Make Meaning, a new DIY craft store, opened Monday at Legacy Place in Dedham. Capitalizing on the make-it-yourself trend, the store offers crafting space and supplies, and classes in ceramics, glass, candles, soap, paper, jewelry, and cake decorating. Founder and chief executive Nissanoff launched Make Meaning in 2010 and this is his fourth location (he has two in New York and one in Arizona). We caught up with Nissanoff, 46, on his train ride back to New York, and discussed creativity, clean thoughts, and fun for everyone.
Q. How was the opening?
A. It was incredible. We were just slammed. I was there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and there must have been 500 people that walked through the door. We had to call people to come in and help cover. We didn’t expect that kind of reception.
Q. How did you come up with the Make Meaning idea?
‘Mornings is more a mommy-and-me crowd, and in the afternoon it tends to be kids after school. But in the evenings, it’s predominantly adults of all ages.’
A. I have two young children and I very quickly realized two things: One, I want to spend the little time I have with my kids in a high-quality environment. And I learned they like to be creative. I felt like there was something bigger and better that we could bring to market that would really allow me to spend time with my kids.
Q. What’s your favorite aspect of the Make Meaning concept?
A. We are totally reinventing entertainment — that’s what makes what we’re doing so exciting. I also love the smiles, the fascination. It’s not just about being creative, but you get to watch [crafts] come to life, and there’s even a little bit of a science element. It’s just magical.
Q. Who is your typical audience?
A. Our business in the mornings is more a mommy-and-me crowd, and in the afternoon it tends to be kids after school. But in the evenings, it’s predominantly adults of all ages. We’re a great dating venue. But on the events side, we host birthday parties, bridal showers, corporate team building; it spans the gamut. Creativity is one of those things that is timeless and ageless.
Q. What is the gender breakdown?
A. You will be really surprised in terms of who it appeals to. From toddlers through age 9, it’s fifty-fifty boys and girls. Once you get older, it sways more toward girls. But we cater to boys, too, with crafts like ninja soap, or making soap or candles around a sports team that you like. The entertainment around creativity is really gender-neutral. There’s something for everyone.
Q. Why the slogan, “Dirty hands, clean thoughts”?
A. That’s from our marketing department (laughs), but it’s basically a play on words and you’ll find it throughout the store and throughout the brand. We’re a place where you get messy, but spend time with family and friends creating good, clean fun. It appeals to both the child and the adult, so when you come into the store, you’ll feel comfortable. We’re not too sophisticated for kids, and not too juvenile for adults.
Q. Any future expansion plans?
A. In the next 14 months, we have 12 stores that are slated to open, including two additional stores in the Boston area. So they’re coming fast and furious. The ultimate plan is to build 300 stores across the country. We don’t want to stretch ourselves too thin, but we will also start international expansion sometime next year.