Team

Matthew Burnett

Co-Founder

Hometown:
Detroit, MI

Bio

Matthew Burnett is a Detroit native whose grandfather inspired his interest in manufacturing, as he was a watchmaker by trade. Matthew received a BFA in industrial design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 2007. He began his professional career designing watches for Marc Jacobs, DKNY, and Diesel. After working in the watch industry, he decided to start his own line, Steel Cake, having watches made overseas. Though previously designing and overseeing production for big brands, he found that manufacturing as an independent brand overseas would be a much different experience. Extended turnaround periods, language barriers, and continuous manufacturing errors brought the Steel Cake Watch line to a close. In 2010, Burnett decided to start a line of leather goods (The Brooklyn Bakery) using domestic manufacturers in order to maintain control over the quality of production and form closer relationships with the suppliers and contractors. In 2011 Burnett partnered with Tanya Menendez on The Brooklyn Bakery to manage sales and operations. After pairing with Burnett on the accessories brand, Menendez suggested that they develop a resource that would assist designers in finding American manufacturers. With Burnett’s background in manufacturing and Menendez’s experience with operations, they began to develop the blueprint for what is today, Maker’s Row.

Tanya Menendez

Co-Founder

Hometown:
Hayward, CA

Bio

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tanya studied technology and its socioeconomic impacts on rural economies at UCSD. Conducting a number of studies on financial technology advancements in Oaxaca, Mexico, she co-authored “The Economics of Migration”, published by the University of California. Shortly thereafter, Menendez joined the Google Strategy and Integration group advising on internal system operations. In 2011 Menendez partnered with Matthew Burnett on The Brooklyn Bakery to manage sales and operations. While at The Brooklyn Bakery, she came up with the idea to create a platform for entrepreneurs to be able to easily access American manufacturers. Combining her experience in operations / automation with Matthew’s experience in global manufacturing, they started Maker’s Row.

Rafael Gonzaque

Senior Software Engineer

Hometown:
New York, NY

Bio

Born and raised in New York City, Rafael began his career at The Daily, the first national news publication with original content on the iPad. He helped build the system that powered the iPad app, along with a Facebook app that allowed for social consumption of news. While at The Daily, he founded and began working on Wish & Tell, a community-driven products index built around things people wanted. He soon realized he needed to get acquainted with e-commerce, so he joined Acadaca where he built e-commerce websites for jewelry and fashion clients. Having been stricken by the entrepreneurial itch and wanting to do something impactful, Rafael joined Maker’s Row to help bring “Made in USA” back. When not cranking out code, Rafael can be found writing on his blog, running, and on a never-ending quest for the best lobster rolls.

Rafael Balbi

Product Manager

Hometown:
New York, NY

Bio

Rafael’s parents laid the groundwork for what would blossom into his appreciation of all that is creative and entrepreneurial. A Syracuse University graduate Rafael’s first dive into the apparel space began with his college t shirt line, Souleve. As Director of Operations for Lean Startup Machine, Rafael traveled the world training young entrepreneurs and enterprises on lean methodology. A self taught jack-of-many-trades, Rafael’s insatiable thirst for knowledge has kept him hungry. A member of the Spring 2013 Techstars NYC class, Rafael has the startup experience that can only be learned with the sands of time. "Knowledge crowns those who seek her".

Melissa Lonsdale

UX Designer

Hometown:
Miami, FL

Bio

After graduating from the University of Florida with a BA in Spanish and a minor in Art History, Melissa spent two years studying Architecture in graduate school, which served as her introduction to the world of Graphic Design. She spent a couple of years working as a freelance Graphic Designer in Miami before moving to NYC to join the Maker’s Row team. Melissa is constantly striving to better understand the needs of Maker’s Row users and implement design changes that will enhance the Maker’s Row experience.

Alexandra Rodriguez

Marketing Intern

Hometown:
Daniel Island, SC

Bio

Southerner by birth, New Yorker by choice. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Alexandra studied Media and Political Science, and has found her passions to be working with consumer products: clothing and music. Her background consists of working in Fashion Design and Marketing in Los Angeles, for Creative Director Jason Bleick, at Bleick studio and EVER as a design assistant. She hopes to incorporate the marketing and design skills she has acquired on the west coast to inspire Maker’s Row designers across the nation.

Mr. Pickles

Maker of Aww

Hometown:
Brooklyn, NY

Bio

Mr. Pickles is the youngest and best-looking member of the Maker’s Row team. While it’s unclear whether he’s more excited about chasing plastic cups across the floor or promoting American manufacturing, Mr. Pickles is nonetheless a vital asset to the team. When he’s not practicing the Pickles dance or winning over the hearts of his co-workers, he enjoys sleeping in warm sunny spots on the floor.