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Maker Design Studio: Setting the World Alight

Founded in 2014 by Mat Macmillan, Tauranga-based Maker Design Studio continues to sell a range of lighting products using resources from New Zealand, producing solutions from Drum Pendants to Table Lamps that, according to Macmillan, improve in quality with time.

Maker Design Studio has been growing “gradually but steadily”, Macmillan says. He has enjoyed this growth over the years, and is very proud of it considering how challenging his industry is. For Macmillan, this is all a dream come true.

“It was kind of a risk and a bit of a pipe dream that I could start this business and make it work. Anything in furniture-making, as a craftsman, is not easy.”

The start of the journey

Maker Design Studio was born out of Macmillan’s idea to create a studio that’s focused on utilising a traditional skillset to create products. These products would be crafted by either Macmillan himself, or by others in his workshop.

Macmillan had background experience as a carpenter and as a cabinet maker, and had engaged in various business ventures over the years, so he was more than qualified to take on the task.

Manufacturing lighting products began simply as one of several ideas that Macmillan had for the company, but it took off, and the rest is history.


Architects and interior designers provide a great amount of direct sales for Maker Design Studio, with Macmillan’s retail partners completing some great work, getting the products out there for people to see.

Maker Design Studio currently sells 30-50 lights per week across roughly 16 shops in New Zealand, and around seven shops in Australia.

Why Maker Design Studio is NZ made

Macmillan likes that local people and resources are involved in the production of his lighting solutions. He takes pride in the fact that he has been able to grow a profitable business, whilst remaining NZ made. This is why he’s a happy member of the Buy New Zealand Made campaign.

“I’m proud that we’ve managed to keep growing the business and keep it economically viable, and still within New Zealand… It’s really nice to grow a business that includes your local craftspeople and uses products and materials that are from your area as well.”