I've been sharing some awesome holiday news with my MAKE comrades. November sales in the Maker Shed were up a whopping 81% over last year (which was up 72% over the prior year). Now, to be sure, we have a dedicated team working insane hours and doing a lot of smart things well (for which, I'm eternally grateful), but that's the e-commerce story. The more interesting story for me is that the gift of making and hands-on learning is making a really strong comeback.
Selling kits, components and tools to experienced makers isn't new for us. But this year we've been seeing a sharp upswing in people looking for kits and tools designed to help a loved get started in something new; like electronics, Arduino projects, robotics, even lock-picking. Not only are people giving gifts they've made themselves in greater numbers than ever before. But they're also touching loved ones with the gift of making by giving a project kit that enables the friend or family member make something of their own. A passing of the DIY torch if you will.
The question I get asked the most is "What's the hottest gift for makers this year"? Hands-down, it's The Make: Electronics Component Pack 1 -- all the components required to take you through the first 1/3 of the projects in Charles Platt's sensational book Make: Electronics packed brilliantly into a really cool fishing tackle box. Not surprisingly, the second hottest product is the Make: Electronics Deluxe Toolkit, which includes all the basic electronic tools that Charles outlines in the same book, followed closely by the Getting Started With Arduino kit, which bundles an Arduino Uno microcontroller with all the components needed to tackle the projects in Massimo Banzi's book Getting Started With Arduino.
I invite you to visit the Maker Shed store and check these and hundreds of other cool DIY products out for yourself. But whether you choose to buy something from MAKE or another DIY retailer, consider giving the gift of making to a loved one this year. Even better, crack open that kit, roll up your sleeves and do some hands-on kitchen table projects with a good friend this holiday season.
Maker Shed's Top 10 Maker gifts so far this holiday season: