Crafting Success: Inside the Manufactory Collective – Where Entrepreneurs Build Dreams!

The Manufactory Collective is open and thriving!

Co-Founders Nate and Debbie Irwin have brought their dreams to life—along with the dreams of other local entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

Nate has a background in aviation and mechanical engineering. He previously worked at Dynamic Aviation for 12 years, and also spent 2 years as the Engineering Manager for a startup airline. He has "always enjoyed designing, building, and tinkering with machines.”

“Debbie Irwin is an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder.  She was the executive director for the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF) for the past five years, and recently left to become the Managing Director at Lighthouse Labs in Richmond. Debbie loves working with entrepreneurs and helping them find creative ways to overcome the challenges in their businesses.”

“Space. Equipment. Manufacturing Support.” This is how the Manufactory Collective enables it's tenants; through it's proven co-working business model and providing shared manufacturing opportunities. 

The Manufactory Collective is a space where entrepreneurs with a manufacturing venture can gain access to assembly, storage, and production space, large and specialized equipment, and industry experts to help them scale up their businesses."

Manufactory Collective Co-Founder, Nate, was kind enough to give us a tour and tell us all about it. Read on to check it out!

Q: How did the idea for the Manufactory Collective come about?

Nate: The idea for Manufactory Collective started as a DIY garage concept, where members would be able to access space and tools to work on their cars. We started to find that there were several small product makers and entrepreneurs that needed help finding tooling and workspace for their products, so we pivoted away from a garage concept to a shared workshop concept. The idea matured from there to a coworking and makerspace for new and growing product based businesses.

Q: What is your hope/goal for the future of the Manufactory Collective?

Nate: Our goal is to create a space where someone with a product idea has access to support and training to turn that idea into a real product, and then turn that product into a business. We want to be a space where someone can move their business operation out of their home, grow and develop their business, and then one day move into their own space.

Q: What are you most proud of/excited about in regards to bringing this venture to life?

Nate: We have seen a lot of support and interest from the community, and we're excited to see how our space is used as we add more capabilities. We're also excited to see all the different product ideas that get explored and developed.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

Nate: We will be hosting an event on June 22nd that we're calling Brain Dump Day, which will be a time for anyone with a product idea to sit and meet with other makers to create a simple proof of concept that they can use for prototyping or validation of their idea. This is an important first step, especially for people who may feel intimidated because they don't have a making or manufacturing background.

Let’s check out the tenants who have spaces in the Collective:

Click on each tenant to learn more about them! 

Valley Creative Reuse

Friendly City Clay & Art Center

Snapology of Harrisonburg

Juice Works 3D

Embracing Fire Designs

Helix Hydrogen

Green Hill Solar

Devin Whetstone

In addition, the Collective also offers these additional spaces for use:

Machine Shop

Event Space

Conference Room

Flex Space w/ work benches

Warehouse x 3 - various sizes

Rental studios x 3

There are all kinds of happenings going on at the Manufactory Collective - be sure to keep up with all of them on socials and be sure to visit in person to get in on the action!

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Address: 1157 S High St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

About Celeste Baker

Celeste graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a bachelors degree in Sociology before starting her career in Real Estate Administration. Celeste assists the team of agents with transaction processing and marketing. Celeste Baker is a native of Woodbridge, VA. She moved to Harrisonburg in 2020 with her husband, Calvin, and their two children, after Calvin accepted a job with JMU. Go Dukes! Outside of the office, Celeste enjoys traveling with her family. She is a lover of books, as well as an amateur chef and gardener.