Are members mainly students or a mix of students with artisans, retirees and entrepreneurs?
Factory Two sees a lot of students, due to our partnership with Kettering University – its library has 10 day passes available to students at all times, meaning anyone attending Kettering need only pay for classes and materials costs to use Factory Two. However, we also see local artists, hobbyists, retirees, professional woodworkers and apparel brand owners in the space daily.
What have been some of the main challenges Factory Two has faced in getting started?
Factory Two began as Flint STEAMworks, in a 1,000-square-foot space located above the Flint Local 432 on First Street downtown. Being able to move to our beautiful 17,000-square-foot facility at Grand Traverse and Water Streets has been a real blessing. It comes with its own growing pains, of course – we get folks regularly coming in for tours and saying, “I didn’t even know this was here!” Getting our name out there, and adjusting to growing our space so quickly, have presented a challenge – but one we’re enjoying!
Do you offer any comps/ scholarships/sliding scale dues for low-income members?
Factory Two offers sponsored memberships, available to folks by filling out a form on our website. We also work with individuals to offer sponsored classes when necessary. At Factory Two, we aim to be as accessible as possible, particularly to low-income and impoverished members of the Flint community.
Can you talk about some of the things the staff is doing to make Factory Two inclusive and diverse?
Factory Two’s Girls Rock Flint and Django Girls Flint programs intentionally targeted women, specifically women of color, as their primary audience. We regularly set up at events hosted by schools in Flint, encouraging low-income, primarily black students’ interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
What are some of the projects that have gotten their start at Factory Two?
GoodBoy Clothing Co. got their start screen printing at Factory Two, and apparel brands such as Savage Village and Hard As Flint make their merchandise here as well! We also see local businesses such as Tenacity Brewing Co. and Recycle Bike Shop & Mobile Bike Repair making their own T-shirts at Factory Two. In addition, members run or supplement their small businesses using our laser cutter and vinyl cutter.
What are some of the things people make there?
Folks like to make lots of personal projects here at Factory Two. One member designed and created two bass speaker cabinets using our Shopbot CNC router and other woodshop tools – they were shaped like an actual double bass! Many members have created wedding gifts and decorations…in one case, a giant Connect Four game for the reception!
What groups currently meet there?
Regular partners include organizations such as Flint SOUP, Fly-Town Puppet Theatre, the Flint Smart City Initiative and US Ignite, SIPI Inc., and Boy Scouts of America. We also host Game Space nights the first and third Wednesday of the month, and as the weather cools off and snow starts to fall, we’ll start back up our second Thursday Drone Users Group!
What are some of the plans Factory Two’s board and directors have for the future?
We currently have plans to expand and upgrade our textile and flatstock screen printing stations, as well as adding a jewelry making station. We recently purchased leatherworking equipment after hosting a couple of leatherworking classes and are looking forward to devoting some space on-site to that. Our long-term plans include expanding into our upstairs space, where a whole world of possibilities opens up!