My Story


First Person

I was born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area, but spent 2002–2004 living abroad in Northern France and Southern Belgium before returning to the Pacific Northwest for college. I studied graphic design at Portland State University, and though I fell in love with the designed world, I discovered that I would not personally make a very good graphic designer and I left halfway through the program to sort out my next adventure.

As a result, I started a hobby business, Focal Length Designs (2008–2011), making cuff bracelets and other jewelry from old broken camera lens parts and selling them through Etsy as well as local and national craft fairs. From 2009–2012, I was instrumental in founding and leading the I Heart Art: Portland project, which, with the generous support of Etsy, provided professional development and unique networking opportunities to Portland's craft community. It was this project in particular that sparked my passion for helping creative entrepreneurs thrive as independent businesses.

Meanwhile, my day job as a glorified copy monkey shifted as I started working in marketing and communications at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and its partner, Museum of Contemporary Craft. A year later I was promoted to Web & Print Project Manager, overseeing two in-house graphic designers and a handful of student photographers and videographers documenting the college's programs.

When the I Heart Art: Portland program dissolved in 2012, I set out to offer a similar program but with an expanded scope and mission. After much research and planning, I founded Maker's Nation as a nonprofit organization that provides business education, resources, and community support for creative small business owners.

I quit my day job at PNCA one year later to pursue Maker's Nation with more gusto, and in 2017 joined forces with Academy of Handmade to double-down on my work in the handmade community, while also producing stellar conferences and unconventional gatherings for indie business and community leaders.

My creative outlets include writing, cooking, working in the yard, home improvement projects, building a tiny cabin on a mountaintop, and building a long-term investment portfolio of renovated rental properties in one of the hottest markets in the country. I currently live in Vancouver, Washington (a suburb of Portland, Oregon) with my husband Justin and our adorable blue-eyed husky/red heeler mix, Zeus.

I'm interested in social engagement, collaboration, and mutual success, and I believe strongly that the best way to balance our commodity-driven culture is to contribute to the community through the open exchange of knowledge, ideas, and information.

I try to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to every hat that I wear and never stop asking why. I'm passionate about lasting community, a local living economy, paying attention, giving a shit, and doing my part to make the world a better place. But most of all, I want to help you and your business flourish.

Third Person

Isaac Watson was born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area, but spent 2002–2004 living abroad in Northern France and Southern Belgium before returning to the Pacific Northwest for college. He studied graphic design at Portland State University, and though he fell in love with the designed world, Isaac discovered that he would not make a very good graphic designer and left halfway through the program to sort out his next adventure.

As a result, Isaac started a hobby business, Focal Length Designs (2008–2011), making cuff bracelets and other jewelry from old broken camera lens parts and selling them through Etsy as well as local and national craft fairs. From 2009–2012, he was instrumental in founding and leading the I Heart Art: Portland project, which, with the generous support of Etsy, provided professional development and unique networking opportunities to Portland's craft community. It was this project in particular that sparked his passion for helping creative entrepreneurs thrive as independent businesses.

Meanwhile, Isaac's day job as a glorified copy monkey shifted as he started working in marketing and communications at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and its partner, Museum of Contemporary Craft. A year later he was promoted to Web & Print Project Manager, overseeing two in-house graphic designers and a handful of student photographers and videographers documenting the college's programs.

When the I Heart Art: Portland program dissolved in 2012, Isaac set out to offer a similar program but with an expanded scope and mission. After much research and planning, he founded Maker's Nation as a nonprofit organization that provides business education, resources, and community support for creative small business owners.

Isaac quit his day job at PNCA one year later to pursue Maker's Nation with more gusto, and in 2017 joined forces with Academy of Handmade to double-down on his work in the handmade community, while also producing stellar conferences and unconventional gatherings for indie business and community leaders.

His creative outlets include writing, cooking, working in the yard, home improvement projects, building a tiny cabin on a mountaintop, and building a long-term investment portfolio of renovated rental properties in one of the hottest markets in the country. He currently lives in Vancouver, Washington (a suburb of Portland, Oregon) with his husband Justin and their adorable blue-eyed husky/red heeler mix, Zeus.

Isaac is interested in social engagement, collaboration, and mutual success, and beleives strongly that the best way to balance our commodity-driven culture is to contribute to the community through the open exchange of knowledge, ideas, and information.

Isaac brings an entrepreneurial spirit to every hat that he wears and never stops asking why. He's passionate about lasting community, a local living economy, paying attention, giving a shit, and doing his part to make the world a better place. But most of all, he wants to help you and your business flourish.