The Art of Manufacturing

The Art of Manufacturing

Manufacturing is sexy. Sounds crazy? Just wait! Every Thursday, Z Holly takes us on a behind-the-scenes look at how entrepreneurs and pioneers who make stuff are trying to ‘make it’ in their industries. Get a sneak peek inside these risk-takers’ factories and studios — and most of all, their minds. If you’ve ever wondered how to build a brand, a business, or just a better mousetrap, tune in and enjoy. (More: http://artofmfg.com)

Episodes

September 13, 2018

$9 billion and a million miles away: we get a special behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s most ambitious and risky project ever. The James Webb Space Telescope will let us to look billions of years back in time and look at exoplanets in other galaxies. It’s pushing the boundaries of what is technologically possible.

When you think of manufacturing, you probably imagine mass production, but this project is one-of-a-kind. And because it...

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An underwater roboticist is determined to map the 70% of our globe covered in water. Everyone’s talking about space these days, but the most promising uncharted frontier might be under the sea. And exploring our oceans is much harder than you think. 

Preeti Battacharyya is a 30-year-old entrepreneur who fought tradition back in India and moved to the US. She received a PhD from MIT before launching her company, HydroSwarm. They’re ...

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August 30, 2018

Comedy isn’t always easy: this entrepreneur has learned some tough lessons manufacturing irreverent gifts that don’t meet everyone’s tastes.

This week we’re speaking with Jen Bilik, the founder and CEO of Knock Knock. With a name like that, you might guess there is some humor involved—and you’d be right. Knock Knock is known for their funny and often blue gifts and books.

But she has to deal with risk-averse retailers and easily of...

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Packaging should be your secret weapon, and this serial entrepreneur will show you how. Some of you might remember our episode a year ago, with Jesse Genet from Lumi. They recently raised $9M, so we’re checking in with Jesse to get an update. We talk about how they’ve evolved their strategy and what she learned raising venture capital. We also get tips for finding suppliers, and the advantages of offering a platform that gives cust...

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Meet the 3D printing company that might totally change how we manufacture, design, and even develop products.

When you hear the words 3D printing, what do you imagine? Do you think about those cheesy, plastic parts? Desktop Metal has raised $270M to change all that. Unlike other metal 3D printers, which are ridiculously expensive, incredibly dangerous, and slow, their first product is a machine that will print metal parts on the de...

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Amazon is eating the world! A wellness entrepreneur shares her secrets to launching a consumer product in today’s complex retail environment.

This week we’re going to the vault to play one of our favorite past episodes. We’re speaking with Courtney Nichols Gould, the co-founder and CEO of SmartyPants Vitamins. She had a really successful career in tech before launching a consumer packaged goods company. Before this venture, she was...

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Digitizing the factory isn’t always easy. A former counter-intelligence officer and former reality TV star talk about how they hope to bring modern data tools, IoT, and Lean Manufacturing to every factory floor. 

Manufacturing technologies have been changing fast. And it’s amazing what you can make custom and on-demand, and how you can iterate in the physical world. But transforming a factory to digital manufacturing is not so easy...

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A bioengineering startup tries to commercialize a new tool that might totally change the way we identify and treat disease.

We have tools to look inside the body without killing the patient, so why should we have to kill cells to understand disease? It’s hard to believe that only a hundred years ago, scientists mostly studied disease by dissecting cadavers. Doctors didn’t have tools like blood tests, imaging, molecular biology, and...

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A startup builds custom, on-demand 3D printed shoes and gives a glimpse of what innovation might look like in the future.

Recently, I took a little road trip to meet some manufacturers. And this week we’re visiting Wiivv, a startup shoe factory just north of San Diego that’s bringing modern digital manufacturing to the consumer. Imagine taking pictures of your feet with your smartphone, and getting custom-molded sandals delivered t...

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Roller derby inspires a body-positive athletic fashion brand that’s just hitting a tipping point. Though finding a factory that will take her business has gotten easier, the real challenges have just begun!

Micki Krimmel is the founder of an emerging apparel brand called Superfit Hero. She has some serious startup chops, but if you had told her she’d have anything to do with athletics, fashion, or business a decade ago she would ha...

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Four experts explore the dilemma of where to do your manufacturing. It’s is an important question to ask yourself when you are launching a company, and most people assume they need to go to China or elsewhere overseas. We’ve heard a lot about Made in America and retaining manufacturing jobs over the years. But is locally-made just a nice thing to talk about? Or are there times when it makes better business sense to make it here?

We...

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June 28, 2018

Pioneering wireless power: a rare interview from the charismatic and controversial founder of an L.A.-based startup that everyone thought would fail.

Meredith Perry founded uBeam back in 2011. Mark Cuban invested in the company and called it the next zillion-dollar idea. In 2015 Fortune called her “brilliant” and asked if she might be the next Elon Musk. But less than a year later, a key employee left the company in 2016 and skepti...

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Two brave women build businesses that might make you blush. What is it like to launch a product that you can’t talk about in “polite company”? Meet Julia Rose, founder of VaGenie, and Melanie Cristol, founder of Lorals. They’ve developed products for women’s health and pleasure, one a high tech “wearable” game and the other a special kind of apparel. We talk about what it’s like to raise money, find manufacturing partners, and mark...

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What’s the Future? The “Oracle of Silicon Valley” shares his contrarian thoughts about technology, capitalism, and preparing for the big shifts on the horizon.

This week we’re talking with futurist and author of the book “WTF: What’s the Future?” Tim O’Reilly. Although he’s not a manufacturer himself, his insightful perspectives are useful for anyone who wants to be prepared for a future driven by technology trends. You might not h...

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There’s a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers impacting manufacturing in America, and demand keeps  growing. Last week, we spoke about some pretty futuristic transportation ideas. This week we’re talking with a serial entrepreneur who is trying to beat the odds and make transportation and logistics work better today.

Lidia Yan is the founder and CEO of NEXT Trucking, a portal for matching shippers with carriers. Although Lidia isn’t a...

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(recorded live) Speeding through tubes at nearly the speed of sound; a former NASA systems engineer is helping make the future of transportation a reality.

When Elon Musk first proposed the Hyperloop in 2012, most people fell into two camps: enthusiastic or skeptical. Imagine if you could accelerate pods to twice the speed of an airplane, using a technology that was immune to weather and collision free, with low power consumption, ...

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Two clowns reimagine entertainment through micro-amusement parks. They use technology, a bit of showmanship, and a unique process of innovation to develop their immersive social games.

What does the circus have to do with manufacturing? Well, the founders of Two Bit Circus are planning to build micro-amusements around the world. To do so, they’re learning how to go from prototype to production on their unique games.

They’re about t...

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A skydiver with an unusual past shares how his business delivers custom apparel for action athletes and Hollywood by adopting new digital design and manufacturing technologies.

Julio Ruiz had a career in Puerto Rico shoeing horses and inseminating cows before he decided to become a manufacturer. It was Julio’s passion in skydiving and mad skills in graphic design that gave him the idea to start his action sports apparel company, Li...

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Cult favorite ice cream brand Coolhaus started in a broken down postal truck at the Coachella music festival. While growing their ice cream brand over nearly a decade, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, have many stories to tell, through marriage, two funding rounds, brick and mortar scoop shops, and fast growth wholesaling around the country. They explain how they’ve stayed true to their quirky past while scaling with manufacturing...

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Space! Diamonds! Startups! Cubesats could soon be streaming live video of anywhere on earth and beaming broadband data to the last three billion people around the globe. 

Thanks to the rapidly dropping price of launching these tiny satellites, that somewhat creepy—yet also very exciting—future might very soon be here. And this week’s  guest, Felix Ejeckam, is the founder and CEO of Akash Systems, whose special diamond composite tec...

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