Innovative entrepreneurs have been fueling the Northland economy for over a century. They’ve been dreaming, making, and building on ideas big and small, creating jobs and stronger communities. The people behind these businesses are always up for a challenge and have learned to pivot and grow, despite the challenges posed by the effects of COVID-19.
The new season of Making It Up North shines a light on just some of these entrepreneurs’ stories, exploring what it takes to ‘Make It’ in the Northland, as well as through a global pandemic. Meet dozens of entrepreneurs in the trenches, including three Duluth-based visionaries: Kate Lindello of Noihsaf Bazaar, Malcolm Macaulay of LightSpeed Lift and Tim White of Crud Cloth.
Kate Lindello turned the fashion industry on its head. Literally. Her business’s name is Noihsaf Bazaar. (Noihsaf is fashion spelled backwards.) Her idea was to create an Instagram account to serve as a platform for users to sell their own items. The result is a curated resale shop focused on independent and female designers. This virtual business model has allowed everyone – from New York City to rural Minnesota – to have access to unique pieces of clothing that expresses their own sense of style. And many have taken note: Lindello and her resale marketplace have been featured in the Star Tribune and the New York Times, and her seven Instagram pages draw over 100K followers.
“Noihsaf was built off my passion for brands I didn’t have access to in Duluth,” said Lindello. “I also wasn’t finding these brands on larger resale platforms. Turns out, a lot of others were having this same issue. I am proud of the community we have built; based on sustainability and inclusiveness.”
Long-time physical therapist Malcolm Macaulay was looking for a way to help people who were either recovering from an injury or facing a long-term illness, but he wasn’t finding something in the marketplace that quite met the needs of his clients. So, he designed LightSpeed Lift. Made entirely in the Twin Ports, it’s a device that surrounds a treadmill and supports the user to take some of their weight off their joints to help with movement. This innovation has helped many people on their road to recovery and better fitness. “We call it the ‘LightSpeed Smile’, says Macaulay. “It’s when people experience exercise while being supported by this system. It allows them to do more when exercising.” The LightSpeed Lift can be found in training rooms at universities, physical therapy clinics and private homes across the US.
Tim White, an avid mountain biker, loved spending a day in the woods riding his bike. But he didn’t like how, after a fun day outside, he’d have to drive home caked in mud. Not finding a convenient way to quickly wipe down after a ride, White created the Crud Cloth, a self-contained instant shower in a bag. Since originally creating the Crud Cloth, White is exploring ways that these portable soap and cleaning cloths can be used in other ways, including by the homeless community.
For White, the creation of the business was about more than innovating a solution to a problem. He also brought his daughters along for the ride. “It’s important to teach my daughters about entrepreneurship,” said White. “I share my experiences with running this business with them, and we also watch Making It Up North together to talk about startups and what goes into creating and running a business.”
Learn more about these three entrepreneurs’ journeys, as well as the stories of dozens of other northern entrepreneurs, in the new and final season of Making It Up North, premiering on Thursday, January 7 at 8pm on PBS North. The program is available on all screens – over the air, and through livestreaming on pbs.org and the free PBS Video App. Episodes are also available to stream after their premiere on demand on the PBS Video App and at makingitupnorth.org.