration and exposed to this whole new community that I knew existed, but that I didn't necessarily identify with before.
Ashley Yousling [00:07:27] Let's talk a little bit about your mom, maybe share a little bit about that story or what you feel comfortable with. At least from what I know of you and like what you've shared, I feel like it actually does play a big role in like how we met and the story of you coming to Making.
Madelynn Sare [00:07:42] Totally. Yeah. So, I lost my mom the month after I turned 20, and it really just flipped my world upside down. There's not really another way to put that. You know, growing up, especially in my early childhood, you know, my dad was around and I spent time with him. But I definitely had a different relationship with him than I—than I did with my mom. And even though I had my dad, my stepdad and I also had a step mom. When she died, it felt like I was parentless, like she was the parent and having that gone, you know, just shook me to my core. But I think a couple of things happened. One, the past six years of my life, though, they've been stressful and there's been a ton of challenges associated with her death. They've been super transformative. And I definitely have a different perspective on life and what I value and how I spend my time and energy. And that's a huge lesson that I think a lot of people don't learn soon enough. And another huge lesson from this experience has been to be transparent. And transparency is really hard for most people, including myself. You know, through trauma, I've always been pretty keen to keep my feelings to myself, keep them hidden and pretend everything's okay, even when things aren't necessarily. But after she passed, I couldn't do that anymore. My emotions were seemingly out of control. You know, if I had to cry, I was going to cry. Like there was just no stopping it. And it kind of humbled me, but it also taught me how powerful vulnerability is and how necessary it is to show to other people and how it creates connection, honestly. I try my best to be vulnerable and transparent most of the time. Sometimes that doesn't always happen, obviously, but sometimes that also turns people off. And it might feel abrupt because my transparency also comes through as passion. That aries moon, you can relate to that. But, you know, the biggest thing that I'm passionate about is people and the environment and our society and our culture neglects both of these things, and it pisses me off to no end. So for me, my transparency and vulnerability is really freeing. But others, you know, it might be kind of like "Mad, we get it. You hate capitalism," you know? So, I think going through this just profound loss, during the time period, especially that it happened, was really, really difficult. But transformation came. Came from it. And I have always been very academically inclined. I've loved school. I've loved learning ever since I was young. Even when I struggled with subjects like math was really tough for me growing up. I wanted to figure it out so bad and I would try really hard. And that continued through college. And, you know, we're—we're given this narrative of if you work hard, if you go to college, you'll get a great job, you know? And mind you, I did go into environmental policy and Spanish, so I knew coming out of university I wasn't going to make a ton of money, but I was hoping that I would get a job related to my degree. And, it just didn't happen. And there were opportunities that I turned down. Simply because I couldn't live off of the amount of money that they were offering. It made me a little pissed off, obviously fired me up. But I became a nanny. And from that, I kind of networked those skills and and my work with children. Has always been really important to me. I have a huge passion for kids, so I nannied for a long, long time and with many different families and developed really true relationships with a lot of different kids, which has been really special. But because of that, I didn't really have a quote unquote professional job before coming to Making. I had other opportunities, you know going to Spain for three months was definitely a professional job, you know, as as a teacher and kind of a cultural liaison, they would they would call it just to practice English with—with the kids. But yeah, I think that, you know, I had applied to so many different positions and, you know, doing that in a pandemic is obviously has its own challenges. But, yeah. When I when I went to a medium appointment, my mom, you know, was just saying, you know, I'm blocking these opportunities. And when the medium said that, I'm like, well, good grief. Like, should I just stop applying, you know, what is going to come along? And it was just a month after that that you had messaged me on care.com and asked me to nanny your children. So, it was very serendipitous and interesting how it all played out.
Ashley Yousling [00:14:22] I just really believe that people come in our sphere and along our path. But, I like to find and hire and bring people onto teams that don't always fit the typical mold. We talk a lot about how Making is kind of a place of healing in a lot of ways and a place of growth. And everyone's journey here is different, you know, will span different lengths of time, but that it's a meant to be like a part of everyone's story that's here. So you started out watching our our kiddos. We had just moved off the farm. We didn't really know what at the time. We were like, "oh, we're going to have a workcation, and I remember messaging you and being like, we're just going to be here for like a few months or something like that or like a month or something. And then, we got to know you and we would just stand in the kitchen talking for a long time. And I remember just feeling like this is someone that would fit well at Making like what we're building. And at that point it was just the very beginning. Like we had even built our team, we had the publishing team, but we didn't have the app team yet and we ended up staying in Bellingham until June. But over those five six months we got to know each other. What had me the most was just that level of passion, which I think is often misunderstood. I remember thinking, okay, like somehow, someway, like Mad needs to be a part of what we're doing. Over the past year, you've worn a lot of hats, and a large focus of what you do right now is classes. And and that's going to shift soon, too, as the technology of what we're building gets more autonomous. So, you're not having to do so much manual stuff around classes. We will all be shifting positions in some way or there's just so much change really in startups. That's something that people don't quite understand and can be really hard for some people is there's so much change, constant change. You're having to be very adaptable and responsive to people and users and the environment. And obviously with COVID and the economy and like everything that's happening in the world, that's another thing that I picked up on with you is just that ability to do hard things.
Madelynn Sare [00:16:45] Yeah. So I. I was just so grateful that you saw something in me because I had totally felt like I put so much effort into applying to all these positions, and I just felt like I wasn't being seen and recognized for for my passion and, like, what I can bring to the table if somebody takes a chance. And, you know, given that opportunity, I was thrilled. But definitely coming onto the team, I was intimidated. You know, I hadn't done any of this. Like all of everything was brand new, so it was a little intimidating. But now when I reflect back, I—I've learned so much. And, you know, startup world, you do have to adapt quickly and things are changing and things do have to pivot and shift. But I think that's also kind of beautiful because I, I feel like if you're not evolving, then you're not progressing, whether that be like individually or as a company. Companies have to evolve based on the culture, based on what's happening. And so I think it's super important. And I think that BRIGHT Collective is a great example of that, of how—how Making has evolved and shifted to kind of accommodate people and what they want and how they want content.
Ashley Yousling [00:18:28] Immerse yourself in crafting culture Making is a first of its kind social marketplace app for makers, crafters and artists where you can track projects, post to the feed, discover new makers, take classes and so much more! The marketplace will launch this Fall 2022 and is an opportunity for sellers to increase their discoverability and audience, generate revenue, and build a community. Making also just launched BRIGHT Collective a crafty content experience delivered monthly to your inbox and the Making app, think patterns, recipes, special discounts, monthly member events and more. We have a special 10% discount on BRIGHT Collective yearly memberships for podcast listeners. Use discount code makingconvo10 during checkout. To download the app, join the community, and become a BRIGHT Collective member, visit makingco.com today.
Ashley Yousling [00:19:25] What sort of making have you picked up or explored or dove headfirst into since you started at Making the company?
Madelynn Sare [00:19:36] Well, I'm knitted my first sweater, which was super fun. Definitely came across some challenges along the way, but it was a blast and I've also knitted a tank top, which is awesome. So, I've completed two garments. I've taken a crochet class. I've done an embroidery class, which was really fun, and I want to explore embroidery a little bit more. I just I take it takes me a long time. I just am meticulous with it. So, I'm learning—that's one thing that I'm learning throughout my creative journey is learning to kind of let go of perfection. And the idea that you have in your in your mind of like what the final product is supposed to look like and just letting it flow and letting it be.
Ashley Yousling [00:20:28] What excites you most about Making?
Madelynn Sare [00:20:30] I think of art and making and creativity kind of like a mycelium network, and I'm sorry for even bringing this up, but I just am obsessed with mushrooms and I love learning about them, and I think that they're fantastic. But, you know, I think of it as this mycelium network that's this huge and vast, powerful entity. And, you know, it's made up of all of these different ways that you can be creative and and express yourself. But, at the end of the day, they are all connected. And I think that that's the biggest thing that excites me about making is that art, creativity, making it creates connection and it's what propels everything in—in our culture. I think people don't really realize it or don't recognize it all the time, but it totally is. So, I think the biggest thing that excites me about Making is our drive to change the world and make a difference in people's lives. I have never heard of or been a part of a team and company that leads with compassion and empathy. And it's unique. And we need more companies like this. We need this. And I think that's the biggest, biggest thing that I'm excited about. And that you know, always drives my my motivation to continue and to shift and adapt and be flexible, and I also see that same drive in everybody that works here, you know. Everyone seems on the same page about—about those things. And about our core values. And, changing the world is what I've always wanted to do, and I think Making is the platform in which we do it. So, slowly but surely, we're gonna—we're gonna do it. This is—this is just the beginning, like you said, so.
Ashley Yousling [00:22:53] What is it that Making has to offer like from your perspective? Because I think it's different for every person, even on the team.
Madelynn Sare [00:23:02] It comes back to, you know, what I was talking about earlier of just art and making and creativity, create connection. And, you know, we have all these other social media platforms that provide connection or used to provide connection. But I feel as if most of the platforms that we're using at this moment in time have just been polluted with these pseudo relationships and, how much of our interactions are meaningful on these platforms? How—how are we really connecting with people? And everyone is a victim to this, myself included of, you know, scrolling through an Instagram feed, it can get depressing. I mean, there's so much information being thrown at you all the time and there's a lot of shit that we should be angry about, and there's a lot going on that pisses me off. But without hope, we don't have the possibility of a better future. And so I feel like these other platforms, perpetuate this kind of cynical way of thinking. And that's not what we need. You know, we need to have connection. We need to be able to see and envision and imagine that a better world is possible and that there are other people that believe in that as well. I think that that's something that I tend to get in my head about when I'm scrolling or reading things. I'm just it almost feels like nobody else cares about the things that I care about. And that's just not true. There's so many people out there that do care about people's well-being and the environment and that are trying to promote change. And they just don't get traction on social media because they're selling an idea. They're not selling a product. And I think Making has effortlessly combined those two things of creating connection, making our—our values known and heard while supplying a product for people to engage in and on you know, marketplace--all of it. All of it. So, it gives makers financial freedom. The discoverability aspect, I think is amazing because that does not exist on other social media platforms at all. Having a diverse team, I think also helps building—building this the way that—the way that we want to. So, I don't know. Those are those are my—my big thoughts.
Ashley Yousling [00:26:21] What are you most excited about for the future?
Madelynn Sare [00:26:25] I am hoping that we have some kind of aspect of our platform that involves sharing art with children, particularly, you know, marginalized communities, underserved children, children with sensitivities. I think that, that's something I would love to be a part of, and I'm not exactly sure how this will manifest itself, but, even just teaching my my class yesterday on how to teach a class on Making, which is kind of funny. I had a really great time doing it and while I was preparing for it, I realized it just kind of gave me an opportunity to reflect on how much I've learned at this company. And, I enjoy teaching other people things a lot, and I don't know how that skill will manifest itself over the next several years, but I'm hoping that that skill is amplified in some way with with my role at Making. Because I've—I've always enjoyed that and I've had a lot of different jobs along the way that have involved teaching or leading, and I do really enjoy that.
Ashley Yousling [00:27:59] What is your message for the world?
Madelynn Sare [00:28:02] Tap in to your vulnerability and connect that with an art form of any kind, any creative outlet. Creativity creates connection, and we need more connection. We need more meaningful connection. We need to care about one another in a way more human way. Often, we are behind a screen reading all this information about people that we don't know, that we don't see. And, it could just be another, you know, it's just another story. It's just another story. And it never feels human enough for people to get or at least enough people to get enraged. And I just think that Making has something really special. The way that I have witnessed people interact on this app has been completely different than what I have seen on other apps. And it's—it's special. It's definitely special.
Ashley Yousling [00:29:20] We're so grateful for our BRIGHT Collective supporters and wanted to give a shout out to one of them today. Dear Gemini is an online emporium for makers with a curated selection of handmade textile goods and sewing, knitting and crafting supplies that are conscientious and thoughtful. You will find that all the fabrics and yarns are constructed of natural fibers. The focus on organically grown fibers come celebrate, making, mending and doing our best to live a slower and more thoughtful life at deargemini.com. If you'd like to be a BRIGHT Collective supporter, send us an email at email@example.com. The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers for podcast notes and transcriptions, visit our blog at makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week.