8 episodes

Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.

Break Through NextFab

    • Business

Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.

    Break Through: Elena Brennan

    Break Through: Elena Brennan

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
    
    Welcome to episode number eight of Break Through, a NextFab made podcast series. I’m your host Ron Bauman founder of Milk Street Marketing and NextFab member. Our guest on this episode is Elena Brennan, fashion designer and founder of Bus Stop Boutique. A former advertising executive Elena broke away from the madness and chaos of that world to start her own business and fashion brand, Bus Stop X.
     
     
    Ron Bauman:
    How are you?
    Elena Brennan:
    I’m good. How are you, Ron?
    Ron Bauman:
    Good. Thanks for joining us today.
    Elena Brennan:
    Oh, you’re welcome.
    Ron Bauman:
    Thanks for hosting us here in Bus Stop Boutique.
    Elena Brennan:
    Yes. Welcome to my world.
    Ron Bauman:
    Well, it’s nice to have some fresh new scenery to come back to one of these interviews for the NextFab maker series podcast and video. So why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
    Elena Brennan:
    My name’s Elena Brennan, and I was born in London. My parents are Greek, so I’m 100% Greek even though I was born in London. I moved to America in the mid eighties for love.
    Ron Bauman:
    That’s the reason?
    Elena Brennan:
    It’s the best reason. I have a son who’s 30 years old. I have a little grand baby and she’s 16 months old.
    Ron Bauman:
    Get out of here.
    Elena Brennan:
    Yeah. We’ve got like a little one running around. My background is advertising and marketing. It’s something I did for 27 plus years. I started off in London at J. Walter Thompson, an international ad agency. After 27 plus years, I lost the passion for it. I always loved shoes always. When the time was right, I opened Bus Stop. We’re actually in our 12th year. We’re turning 12 this month. I’m like really excited about that.
    Ron Bauman:
    That’s great. Congratulations.
    Elena Brennan:
    Yeah. In 2015 I became… Well I don’t know if I should say I became, but in 2015 I started designing shoes. That’s what I’m really passionate about. Since then I’ve designed over 150 different styles. They’re very unique. It’s almost like a precious painting because there’s like one or 15 of each color. So you’re not going to see a lot of women wearing them. Later this month or next month, I’m launching my first ever wedding collection.
    Ron Bauman:
    Nice. Congratulations. Well, obviously we go a way back.
    Elena Brennan:
    We do.
    Ron Bauman:
    I’ve been watching Bus Stop Boutique from its inception. It’s amazing to see what you’ve done obviously. I’m so proud. I’m so happy for everything you’ve accomplished.
    Elena Brennan:
    Awe. Thank you.
    Ron Bauman:
    Why don’t you tell us… Because what I find fascinating is how you really just made that leap and what that leap was like saying, “I’m going to pack it in. I’m done with the advertising business. I’m going to follow my passion.” You lost the passion for marketing advertising and you rekindled that passion through shoes and through fashion. Why don’t you tell us what that was like to make that jump?

    Elena Brennan:
    Yeah, I mean it was something that I had thought about. I’d planted the seed for about 10 years. At that point I was a single mother because even though I moved here for love, it didn’t work out. We got divorced, but it’s all good. My son was little and so I wanted to wait until the time was right. Even though I loved advertising and I was very passionate about it, I started losing the respect

    • 21 min
    Break Through: Jessie Garcia

    Break Through: Jessie Garcia

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
    
    Welcome to episode number seven of Break Through, a NextFab made podcast series. I’m your host, Ron Bauman, founder of Milk Street Marketing and a member of NextFab. Our guest on this episode is Jessie Garcia, a technical entrepreneur whose bowling accident as a child led to the idea for Tozuda, a collision detection sensor that helps identify potential concussions. After experiencing high impact collisions throughout her life playing softball and rugby, Jessie has devoted her life to preventing the long-lasting effects of concussions.
    Ron Bauman: Good morning Jessie, how are you today?
    Jessie Garcia: I’m doing good, thank you.
    Ron Bauman: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us this morning.
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, for sure, anytime.
    Ron Bauman: So we’re here at NextFab South Philadelphia in your project space for Tozuda. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, a little bit about myself? Name’s Jessie Garcia. I’m the CEO and founder of Tozuda and we manufacture head impact sensors for concussion awareness. But I guess before I got into all of this, I was an athlete my whole life, I love playing sports and realized there was a big need for people to know when they get hit to hard, especially know they have a concussion.
    Ron Bauman: So you played sports? What did you play?
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so growing up I played softball. I traveled competitively starting at the age of six and just traveled nationally for that. And then when I went to college, I was at a club there and someone’s like, “You look like a rugby player.” And I was like, “Yeah, let me try rugby,” and fell in love with that sport.
    Ron Bauman: Now, did you have a concussion at some point that prompted all of this?
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so I’ve always been hard headed.
    Ron Bauman: Okay.
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, always been hard headed and I have a history of concussions actually. So my first concussion actually happened in bowling, believe it or not.
    Ron Bauman: Really?
    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, people are always like, “This is the safest sport ever.” And I’m like-
    Ron Bauman: Tell us about that, all about that.

    Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so it was my eight birthday party and I was tying my shoe and my friend went back with the bowling ball and knocked me unconscious. So that was my first concussion, but I was knocked out cold so that was always that. And then playing softball, I got hit in the head with a softball, also knocked out cold. So it was very clear instances of being hurt. But the one that was my worst one was in rugby and what was crazy about it was that I wasn’t knocked unconscious. I was going in for a try, which is a touchdown, touchdown equivalent, and got blindsided by this girl and just kept playing. And three days later, my coach emailed me and was like, “Jessie, I was looking at the footage. I’m so sorry, you were definitely concussed.” But even though I wasn’t knocked out, it was my worst one because I did everything wrong to recover.
    Ron Bauman: Did you know at the time that you had taken a shot at that point?
    Jessie Garcia: I knew I took a shot but I just-
    Ron Bauman: You didn’t have any effects or anything like that?
    Jessie Garcia: I didn’t know what the effects even were. That was back in 2009 so I remember, if I think about it, I was like, “Oh, why am I making myself go cross eyed? Why do I have such a bad headache after this game?”
    Ron Bauman: You had symptoms but you di

    • 38 min
    Break Through: Ethan Feinstein

    Break Through: Ethan Feinstein

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
    
    Welcome to episode number six of Breakthrough, A NextFab made podcast series. I’m your host, Ron Bauman, founder of Milk Street Marketing, and NextFab member. Our guest in this episode is Ethan Feinstein of Philadelphia Drum Company. Ethan builds custom drums through a collaborative process with other musicians in the local scene. Each drum is handmade and tailored to help drummers discover their unique tone. We started by talking about the first kit he built for a fellow drummer, what it’s like to be part of the Philadelphia drum community and what it’s like to be a new business owner.
    Ron Bauman: So Ethan, thanks for joining us here today at NextFab South Philadelphia.
    Ethan Feinstein: Thank you so much for having me.
    Ron Bauman: We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today.
    Ethan Feinstein: Anytime.
    Ron Bauman: So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and Philadelphia Drum Company.

    Ethan Feinstein: Sure. So I am Ethan. I’ve been playing drums for the last 17 years. I’ve been performing for about the last 10 or 11 years and I’ve been teaching drums for the last eight or nine, and about four and a half years ago, I started getting interested in trying to get a little bit more personal with my drum sound, since pretty much every aspect of my life already involved drums. So I figured why not take on one more aspect of it and actually get down to the science of the drums themselves. So I started experimenting with the help of a good friend of mine named Pete Brown, who was actually a member here at the time. And he helped me out with that first build, kind of got me going and also made me aware of the space. And after that, I started working here, just experimenting, trying to get down the process.
    Ethan Feinstein: And before long, after I had made my first, I guess it was a snare drum, a friend of mine asked me if I would build a full kit for him. Before I even knew whether I could do it or not, I said, “You know what? I’ll give it a try.” And it took me about a year and a half to build that full kit. But over the course of that, it taught me what I needed to know to kind of get the art of drum building off the ground.
    Ron Bauman: Work out all of the kinks?
    Ethan Feinstein: Yeah, kind of learn all the problems that I was going to run into. The first build was really about discovering everything that I could do wrong, and then learning how to correct those mistakes. And shortly after that, some friends of mine named Ben and Nisha approached me about turning this into a business. And so the three of us worked together to get the Philadelphia Drum Company off the ground. And from there, you know, we’ve been working to keep going.
    Ron Bauman: So that’s a relatively new endeavor. I think you just launched a brand, launch the company a few months ago, if I remember correctly?
    Ethan Feinstein: About six months ago was our official launch and we just got our online site up and running. Actually, the store portion of our online site, running a couple of weeks ago actually. So we can officially sell online.
    Ron Bauman: Philadelphiadrumcompany.com?
    Ethan Feinstein: Actually, it’s www.phillydrumco.com.

    Ron Bauman: Phillydrumco.com.
    Ethan Feinstein: Short and simple.
    Ron Bauman: Gotcha, gotcha. So how’s it been so far? What’s it like to be a newly minted business owner?
    Ethan Feinstein: Well it’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it. Being a part of the Philadelphia music community,

    • 19 min
    Break Through: Mel Sage

    Break Through: Mel Sage

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
     
    
    Welcome to episode number five of Break Through, a NextFab-made podcast series. This time our guest is Mel Sage of Sage Woodworks, a Philadelphia-based artist whose custom-fabricated designs use nature and typography to produce stunning and unique pieces. Throughout the conversation, you’ll learn about Mel’s journey from architect to entrepreneur, how she found a sense of community at NextFab, and advice for those who aspire to make a living from making.
    Ron Bauman: Good morning, Melanie. How are you today?
    Mel Sage: Morning. I’m good. How are you?
    Ron Bauman: I’m good. Bright and early on a Monday morning.
    Mel Sage: Yep.
    Ron Bauman: Thanks for joining us here at NextFab, South Philadelphia. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    Mel Sage: Okay. I’m Mel Sage. I am from the area originally, and I have a background in architecture. I have my bachelor in architecture. I went to school down South in Clemson, South Carolina, and I graduated in 2016. And I immediately moved to New York City, where I did a couple odd jobs and then I ended up at an architecture firm there. I worked at, it was like high-end residential firm. And I worked there for about a year and a half, and I worked on a five-story building in DC for most of the time that I was there. And I was always sort of interested in fabrication ever since college. So even when I was at the firm, I was interested in building the site models there, and I didn’t always get to do that. So when I did, it was a really exciting time for me.

    Mel Sage: I don’t know if you’re familiar with site models and architecture, but that stacking of the topography was always really beautiful to me. That’s where I got the idea for what I do now, which is wooden wall hangings. I take topography maps, and I underlay them in AutoCAD, and trace the topographies of different places. And then I cut out the wood on the laser cutter and stack them in more of an artistic way. I take a little bit of artistic liberty there.
    Mel Sage: But yeah, so I decided that I wanted to leave New York when I realized that I wanted to pursue this, but it was so expensive in New York. I was looking at wood shops there, and they were like $800 a month just to be a member. So, I figured maybe I would come back to my roots, come back to the Philadelphia area where I know it’s a little more affordable, and I found NextFab just through online searches. And their membership is, I think, a great deal.
    Mel Sage: My lease was about to end, so I was like, “I’m just going to up and move to Philly.”
    Ron Bauman: Nice.
    Mel Sage: So, I moved here and immediately started working at NextFab, and it’s been great. I’ve met a lot of people that are also in the same boat as me. It’s been fun to get to know people here.
    Ron Bauman: Yeah. That’s awesome. Was there a tipping point up in New York that you said “That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done with architecture. I want to pursue this dream that I have.”?
    Mel Sage: Yeah, I guess the tipping point was when I found myself sneaking away from my desk to hop on the laser cutter at work, and I was designing things like in CAD in my spare time, and hoping that my boss didn’t see. That was probably my tipping point. Also, I took a woodworking class when I was in Brooklyn, and it was a six-week course, and that was really fun. And I just found it super therapeutic. All of that came together, and then again, with my lease ending, I nee

    • 24 min
    Break Through: Terrance Vann

    Break Through: Terrance Vann

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
     
    
    In this episode we spoke with Terrance Vann; a multi-discipline artist, designer, and street-muralist in Wilmington, DE who has been highly recognized and received an individual artist fellowship from the state in 2017. His work has been shown across the region including the Delaware College of Art & Design. Terrance dove right in to tell us about his journey, what inspires his art, and how Blockbuster Video helped put him on his path.
    Ron Bauman Terrance, thank you for joining us here today at NextFab South Philly. How are you?
    Terrance: Blessed. It’s awesome to be here. I’m feeling some extreme creative vibes going on right now, so it’s awesome.
    Ron Bauman Good, that is the desired effect of being here.
    Terrance: Yeah, yeah, yeah, big time, big time. You’ve got robotic things happening, very cool.
    Ron Bauman Well Terrance, why don’t you tell us who you are and a little bit about yourself.
    Terrance: My name is Terrence, Terrence Vann, Terrance Ism. I go by different monikers, I guess you could say. I’m an artist. I’m from Wilmington, Delaware. I’m a painter, muralist, overall creative entity, I guess you could say. I just like to inspire people and just to stay in a creative place when I make my art, just to get it out there.
    Ron Bauman Where do you find inspiration?
    Terrance: Where don’t I find inspiration? Honestly, I’ve had bowls of cereal and got an idea from eating a bowl of cereal. I’m not even making that up. Putting my clothes on, I’ve been inspired by how my jeans wrinkle when I pull them up. One of my dreadlocks will fall down and be curled a certain way and it’ll make me think of an object in a painting.
    Terrance: It could literally be anything at this point.
    Ron Bauman How does that translate into your art?
    Terrance: Vibrations, vibrations. It’s like finding a way to communicate that inspiration to someone who didn’t see what you saw. It usually boils down to a feeling more so than a literal image. Well for me and my art, so it’s like how do I get someone to feel how I felt when I was creating this?
    Terrance: Not only that, but to see something through, whether it’s a symbol or a color even to tell a story, how do I do that? That’s what I’m constantly thinking about.
    Ron Bauman Where did you find your passion for art? At what age? How did this develop for you?
    Terrance: With Dragon Ball Z, oddly enough. Yeah, yeah, with Dragon Ball Z.
    Ron Bauman All right.
    Terrance: When I was in fourth grade, Dragon Ball Z was like the biggest show ever. All my cousins were actually fairly decent artists at the time. They were in like middle school and high school. I was in fourth grade just trying to do what they were doing with the little characters. My parents put me into the music side. Art was just always my thing. From there it just took on many different lives since then, from graffiti to all different types of things, yeah.

    Ron Bauman You grew up in Wilmington, correct?
    Terrance: I grew up in Wilmington. I traveled a lot as a kid, just back and forth. My family, like my mom and dad weren’t together, so I was always up here, in lower Delaware, Philly, all over the place.
    Ron Bauman Right, do you think that had an effect on your art?
    Terrance: For sure, for sure. I think it had an effect on me, because I had to constantly be thinking, because I’m in new environments all the time. You have friends here and then you have friends there and friends here. It’s not always the same.

    • 36 min
    Break Through: Maria Schneider

    Break Through: Maria Schneider

     
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    Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
     
    
    Welcome to episode number three of breakthrough, a NextFab made podcast series. I’m your host, Ron Bauman, founder of Milk Street Marketing, and a member of NextFab. Our guest on this episode is Maria Schneider, a visual artist who originally hails from Madrid, Spain, and holds degrees in law and finance. Maria is a beautiful example of someone who took their passion and turned it into a profession. Her work is on display at an impressive list of corporate locations and art galleries throughout the region. We started by talking about how, through a love of digital media and beautiful things, she found lasers and inspiration in urban architectural landscapes.
    Ron Bauman:
    Maria, thanks for taking the time to join us here at NextFab South Philly and speak with us.
    Maria Schneider:
    Thank you. I actually love to come here and I come here very often. Sometimes weekends, sometimes during the week, but I at least three, four days a week.
    Ron Bauman:
    Are you a full time member?
    Maria Schneider:
    I am a full time member, yes. And I spend… Some weeks I am here every day. Sometimes from 10 to 10 or sometimes a little less.
    Ron Bauman:
    Wow.
    Maria Schneider:
    But, yeah.
    Ron Bauman:
    That’s awesome. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    Maria Schneider:
    Well, I am an artist and I’m really from Spain. So I moved here and then I found out that art was my passion even though my background is in law and finance, which is what I came to the U.S. But, after that I started working with traditional media and little by little I found, well I found lasers. I was working with Philadelphia, and I took out to a NextFab and I found out that lasers existed. Yeah, I found lasers. Because I don’t come from the technology field, for me was kind of like a new thing and I really wanted to work with that. So I started using lasers into my art and that’s how I came out to be a member of NextFab and I started doing that.
    Ron Bauman:
    Awesome. Where are you from originally?
    Maria Schneider:
    I’m from Madrid, Spain.
    Ron Bauman:
    Oh nice.
    Maria Schneider:
    But I have been here forever, so.

    Ron Bauman:
    And you came here for work professionally, for law and finance?
    Maria Schneider:
    No, no, I came here as a student. I started to study a masters. I came to study a master in finance. I studied law and then finance and that naturally informs a lot of my work is very conceptual in some ways. But then I was in corporate for a while and decided to become an artist because for me it was a way to master the expression, like some people write books, and I thought I could really do more, much more like with my… visually, and that’s how I came out in the artist. And I didn’t like the corporate world and I end up just doing this full time.
    Ron Bauman:
    Have you always been passionate about art?
    Maria Schneider:
    Yes, I always like art but is for me… Yeah, always love art. I like beautiful things. So anything that is beautiful, which is a very broad concept, but it’s not that I went to a museum when I was little, I never did that. But I always like beautiful things and I always wanted to express myself, so for me art is a way of self expression more than anything else.
    Ron Bauman:
    And now you’re selling your art through your website, mariarschneider.com?
    Maria Schneider:
    No, actually… Well, I do sell it through my website, but it’s not directly. It’s more my presentation card. I work mostly with art advisors and I… When they call me and then they see

    • 20 min

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