Everyone can find something for himself on the Novice Workshop channel, whether it’s a little mechanical toy, a practical everyday item or a product breakdown.
This year, vMaker has asked Novice Workshop to write a column to share all their work. Let’s find out how our new columnist Yunhan Lin (林允涵) became a maker and made a name for himself as a creator.
Focus on creativity, with fun and depth
Novice Workshop only has two employees at the moment, and the one who’s always on camera is Yunhan Lin, who has wanted to be a maker ever since he was at university studying mechanical engineering.
Back then, Yunhan didn’t know where to start, so he found himself a product design job. But it wasn’t until crowdfunding became popular in Taiwan that he saw his opportunity, quitting his job and starting work on his projects, making tutorial videos and eventually becoming a maker.
The Novice Workshop channel focuses on content creation and is highly creative. They have cup holders, phone holders, calendars and other decorations, like the Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art nightlight. There are also unique items for special occasions.
Lin told us that when he first started the channel, he was trying to make videos with a practical bent, but quickly ran out of ideas. He then started working on things like mechanical toys and a foosball table to try to be more entertaining. In his popular “Breakdown” series, he breaks down toys and machines for his viewers.
Work and play at the same time
Besides online content, Novice Workshop also engages in offline events. At Maker Faire Taipei, they entered in the Taiwan Puzzle Contest, competing against participants of different ages. The contest was a lot of fun, and they got to learn a little more about Taiwan.
Novice Workshop wants to use great content to get viewers, viewers who share their values and support their work. That’s why they put so much effort into their content.
Novice Workshop has always been a “fast creator”—they release a new video every Wednesday. To keep up the pace, they have to make many modifications, which means the videos are sometimes a little rough cut. But this also means they have to learn by doing, so they keep moving forwards without getting discouraged.
To date, Novice Workshop remains open-source. All their designs are available for download, and anyone can manufacture or modify their products, which encourages people to share their work with one another and creates more possibilities. Yunhan is not worried about their products being stolen and marketed; he wants them to remain open-source.
Creating maker content is difficult
Despite getting more and more viewers, it’s not all smooth sailing for Novice Workshop just yet. Yunhan told us they recently did a viewer survey which, while yielding positive feedback, didn’t really help them solve their problems.
Yunhan has realized that most people are not used to paying for all types of online content. They might pay for content like courses in investment or foreign languages, but there isn’t much maker content in Taiwan, let alone a creator like Novice Workshop that focuses on content rather than selling products.
Creators may prefer to inspire others to make things for themselves and enjoy the fun of it, but if they want to make a living from their content, they have to compromise and find ways to monetize it. Often, this means selling bundled materials for home assembly or using products for workshops. Nevertheless, Yunhan still wants people to try to do things for themselves and genuinely enjoy being makers.
Going to events to keep moving forward
Whenever Yunhan feels he is stagnating creatively, he goes to a maker event to give himself a boost. Maker Faire Taipei, New Taipei Maker Festival, Mega Maker Day… these are some of the best places to meet new people and see amazing products, and they remind him why he chose to be a maker.
Novice Workshop is now working on subscriber funding so they can create better content and keep the channel running. Once they have grown, they may start looking for a place to store all their products; in the meantime, they are also planning to work with other makers to make even more content available. As for future projects, Yunhan says that they will keep making things they find interesting.
Yunhan also has high hopes for his own future projects. Most of his products to date borrow elements from other people’s products, but he wants his new designs to be completely original and unique.
What will happen to the Novice Workshop maker career? What new products will they release? We can’t wait to find out!