For years now, I’ve had an eye on By Making – a Trinidad and Tobago-based product design company that has consistently designed and manufactured utilitarian objects that challenge what is expected from the Caribbean. I first wrote about Founder and Creative Director Marlon Darbeau’s work in this article for Small Axe online in early 2009. Since then, I’ve noted By Making’s consistent reinterpretation of the familiar and traditional to create objects that are beautiful, desirable, new and surprising – all centred around the idea of flexible, modern living. Additionally, in the past few years, Marlon and I have had many thought-provoking conversations about Caribbean product design (and graphic design, too), and I’ve always supported his work – whether by showing up to exhibitions, or by purchasing By Making objects. In 2014, I took my support further by pitching this article on By Making to MACO Sourcebook, and the folks at MACO liked Marlon’s work so much that I was asked to revise and expand on that article for MACO Caribbean Living.
In late 2015, Marlon asked me (along with our colleague Gareth Jenkins) to team up with him and his wife Melissa Darbeau (a director as well since the company’s inception) to become a By Making partner. After many Sunday Skype chats, meetings, conversations, phone calls and emails, I happily joined By Making in March 2016 as Managing Director. At present, I’m in charge of managing the business, as we seek to bring new objects to market, thereby optimising our manufacturing processes and capacity, and increasing our presence both locally and in the export market. As part of that, I’ve been writing blog posts and helping to manage By Making’s social media presence. It’s been a great journey thus far, and I’m looking forward to what’s next!
Photo taken by Nadia Huggins at Ramsa Sawmill Products Ltd in Arouca, Trinidad
From left: Marlon Darbeau (Founder and Creative Director), Melissa Darbeau (Director of Production), Melanie Archer (Managing Director), Gareth Jenkins (Commercial Director)