Little Island — Cutting Edge off the Edge of Manhattan

Some of our favorite projects are when we surprise clients with the broad range of consulting services Macktez offers. A client may come to us for end user support, then be delighted to discover we also design and install large-scale, critical networks, video conferencing systems, and complex workflows. We’ve been hired for a low-voltage cabling project, and then asked for general technical consulting and support over the years that follow as our relationship grows.

Little Island offers a profound example of this experience, working together to help this new public park open on Manhattan’s west side.

How it started

Macktez was referred to a potential client needing some service support for their very small office — Can we help untangle subscriptions from a previous managed service provider? Can we recommend some new workstations for a few staff members? Would we be available for occasional desktop support? Yes, yes, and yes.

When this startup moved into a small office across from the construction site they were managing — an ambitious, high-profile build-out of a new pier in Chelsea — Macktez was asked to recommend and design a new local network configuration. That led to a few questions about how this office network would be integrated with the park’s network across the West Side Highway, and a request to take a look at the WiFi specifications provided for the park by their general contractor.

And that’s when the real fun began.

How it’s going

In reviewing the draft IT plan for the park, there were a bunch of questions left unanswered by a subcontractor no longer working on the project. Some of the plans were very good — for example, the WiFi placement outlined would provide excellent coverage for park guests — but the underlying network equipment had not been specified and the network topology had not yet been designed.

“Macktez asked us for an equipment list,” recalled Park Operations Manager Kathryn Lewis, “but it didn’t exist.”

More importantly, there had not been enough consideration for the environmental requirements of an outdoor installation, nor was there sufficient redundancy built into the plan for power outages or other equipment failure.

Jason Stewart, Consulting Head of Development and Construction, explained the situation: “When design started in 2012 there were a lot of high-level guesses about what the eventual tech needs would be. The engineering company responsible for making most of those initial decisions didn’t really ask questions to force us to understand the issues, so they made some generic assumptions.”

When Macktez CTO Reilly Scull got involved in 2019, said Stewart, “He identified the problems and the solutions.”

Macktez has been supporting active outdoor public spaces in New York City for years. We have a long-standing relationship with the High Line (which is how we connected with Little Island to begin with), and we’ve managed the transition away from municipal IT services for Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governor’s Island. So Reilly knew right away, for example, that power redundancy is not optional — it’s a public safety requirement to support emergency communication systems.

Having identified these vulnerabilities, Macktez was contracted to review the park’s architectural and engineering plans from top to bottom to close any more gaps in the IT plan.

“What I really appreciated about working with Reilly in particular was understanding and explaining how everything is connected,” said Lewis. She added, “It turns out the internet is connected to everything.”

“This project evolved radically in so many ways,” said Stewart.

Macktez talked to FDNY and NYPD, then worked with the park’s electrical team to design a redundant system with huge backup battery capacity through excess conduit that had already been installed.

Stewart recalled, “We wasted a year getting Verizon to even tell us if high-speed internet was available.” When the answer was no, Macktez reached out to Pilot Fiber. Our longstanding relationship with Pilot prompted them to negotiate a special arrangement for the park.

Stewart said there were so many “pragmatic issues — entirely outdoor space, weather, topography.” Reilly advised the contractors on the kinds of waterproofing and environmental controls needed to protect IT equipment in an outdoor, marine environment with huge temperature swings.

Over the course of the year, Macktez became an integral part of the core project team, to make sure that every part of the project that relied on the IT network was compatible, well-considered, and expertly installed.

“Reilly realized the fire alarm wasn’t connected,” said Lewis, “and that half the security cameras weren’t focused correctly.”

“It’s very easy for someone in the decision tree to say, ‘Well that’s out of your scope, we’re not going to listen to you,’” said Reilly. “Of course everyone was apprehensive when I would raise red flags. But Little Island’s willingness to receive critical feedback was the only reason we were able to make these necessary changes to the project.”

How it finished

Little Island officially opened to the public on May 21, 2021.

The Little Island team now has a 10G, fully redundant network that’s completely integrated with the park through 40G backbones. The park’s multi-gigabit wireless system is backed by Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series switches, while Cisco’s Industrial Ethernet Series switches provide protection from temperature and humidity extremes in the more exposed outdoor locations.

Given the many different systems and services Little Island intended to utilize, and with the park’s staff growing significantly, Macktez recommended and configured a comprehensive single sign-on environment. We chose JumpCloud, allowing for a wide range of integrations to every aspect of the organization — email, conferencing, access control, human resources, password management, and much more.

We’ve deployed a fleet of nearly 100 portable workstations that can be used by anyone on the park staff, with secure on-boarding and off-boarding handled remotely.

Many members of our team were involved in this project: Strategist Nate Smith oversaw the initial office assessment; CTO Reilly Scull spec’d the entire network and built it out with Scott Battaglia. Patricia Mastricolo managed a huge amount of logistics assignments; Ray Brown and Sam Smolinski performed the physical installations; consultants Tanika Grant, Zachary Lui, Kelly Donovan, and John Barera have provided user and logistical support; and CEO Noah Landow has lent oversight to the entire project.

“Ultimately, our goal was to make sure everything ‘just worked’ and worked really well,” said Reilly, “so that the Little Island team could focus on their mission of creating a magical user experience for visitors.”

Macktez is extremely proud of our contribution to Little Island, and encourages all to come enjoy this spectacular addition to the city.

09-24-2021 | Case Study

Shen Beauty’s Covid-19 Build-Out

Shen Beauty has developed an international reputation over the past decade for innovative beauty and wellness products. Having outgrown its original Brooklyn home, Shen planned a move to a brand new store in Cobble Hill for 2020.

Jessica Richards, Shen’s founder and intrepid CEO, was hesitant to rely on her previous IT consultants for this critical project. “I needed it to be seamless, no hiccups,” she says. Richards needed a partner to “handle everything from walking through the space, cameras, security system, getting set up with Retail Next, and the internet situation.” On the basis of a recommendation from her design team at Mythology, Richards selected Macktez for a suite of infrastructure installations: data cabling, networking, security, cameras, and AV.

New Shen Beauty interior.
Photo by Brooke Holm.


Macktez completed recommendations and project plans in January 2020. We worked closely with Richards and her architects and contractor to position wireless access points, speakers, and cameras where they would not interfere with the beautiful, clean layout of the store. In late February Macktez started on-site work, and had just finished roughing out low voltage cable on March 13. That’s when, in response to the growing Covid-19 pandemic, New York City shut down.

Richards pushed for new work permits as soon as they were available, and by the beginning of June Macktez was back on site with a whole new set of health and safety protocols. Temperatures were taken regularly, face masks were required at all times, and, with no air conditioning and several contractors working in the same space, everyone had to take considerable precautions to keep each other distanced and safe in what was still a highly volatile viral environment.

The schedule for build-out was a huge challenge. Staffing on site was reduced, and there were significant supply delays for the contractor. Construction, originally planned for five weeks, stretched to fourteen weeks as everyone involved figured out how to manage a detailed project under radically new working conditions. Richards says, “Macktez was able to smooth over the timing changes.”

Macktez’s finishing work was delayed and compressed to avoid the sawdust from all the millwork in the new store contaminating the equipment we were installing. “We planned for two weeks of testing,” says Macktez project lead Mike Gutmakher, “but we ended up having only two days.”

On the retail side, Richards had been hoping to have a month for setup and staff training on a new point of sale system before her September 1 opening day, but construction continued literally until the day customers walked in the door.


In the end, through all the complications and anxiety surrounding working through the pandemic, Shen enjoyed a successful opening on September 1 that was featured in the New York Times (“You Can Open a Business in Pandemic New York,” October 11, 2020).

Macktez integrated UniFi network equipment and security cameras, Grandstream phones with an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX), Ring security, and Sonos audio components. Macktez Consultant Zack Lui, with a background in retail technology, provided Shopify training for Shen’s retail crew. Lauren Steinmeyer managed the network and technical development, supported by systems engineer Scott Battaglia. Lauren also provided on-site support for opening day. 

Mike says, “It became a very rewarding experience, working late, through the storm” with our installations team Mark Smolinski and Raymond Brown. 

“Everyone banded together,” says Richards, “to get this store open. We had a real sense of camaraderie.”

12-16-2020 | Case Study

MakerBot Server and Network Clean-up

Makerbot logo

Makerbot is a global leader in desktop 3D printing. But when its office wifi went out during a holiday party in 2018, the VP of Operations, Jim Franz, found himself digging through a “spaghetti mess” of cabling in the server room trying to reset the wifi controller.

The room was obviously an eyesore. Franz says when he started in June 2018 he knew a cleanup was in order. Senior IT Support Engineer Brian Aronson says “it was scary in there” — ports in the patch panels weren’t connected to the network and doing any troubleshooting involved “a lot of guesswork just to know what VLANs were on.”

“If I’m in the server room I am probably freaking out about something,” says Aronson. “When you’re under pressure you don’t want to have to face a hostile environment.”


Network rack - messy.


Network rack - neat.

Macktez was brought in at the start of 2019 and found more wrong than just appearances. There were constant network issues blamed on the internet service provider that were more likely due to internal misconfigurations. Phone calls dropped. Downloads were too slow. Network and VLAN assignments were not documented. 10G interfaces were not being utilized. And the system had no redundancies, so if any one part broke the whole network could go down.

“The key,” says Macktez CTO Reilly Scull, “was that the equipment was all top-tier. But there was no unified network architecture that emphasized performance.”

“All the parts were in place,” says Reilly, “and the will to fix the problem was readily apparent at MakerBot.”


The first 20% of the project was spent evaluating different options. Reilly spoke with manufacturers to determine optimal server configuration. Consultant Scott Battaglia also addressed switching capabilities to make sure that existing equipment was optimized. 

Reilly determined that the entire server and network racks would need to be dismantled and reassembled, resulting in a week of downtime. MakerBot leadership agreed that the only time that could happen was the last week of December, when the company was on holiday.

During that week, Reilly worked closely with Consultant Lauren Steinmeyer for 12-hour days to finish the job in time for MakerBot’s return after New Year’s. They upgraded dozens of servers, rebuilt VMs, reconfigured storage arrays, and implemented a brand new backup strategy.

And yes, they also cleaned up the wiring. They moved all power management to the back, connected network equipment with shorter patch cables, and ensconced longer cables in braided sleeves and secured them to the rack where appropriate with zip ties and velcro straps.

Clean, short patch cables.


“It looks like the control room of the Death Star!” That’s the text Reilly got from Aronson when he saw the new server room. (We’re pretty sure Aronson meant this as a compliment.)

Aronson says, “The immediate thing I noticed was I was a hell of a lot less anxious in there.”

Besides the aesthetics, the infrastructural benefits are profound: 10G interfaces are now fully utilized for lightning-quick internal transfer speeds; throughput has been increased 400%; VLAN assignments are now consistent and secure.

And just as important for MakerBot, its IT team is now empowered to fully utilize its own equipment. “This past year has been about rebuilding confidence in the IT department,” says Aronson. “We have a lot more power in there, more capacity — future projects and growth, that’s where it’s going to be a big benefit.”

Says Franz, “We are now set up for the future (and no longer ashamed to show people the server room).”

08-27-2020 | Case Study

Macktez would like to send you an insignificant trifle.

Every year we like to send out a gift to clients and friends around lunar new year, something small and quirky. It’s fun to get something unexpected in the mail.

For this, the year of the metal rat, we started planning just before Thanksgiving and came up with the idea of an embroidered, iron-on patch — the kind that might look good on your old denim jacket. In December, we worked on designs with a former team member and went through a dozen drafts until we landed on something we thought you’d like. We worked with two different vendors to see who could produce it with the right level of detail. And then, right at the beginning of January we sent it out for production.

Now, not surprisingly, custom patch manufacturing happens largely overseas — in China, in fact. And January in China saw an enormous disruption of manufacturing because of a new and highly contagious virus. (Maybe you heard about that?) So the patch was delayed.

We missed our deadline of January 25, the start of lunar new year celebrations.

Then the patch was delayed through February.

And most of March.

By the time the patches finally did arrive, that new virus had disrupted our own office, and probably yours, and, well, basically everything on the planet — we were out the door and headed home.

This is not a normal year in almost any way and we have nothing to say that will change that. What we do have is a distraction, a relic borrowed from a time when we had room for trifles and whimsy.

That is to say, we still have 1200 of these cool iron-on patches, and it’s still the year of the rat. And it’s still fun — maybe more fun than ever? — to get something small and unexpected in the mail. So we still want to send one to you.

Yet here’s another challenge: We know only your work address, but that’s probably not where you are. So if we’ve piqued your interest at all, and you really do like getting small gifts in the mail, please let us know your current mailing address by July 31 and we will send this out in August.

(Also: feel free to share this with colleagues and friends, if you think they’d like this too.)

— The Team at Macktez.

What are we doing with this info? We will delete your mailing address from our records as soon as we send you your patch. If you click “Sure!” below, we will keep only your email address for 2-3 emails per year.

Sorry! This exciting offer has expired.

07-07-2020 | Stipend

Congratulations to Coreen Callister, 2019 Summer Stipend Recipient

Coreen Callister and her “RepairCycle” team are providing garment mending services at community events in Seattle, WA to help dissuade people from disposing of clothes that, with a simple repair, could continue to be worn.

From Coreen’s proposal: “Our relationship with clothing is out of balance. The average life cycle for an article of clothing (in the U.S.) is less than one year. With no straightforward way to recycle textiles, this disposable mindset is creating massive solid waste.”

And here are some of our panelists’ positive comments:

“The RepairCycle project takes on a global, pervasive, and ingrained problem — consumerism/throw-away society — in a charmingly local, tangible, and achievable fashion.”

“I think that the funding they are requesting is commensurate with their goals, and I like that they have a concrete partner and audience already designated. My only suggestion is that they promote tailors and garment repairers who already exist in Seattle. Many immigrant communities already practice this.”

“This project tackles the huge problem of the excessive amount of damaged clothing being thrown away by teaching people how to repair their garments. The RepairCycle addresses the issue through the promotion of creative mending while reframing of the issue of clothing repair. This could be aestheticized like Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken porcelain with gold dusted lacquer.”

“In times of a throw-away culture, it is refreshing to see a project focused on repair, particularly for items of self identity, like clothing.”

“Too often we take resources for granted. RepairCycle challenges our assumptions and forces us to look at our relationship with clothing, changing it from disposable to long-term.”

RepairCycle will be participating in the King County Sustainability Fair (CHOMP) on August 17, and the Seattle Design Festival on August 24 and 25.

08-07-2019 | Stipend

2019 Summer Stipend Finalists Announced

Below are the application submissions from our finalists, currently being reviewed by our Summer Stipend Panelists.

Karen Dybis

Project SAVE: The Delray Preservation Plan


I am creating an archive, photography exhibit and oral histories of Detroit’s historic Delray neighborhood in hopes of creating a prototype for neighborhood research by “citizen archivists.” My goal is to find ways for local storytellers, neighbors and interested researchers to document, preserve and honor the stories and legacies of the people, places and things that existed in threatened neighborhoods or any neighborhood. I am particularly interested in Delray because it is shrinking and most likely disappearing in light of the addition of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which is taking 160 acres out of the neighborhood for its development.

Project needs

I need funding to help me create a student photography exhibit and artist readings. My goal is to introduce kids and young adults in Delray to oral history taking, photography and art so they can tell their own stories about the neighborhood. I want to give them the tools — cameras, videocameras, art supplies — to help them express themselves and show people what Delray looks like to them. This way, we can preserve a part of its story in a real and honest way. I need $1,000 to make these purchases, to bring in artists and photographers and to buy supplies to create a program at the Delray Community House for kids and young adults to participate in and recreate on their own.

Project description

I am working on setting up a long-term archive, oral history and photography project around Detroit’s historic Delray neighborhood that could be recreated and used in any neighborhood. This includes collecting historical documents, sourcing historical photographs and films, creating new photography and stories of Delray as well as helping the local community find resources within the arts industry to further develop its storytellers of all ages.

More from

Kat Roma Greer

Disrupting Climate Disruption: A Global Day of Creative Action


On the day of the 2019 U.N Climate Action Summit, I will be conducting a Global Day of Creative Action. An accessible movement where creatives mobilise within their individual communities, develop, present and document a public, creative response to climate disruption. The works will span across all practices, with a particular focus on the involvement of creatives from member countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. These works, their development and public response will be documented and featured online live, be part of a virtual online exhibition, and form the basis of a micro documentary. This project will culminate with a virtual conference involving participating artists and organisations, and a report based on a longitudinal study.

Climate disruption is everyone’s concern: but particularly those on the front line of the effects.

During my recent residency in the Arctic to further research climate disruption, it became apparent that the majority of participants were from developed countries who were educated, have access to resources, information, and possess skills and power to create change. We will not experience the full effects of climate disruption – at least, not immediately. It will be the under-privileged in developing countries who will be disproportionally affected, and bear the burden of the initial stages. And yet, in all of my explorations and creative disruptions across low-socio economic areas, I could see a common thread: people did not know, or understand what was happening  to their environment. Furthermore, if they did have any information, it was so data-soaked, abstract and intangible, that they dismissed it. Some of these communities are going to be the first and worst affected by climate disruption, and yet have the least amount of access to information, power to make change – or even have a voice in the global discussion. Climate justice is sorely lacking. 

What I have also witness, documented and had studied is the powerful affect of the arts within these communities as a tool for education, communication, positive change, placemaking and empowerment. If provided an opportunity to engage on a subject with self-autonomy, freedom of interpretation, self-determination, and the work inspires; then this combination psychologically triggers a willingness to consider things in a new light, to embrace unconventional solutions – to really feel as though change is possible (Per Espen Stokes).

Yet, all of these cultural activities are occurring and accessible by communities who already have reasonable access to information, resources, forms of enquiry and education on this subject. I want to take this model and transfer it into the communities who urgently need it. 

Project needs

The project will take place through 3 different streams:

1. 5 x Micro Galleries International Artist Collective  artists creating work in Nepal, Indonesia, USA, Australia and Kenya.

2. 10 x invited community groups to take part in our open source work by artist, Adam Kuby “Sea Level 2080”. This work is sent to participating groups in a box with instructions and all materials provided (200 participants)

3. Open callout for any public who would like to contribute works on this day using our platform (estimating 100 works world-wide with 200 participants involved in their creation)

The works will be live streamed over 24 hours on 23 September via Twitch, and then documented in an online exhibition via Owlstand. 

We are all donated our time and materials for  streams 1 and 3, however we need $1,00 to assist us with stream 2 and make this project truly powerful and accessible. The money would be used for two things:

1. To purchase all materials and create all instruction manuals and videos for the “Sea Level 2080” project, and have them sent to the partner organisations in the targeted vulnerable communities.

2. To assist these communities in gaining access to cameras or smart devices to record the process, set up, and public engagement, and getting this documentation to us. 

More from Disrupting Climate Disruption.

Carand Burnet

Songs of The Kioea


Since February of 2019, I have composed a series of instrumental compositions inspired by the life of an extinct Hawaiian bird called the Kioea (Chaetoptila angustipluma). Kioea translates in the Hawaiian language to mean “stand tall” or “to be lifted up.” Its story was a much a mystery during its life as it was after its vanishing. The Kioea, approximately the size of a crow, had moss green and chartreuse yellow feathers. The species had two interesting adaptations — a fringed-tongue paired with a curved beak for nectar-feeding and wispy feathers as fine as hair. The Kioea was last seen around 1859 gracefully fluttering through the plants that reclaimed the Kīlauea volcanic eruption.

After learning about this bird that symbolized courage and the importance of Eco-conservation, I drew from my 20+ years of experience as a guitarist to write a series of songs that re-imagined the Kioea’s life. This spring, I partnered with a double bassist and percussionist who have helped create over a dozen musical compositions to date.  Currently, the project is booked for live performances at four venues in New England. This will be the first time I will have the opportunity to play live before an audience with a backing band. As a female lead guitarist, I hope to inspire women while educating listeners about the Kioea and the current need for sustainable environmental practices.

Project needs

While I currently have several venues booked to perform this series of songs, I would love to professionally record an album so this music and its message will reach a larger audience. Previously, I have used my own equipment to record drafts, but the audio quality is significantly diminished. I would like to record live to best use the funding for the studio. In the past my band members have worked with the Electric Cave studio in Portsmouth, NH, to produce quality recordings. So far, I have spent $200 for the professional recording of three songs during late July at The Electric Cave. However, this is the entirety of the project’s budget; I would like the rest of the series recorded as well because each song is stylistically diverse as it reflects Hawaii’s ever-changing landscape.

Project description

The $1,000 stipend would cover the recording costs of at least 10 songs and album production. It would also allow me to sell the album digitally to help raise money for Eco-charities. The stipend would make a lasting impact beyond the initial recording. The music can be disseminated online and connect with a wider audience. In turn, this would bring awareness about contemporary environmentalism.

This album marks the beginning of a long-term project: I am currently booking live performances for next year, and I am excited to compose more music inspired by the Kioea. My band members and I stay motivated with this project in part because of our local environment. The New Hampshire/Maine coastline where we live has recently reached a critical point (the Gulf of Maine is now one of the fastest warming areas of oceans in the world). Music is an excellent way to communicate with listeners messages that will make them emotionally invested in seeking personal change and Eco-activism in their lives.

More from

Alejandro Franco

Withering Away


The project consists of  an exhibition with stained glass windows made out of single-use plastic. We are making use of the translucency and variety of colors of this material to present the audience with meticulously crafted pieces that turn a material so transient and detrimental into something of great beauty, worth preserving.

By spending all this time and effort to recover an undervalued material through labour, we hope to make an allegory of the efforts we need to make to preserve a healthy ecosystem, one where we can feel hopeful and proud, an essential desire so often taken for granted.

Within these windows we will illustrate the future of our planet as if we were looking at it through the filter of our careless habits, a place where humans went extinct and nature is gracefully reclaiming architectural structures. Our goal is to draw attention to the unmindful use of plastic as packaging material and to foster a sense of consciousness.

Project needs

This is a collaboration project between Kelly Jimenez and Alejandro Franco. Since our chosen material is single-used plastic, we collect it from the packaging of the food and products we are consuming, this allows us to keep a low cost on materials.

However, this project is labor based and time consuming, the plastic we are using  is non recyclable so it often gets mixed up with kitchen waste and all kinds of crap that go in the trash and makes it hard to recover. We need to spend time recovering all the potential plastics that we find on dumpsters around the neighborhood. 

We are both committed to this project, we both have part time jobs that allow us to make this exhibition our priority, every piece is meticulously crafted and it will take us at least 8 months to complete it. we also use some materials that cost us some money, plus covering any installation costs. Our budget for this project is $10,342, we already got $4500 after fees from a successful kickstarter campaign, in order to keep making this exhibition possible we need to continue collecting the remaining funds needed to complete our project.

Project description

The show is an art exhibition composed of 10 pieces of 100 x 50 inches, highly crafted stained glass-like illustrations made out of cutouts of plastic. These illustrations are images of different scenarios where nature is overtaking remainings of human existence, vines are wrapping around everything and one can experience the exuberance of nature conquering over concrete. They will be mounted on a structure and wrap around a led light box that allows the light to shine through the piece without heating up the plastic. In the center of the big room, we will have a large sculpture, an 8 feet B/W rainbow that emerges from two colorful garbage clusters.

More from

Mahua Biswas

Scarred But Winners


I am conducting an in-depth study of acid attack phenomenon in both developed and developing world. Because, that heinous crime is spreading like a wildfire from Middle Eastern, South Asian and South – East Asian nations to almost all over world.

The purpose of that study is firstly searching the reason which provoking this particular trend as most attractive to perpetrators worldwide and secondly providing all the necessary information which can help acid attack survivors to fight their battle against all kind of odds. All these information I want to publish along with many survivors’ testimonials in a free E-book format which would be available worldwide and anybody who wants to lend their support would be able to contact these survivors.

Project needs

I have already received a micro grant from Harnisch Foundation, USA worth US$1000 on April, 2019 which has covered all the initial expenses of that project and presently I need around US$1000 to provide a small cash remuneration/gifts to the survivors to compensate their time for that project.

I am planning to pay US$10 to per participant acid attack survivor in cash or kind and I want to interview around 100 Indian survivors for this project. Therefore the approximate requirement of fund would be: US$10/ Survivor x 100 Survivors = US$1000

My project is stuck presently since any NGO does not want to provide me information of their clients because I don’t have sufficient fund to compensate their clients’ time.

More from

Coreen Callister



The RepairCycle is a mobile bike trailer and garment mending service. We offer visible clothing repair and teach mini workshops in the greater Seattle area. Our goal is to catalyze a culture of clothing repair (versus disposal) by offering a collaborative, community-driven service and experience. 

Our relationship with clothing is out of balance. The average life cycle for an article of clothing (in the U.S.) is less than one year. With no straightforward way to recycle textiles, this disposable mindset is creating massive solid waste (about 1 garbage truck every second, or 92 million tons dumped into landfills annually). Striking a balance means disrupting this wasteful cycle with thoughtfully designed experiences that inspire and empower us to keep and enjoy clothing longer. Which ultimately means, building a culture of garment care and repair. The RepairCycle is more than a functional service, it’s a delightful way to “re-experience” your clothing.

Project needs

We’re excited to share that the RepairCycle has been accepted to the Seattle Design Festival and CHOMP (King County Sustainability Fair).

Our team will offer light repair services and host creative mending workshops at these community events in August. And eventually, we hope to tour across all three University of Washington campuses in 2019-2020.  

We’ve built our bike trailer and we own one hand-crank sewing machine. However, as newly graduated students we need funding to make key investments that will kickstart and sustain our RepairCycle passion project. In the spirit of up-cycling, most of our materials are lower cost, because we plan to purchase second-hand versus new. Our partnership with King County also gives us access to some material donations such as scrap fabric and buttons. However, to reach the finish line and be successful at our launch events in August, we must invest in some key items, outlined below: 

– ($400) Serger machine (used, available via craigslist or Ebay)
– ($100) 1 year of website domain name & hosting 
– ($300) Repair Kits: Event take-away for workshop participants learning mending techniques.  Thread, small patches, buttons, single sewing needles, small booklet/card (with repair instructions). 
– ($200) Honorariums for 4 local sewers & technicians to teach 1 hr workshops (at $50 each)

Project description

The RepairCycle is a mobile, on-the-spot garment mending service and experience that brings the Seattle community together around the universal aspect of clothing — offering a functional service while creating connection and dialogue through a shared activity. By empowering creative and easy-to-learn mending skills, we are working to transform our local community’s relationship with clothing. Ultimately, we believe that garment repair is not just a viable option, but should a delightfully designed experience. 

The Macktez summer stipend would directly support essential material purchases such as a second-hand surger for technical clothing repairs, promotional and workshop materials, etc (as outlined in previous sections) for our two upcoming August community events. Thank you for your consideration!

07-24-2019 | Stipend

Summer Stipend 2019 Application is Now Closed

Thank you to everyone who applied.

Finalists for the 2018 Stipend will be posted right here on July 24, 2019.

07-21-2019 | Stipend

A Conversation is not a Meeting

Applications for the Macktez Summer Stipend — our annual development grant of $1,000 — are now being accepted. For more than a dozen years Macktez has been encouraging the creative people we work with to pursue and complete the personal projects that may languish without a helpful push.

Applications are due July 20.

If you’re working with someone else on your summer project, or even if you are just asking a friend to review your application (as we suggest in our step-by-step application plan), then you’ll be having meetings.

We’ve all been in bad meetings, which can frustrate creative momentum and strain professional relationships. But if you follow a few simple rules, you can have meetings that are productive and worthwhile:

– A meeting needs an agenda, or at least an explicit purpose, that everyone knows ahead of time. What are you there to decide, what do you need to accomplish together?
– Turn conversation into action items as soon as possible. Take responsibility. Prioritize action over discussion.
– Meetings yield actionable tasks. Those tasks should be assigned so that everyone knows who’s doing what. Pick deadlines for each one.
– Set a date right away for the next meeting you need to have.
– Someone needs to take notes and share those notes afterward.
– Aim to wrap up 5 minutes early. And if you’re done early, end the meeting early.

A meeting always moves a project forward. If a meeting ends but no actionable tasks were assigned, then it wasn’t a meeting. It was a conversation. Now, good conversations should be a part of work — tossing ideas around, debriefing, decompressing, goofing around — but don’t mistake a good conversation for a good meeting.

Summer Stipend 2019

So if you are working on a personal project, and you think $1,000 would help you cross the finish line, we want to hear about it.

We evaluate applications on three simple criteria: originality, relevance, and conviction. One Stipend recipient will be selected from our all-star panel.

Again, the deadline is July 20.

Applications for 2019 are now closed.

06-14-2019 | Stipend

2019 Stipend Panelists Announced

We are delighted to have the following colleagues, clients, and friends participating in the selection of our 2019 Summer Stipend recipient:

Francine Snyder, Director of Archives at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, specializes in artists’ and museum archives. Prior to the Foundation, she spent nearly a decade as Director of the Library and Archives at the Guggenheim Museum and, before that, she was Project Archivist at Gap, Inc. and Slide Librarian at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Snyder received her MILS from San Jose State University, her BFA from Purchase College, State University of New York, and is a 2014 Archives Leadership Institute alumni.

Bob Barber is a former partner in Russell Design Associates, an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary firm specializing in identification planning, brand marketing communications, environmental graphic design, and online media. Prior to that he was the Managing Director at Hill & Associates, Inc., and a Managing Director at Hill and Knowltown. He holds a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati. He is currently semi-retired, working for select clients and creating a portfolio of photo repetition images.

Jonathan Cedar is CEO and co-founder of BioLite, a social enterprise that develops and manufactures clean, affordable energy systems for off-grid communities around the world. In 2011, Business Week named Jonathan one America’s Top Social Entrepreneurs, and together with BioLite has won the 2012 Tech Awards, 2014 and 2012 Fast Company Innovation By Design Awards, and 2011 St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. Before starting BioLite, Jonathan was a Senior Design Engineer at Smart Design, a New York based product development consultancy, where he led teams that created consumer durable products ranging from housewares to biomedical devices. Jonathan holds a BA in engineering and environmental science from Dartmouth College.

Barbara Glauber runs the design studio Heavy Meta, which focuses on the design of publications, exhibition, and information graphics for cultural institutions. Barbara has an MFA from CalArts and received her BFA at Purchase College, SUNY. She curated the exhibition “Lift and Separate: Graphic Design and the Quote Unquote Vernacular” at the Lubalin Center at Cooper Union, is a co-curator of Type at Cooper’s Typographics Festival, and has designed over 80 books. She teaches design at Yale and Cooper Union.

Charlie Gray is the founder and President of Gray Scalable, whose team of recruiting and HR professionals helps companies grow and evolve their people practices to match the standards of the world’s leading tech companies. Charlie led the people operations of technology and media companies for 15+ years before founding Gray Scalable in 2012. He was instrumental in managing the growth of the Google advertising sales team and helped to develop the company’s People Operations framework. He provided HR and operations leadership at other start-ups including RecycleBank and Patch, and has now consulted at dozens of industry-leading companies. He holds two degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, in Music Performance and English Literature. He lives in Verona, NJ with his wife and their 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats.

Manuel Sanchez Miranda is a graphic designer. His studio, MMP, works on design projects for non-profits, cultural organizations, schools, government agencies, and corporations.  Currently, he’s a commissioner on the Public Design Commission of New York City and a design critic at the Yale School of Art. Previously, Mr. Miranda served as vice president of the New York chapter of AIGA New York, where he created programming for the Museum of Arts and Design and developed place-based design projects funded by Art Place America and the Small Business Services of New York Neighborhood Challenge Grant.  Prior to establishing his own design practice, he was a designer at Brand Integration Group at Ogilvy and a design director at 2×4. Mr. Miranda received a B.A. from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University.

John deWolf is the Director of Experiential Graphic Design—wayfinding, branded environments, and interpretive planning and design—at Fathom Studio, a boutique design firm in Nova Scotia. John has worked in various media including print, interactive, broadcast, exhibition, environmental graphic design, and interior design. He has an extensive background in analyzing and deconstructing complex structures and designing understandable and accessible communication systems, particularly for large public audiences. Previously he has been a senior interactive designer for Two Twelve Associates of New York, and has also worked with and managed large-scale signage teams for such clients as Walt Disney Imagineering, Parks Canada, the Chicago Park District, Queens West State Park, Seattle’s Sound Transit, Indiana Purdue University, Yale University, Trinity College, Yukon College and the University of Manitoba. He holds a degree in Communication Design from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and a Master in Interior Design degree from the University of Manitoba.

Steven Harper is a Partner and Operating Director at MN Design Professional Corporation, a full-service architecture firm based in New York. He has overseen the execution of a range of sophisticated residential and commercial projects, including a 90,000 square foot production facility within a nationally-landmarked historic structure at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City, and was on the lead design team of a five million square foot multi use complex for MGM Grand in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Along with his oversight and involvement in MN’s projects and general management, Steven directs the firm’s operations and planning. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic and State University and is a LEED-certified, registered architect in the State of New York.

06-12-2019 | Stipend

Summer Stipend 2019 Application Worksheet

It’s helpful to prepare properly for an application like this, both to make sure you submit your best proposal on time, and also to give you the chance to think about your project in a clear, directed way.


Don’t procrastinate. Set yourself a clear schedule between now and the deadline on July 20 to make sure you submit the best application possible.

Monday 6/17/2019 (0.25 hour)
– Read through the whole application at so you know what’s expected.
– Print out this page. (Or save it somewhere you can find it easily on 6/26.)
– Review your calendar and make schedule a couple of hours on or before 6/26 for the first set of tasks.

Monday 6/24/2019 (2 hours)
– Choose a comfortable space where you won’t be interrupted and have a pen, this worksheet, and your calendar handy.
– Enforce quiet time. (Put your cell phone in airplane mode or turn it off, close your email, close Facebook, close Pinterest … close everything.)
– Gather whatever materials you have for your project work to date.
– Make sketches of what needs to be done to complete your project. (We have our own favorite paper products we use for this process, available at, but any will do.)
– Review the dates and tasks that follow and add an event to your calendar on or before each deadline.
– Choose a colleague you respect to ask for input and invite them to chat next week.

Monday 7/1/2019 (1 hour)
– Take a friend or colleague out for coffee to talk about your project. (Talking about your creative work out loud helps you to refine and improve how it sounds to other people.)
– Bring whatever materials you have for your project work to date and a pen and paper. (A yellow notebook, perhaps!)
– Pause to take notes while you talk.

Friday 7/5/2019 (1 hour)
– Outline the schedule and budget for your project.
– Outline your project description. (Review your notes.)
– List the possible images you could submit with your application. (Note which ones already exist digitally, and which ones you would need to take or create.)

Saturday 7/6/2019 (0.25 hour)
– Choose at least one friend or colleague to review, edit, and proofread your application on July 20 and reach out out to them to ask their help. (Make sure they know you’ll have a tight deadline right after that and need their comments back the next day.)

Monday 7/8/2019 (1 hour)
– Write a first draft of answers to all the questions on the application. (Write this up in a text editor or on paper. Don’t get too caught up in any one answer, and don’t try to edit yourself right away. Make sure you write something for each question.)

Thursday 7/11/2019 (1 hour)
– Revise your answers for a second draft. (This is where you can let yourself choose words more carefully and constructively.)

Saturday 7/13/2019 (1-2 hours)
– Take the picture or grab the image you will submit with your application.
– Upload it somewhere with a shareable link. (This can be your personal website, Flickr, Facebook, Google Photos. To make sure it’s accessible to us make sure to log out of whatever service you are using and paste the site address in a new browser window. If you can see the image that way, we can also.)

Monday 7/15/2019 (0.5 hour)
– Send your draft application to the person who agreed to be your editor. (Remind them that you’re on a tight deadline and need their comments back by the following day.)
– Make sure you include the link to your application image. (So your editor can confirm that your image is accessible.)

Wednesday 7/17/2019 (0.5 hour)
– Follow-up with your editor and review their feedback closely. (Don’t include edits unless you’re convinced they make your application better. This is your project, not your editor’s.)

Thursday 7/18/2019 (1 hour)
– Choose a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and revise your application. (This is nearly your final edit so take your time.)
– Many people find it easier to do final edits on paper, so if you don’t have a printer, allow time to go somewhere with one and generate a hard copy to review.

Friday 7/19/2019 (1 hour)

– Set yourself up in a space with internet access where you won’t be rushed and won’t be interrupted.
– Make one final proofread of your application and answers. (Double-check all spelling.)
– Pull up and copy and paste your answers into the application fields.
– Double-check your email address. (If you get this wrong, we’ll never be able to tell you that you won!)
– Take a deep breath and review your application one last time.
– Click “Submit.”

Wednesday 7/24/2019 (0.25 hour)
– Check back at our website, like us on Facebook, follow our Twitter feed, or subscribe to our RSS feed to see if you’re one of the finalists.

Food for Thought

Creative work can be difficult to express in clear language, yet that’s exactly what this application asks you to do. Some of the more specific questions below may help you work out what about your project you would like to tell others to get them as excited about it as you are.

– What are you trying to accomplish?
– What problem are you looking to solve or question do you want to answer?
– Has anything like this ever been done before?
– If not, why are you the first to think of it?
– If yes, why are you compelled to do it yourself?

– How much have you spent so far on this project? (List the things you’ve paid for.)
– How much more will it cost to complete? (List what you need with cost estimates.)
– How would you fund this project without the Macktez Summer Stipend?

– How long have you been thinking about this project?
– How long have you been working on this project?
– When do you expect to be finished?

– Is the finished project meant just for yourself or to be shared publicly?
– (Does that matter to you?)
– Is there anyone in particular you are hoping will see the finished project? Any venue that would be particularly appropriate?

– Do you remember the first time the idea for this project occurred to you?
– Has anyone else’s work inspired this project? If yes, who?
– Who or what motivates you to keep working on this project?

– Do you work alone or collaboratively with others?
– Do you work at home or elsewhere?
– Do you work on this project every day, or in fits and starts?
– Do you work linearly or roundabout?

| Stipend