Ashton Hauff is the founder of Makewell, an experience-based platform for creatives and makers in the Midwest. Since 2017, the Makewell team has offered support and inspiration for the creative community in North Dakota and the region. “Makewell offers one-of-a-kind experiences for creatives and makers to connect, learn and inspire one another,” explained Hauff.

The Aha moment

Hauff’s entrepreneurial journey began in Bismarck, North Dakota. After graduating from Bismarck High School, Hauff went on to earn a degree in graphic design from Northwestern University in St. Paul, Minnesota. “I chose to study graphic design because it was the perfect combination of my artist mother and computer developer father,” said Hauff.

While in college, Hauff started her own photography business which helped pay for school. This start-up offered business experience in the creative industry. After graduating, Hauff moved back to Bismarck from Minneapolis in 2015. Soon, she felt the pain of being disconnected from other creators and makers, a connection she found in Minneapolis. “I knew I wasn’t the only person in Bismarck that faced the obstacles and problems of being in the creative industry. I visited with creators, makers, and artists and began to ask the question ‘Why are we not doing this together?'” said Hauff.

In 2016, the idea of Makewell, an experience-based platform for makers and creative, came from solving the problems Hauff faced when she returned to Bismarck. The inaugural event was held in February of 2017, which sold out displaying the need in the region for such an event. “The mission for Makewell is to accelerate the goals and dreams of makers so that the communities thrive… We believe when makers thrive the communities thrive,” explained Hauff.

Growth and Success

The success of Makewell is extending across North Dakota and into the surrounding region. The 2018 Makewell event hosted participants from Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota. As the interest continues to build for Makewell, Hauff and her team are looking to expand their influence by adding regional experiences alongside their annual event. “We want to see smaller to midsize events connect makers on an ongoing basis. We are launching a workshop marathon in June 2018 with workshops all in a row on a single day,” said Hauff.

Makewell continues to meet the need of community and inspiration of makers in the Midwest. “We are 100% focussed on the makers and creatives in our region…We want to take the same culture and recipe of Makewell to other cities through our one-of-a-kind events,” explained Hauff. Makewell is currently looking to expand their work with a grant that would help support their weekend retreat, awards system, and the annual event.

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Brent McNeal