Meet ‘The Makers’ - Amy & Becks
If you enjoy sipping a fine craft gin or watching a classic movie under the stars, project and event specialists Amy Kemeys and Becks Clarke are the pair who will make it happen.
Known as ‘The Makers’, the Tauranga women are the driving force behind the annual boutique festival, Gincredible, and the ever-popular Night Owl Cinema.
“Seeing people enjoying what we have put on motivates us,” Amy explains. “For gin, they get to enjoy a product that they like in a celebratory festival context with live music, good food and entertainment. For Night Owl Cinema, it feels nostalgic to enjoy a balmy summer’s night out snuggled up with your friends and family enjoying a film. It is such a simple yet effective means to make people happy.”
Amy, 42, and Becks, 47, launched The Makers as a side hustle in 2019. “We had a desire to produce some new events that are crafted in a bespoke way and celebrate the people of Tauranga and our stunning region,” Becks explains.
Together, they have 25 years’ experience developing and delivering events and projects. The Makers now organise everything from gala dinners to concerts, conferences, public open days, school balls and graduations, plus local and national sporting events.
“I got to know Becks’ mum over several years through one particular event,” Amy explains. “One day she said to me ‘you and Becks should catch up. You’re both into events and you’d get on so well. We eventually met at a local café for coffee and cake as we both share a love of good food and beverages. We hit it off so decided to go into business together from there.”
The pair initially struggled to define who they were and it took a while to settle on a business name. “We wanted our name and brand to create an element of mystery and interest and to encourage people to want to ask about us,” Amy says. “We were checking out an event in Wellington and over a cocktail at The Library said that we just like making stuff. It was at that point that we became The Makers.”
Their inaugural gin festival in 2019 was a trial run “to see how we worked together and what developing a business together could look like”, Becks says. Their combined talent and enthusiasm meant Gincredible was an instant hit.
Around 1500 people flocked to the Village Green at Tauranga’s Historic Village to sample products from artisan gin distillers and attend master classes during the three day festival, and this year’s event saw an increase in both exhibitors and attendees.
"WE BELIEVE THAT GATHERING TOGETHER - WHETHER IT BE AT AN EVENT, FESTIVAL OR CELEBRATION - IS VITAL FOR BUILDING STRONG CONNECTIONS. THIS IS WHAT UNITES US AND KEEPS US CONNECTED TO OUR ROOTS, OUR CULTURE AND OUR VALUES," BECKS SAYS.
Late last year the opportunity arose to buy the existing Night Owl Cinema brand and the pair jumped at the chance. “We loved the product and loved the concept. The previous owner wanted someone who was confident to continue the good feel that the cinema provides for the community and we fitted that perfectly.”
The Makers now plan to increase the size, scope and offering of Night Owl Cinema in the future. “We can run fundraising events, corporate and private screenings and have two screen set ups that are different sizes to suit indoor and outdoor environments.”
Seeing their hard work come together to create experiences that other people can enjoy is what Amy and Becks love most about event management. The Bay of Plenty is the perfect location to stage events – there’s great community support from locals, a good sized population and plenty of outstanding food and beverage producers to include and rely upon. “Tauranga is a very event-friendly city,” Amy says. “It’s beautiful and we are both proud to call Tauranga Moana home.”
Covid-19 has, of course, changed everything for the events industry. “As event managers we have to be flexible to deliver events that will adhere to the guidance from the Government. For us people’s safety and comfort come first, and we will adapt our business in a way that we always approach something. That is, we want to create event experiences that we ourselves would want to attend.”
Becks says the last project they worked on prior to lockdown was a national Harley Davidson rally called ‘Thunder Mountain’, proving the pair’s expertise and offering go much wider than the gin festival and Night Owl Cinema.
“We are really fortunate to be surrounded by a very close-knit group of amazing people that help us deliver our events. We partner with some amazing people and local businesses and everything we do is in partnership and in support of local. We want to work with others that share our ethos and morals around the people first mentality through building long-term partnerships.”
Thankfully, The Makers’ flexibility and can-do attitude means we can all look forward to large events, mass gatherings and plenty of fun ahead in the years to come.