Creator Profile: Morgan Walker, Founder of Make·Do Market - Oakland
Hi Morgan! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a freelance event producer, and strategist raised in the Midwest (Chicago and St. Louis). I'm currently based in Oakland, California with my husband and daughter. In Spring of 2017, I created Make·Do Market, a curated marketplace and shopping event featuring local black woman-owned shops, brands, and makers.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in business. I can't say I enjoyed it but I've always been fascinated with entrepreneurship. As a child, my mother and I would constantly think up business ideas. Mostly really terrible ones. Now that I think about it, I don't know that we've actually stopped doing this.
As far as my career, much of my experience has been with non-profit organizations but I have always had little side gigs to feed my creativity. Photography, selling vintage clothing, soapmaking, makeup artistry - all types of things! I've learned so much about myself over the last decade and came to realize that I have a strong desire to create and serve others.
Favorite Job: The ones I've created for myself.
Most Bizarre: Chuck E. Cheese's - Yes, I had to wear the suit on multiple occasions. Ironically, I was a hostess in charge of events!
What led you to begin Make·Do and what are the values surrounding your business?
Black women have always been so open to letting me contribute to their passion projects and businesses. As I made a pivot in my career path, I knew that a big part of the work that I wanted to do was support the same group of women that had been so instrumental to my growth personally and professionally.
I love to research and discover new people, places and things. A few years back, I grew tired of entering entrepreneurial spaces and seeing very little representation of black women. It was then that I decided to create spaces that elevate and showcase black women makers and creative entrepreneurs.
We love that you're taking the time and energy to make spaces for black female creative entrepreneurs - do you have a favorite or proudest moment from one of the events you've created?
A guest once shared that participating in my launch event really changed the trajectory of her life. After being challenged with some extremely trying personal life events, she found solace in a new group of friends that she met at the event.
What makes you passionate about what you do?
It's really simple. In the same way that I want to thrive, I want to see other black women and their families thrive. We are deserving of others support and the opportunity to create longstanding legacies.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face?
I think the biggest challenge I'm faced with is finding additional resources and growing while staying focused on my intentions.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other? How have women supported you?
In the last few years, there have been a number of reports and articles highlighting the rise of women-owned business and more specifically black women-owned businesses. Very exciting. Then you look at the revenue gap and it's disheartening. I recently read an article in Black Enterprise that "African American women-owned businesses earned average revenues that equate to poverty levels within the United States, producing a meager annual revenue of $24,700 vs. $143,100 among all women-owned businesses." Black women are in need of everyone's support, not just other black women. The livelihood of our families and furthermore, our communities are dependent on it.
In short, it's important because if WE don't support each other then who will?
What women bring you inspiration?
There are lots of really amazing women out there and I could rattle off that are doing really great things in this world. Then I think about the women who literally gave me life and would give me their last if I needed it. My husband always says that he is forever grateful for and indebted to all the women that contributed to his well-being. He's not a woman but I guess you can say he's an inspiration to me as well. My mother, Iris, and late grandmothers, Johnnie and Christine, are my biggest inspirations.
What have you learned from creating your own business that you think can apply to any creative endeavor?
The whole premise of what I'm doing is making do. Making a means with limited resources. I realized that I could dream up all these ideas or I could give it a go. If you're waiting to do something until you have more money, more followers, or support from friends, you might be waiting forever. Actually seeing your vision come to life is much more gratifying than all those plans you're making.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
Saint Heron has done no wrong in my eyes. So I'd have to go with Solange and her team.
Do you have any resources that have been helpful to you that we should know of?
I personally feel like mindset work is the most important work you can do to push yourself forward. I'm currently finding a lot of gems in The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks. [Big thank you to my friend Kyndacee, for gifting me this book and supporting my current obsession with it.]
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
Design! I'm slightly intimidated by it but also very excited to see where this will go.
What are some of your favorite places in the Bay Area?
Red Bay Coffee ( I don't drink coffee so that says a lot!)
Grand Lake Theatre
What's coming up next for you?
I just turned 33 and I feel like the things that are going to manifest are much bigger than what I would ever say here. I'm looking forward to diving deep with more clients doing strategy work, creative projects with my husband, and a slew of successful events and pop-ups.