Craig Melvin   |  October 12, 2013

'Stuff movement' catching on?

Craig Melvin talks with Sandra Goldmark and Michael Banta, creators of the Pop-up repair shop, on the “stuff movement” and how it’s really catching on.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and talk about something else. are we as a society consumed by consumption? you're about to meet two people who'd like to repair your rags instead of letting you buy new riches. it's today's " big idea ." sandra and michael started a pop-up repair shop and they started it here in manhattan as part of what they call the stuff movement, encouraging people to fix their household items instead of throwing them out and buying new ones. they're live here in the studio. good to see you. thanks for stopping by. in the simplest of terms, what is the stuff movement?

>> well, it seems that there is a growing awareness in the country and maybe beyond the country that our society is consuming maybe more than it needs. we're a little bit maybe behind in terms of things where we are now with food. the food movement has come a long way in the last 15 to 20 years. but we feel like the consumer good movement has not really reached the same point.

>> how did that become this?

>> well, that's the big picture . the little picture at home for us is we were constantly finding things in our home that had broken and spent our weekends fixing them. we started asking ourselves, why is it so hard to get anything fixed anymore? so we decided to try an experiment and see if other people felt the same way. we opened a one-month repair shop in our neighborhood in new york.

>> we have everything from a regular pair of scissors to an ipod . you guys can fix ipods now?

>> i've fixed that one three times.

>> how did you get the skill set needed to do -- it's one thing to fix a pair of scissors. it's another thing entirely to open up one of mr. jobs' creations and go to town there.

>> we work with a wide range of objects in theater and in design.

>> what exactly -- let's talk about this.

>> that is actually -- that's the one thing at the end of the month that hadn't been picked up. also possibly one of the most unusual things we saw during the month.

>> is that a big spoon?

>> it is a big spoon. i don't know what you would eat out of it. i think it's a decorative thing. it was brought in in two pieces and they asked us to make it back into one. and we did that.

>> one of the great things about the shop that we were most surprised by was the wide range of stuff people brought in, from a spoon to an ipod , that people loved to be able to have one place to bring it to.

>> you opened the pop-up for a month over the summer. i understand you want to do more of these?

>> we're planning our next one for this coming june. we're looking for individuals, businesses around the country who might be interested in bringing repair to their neighborhood.

>> expensive if someone brings something in -- my ipod 's not working -- cost from what to what?

>> one of the big challenges that we face is, of course, the low cost of new things. so our goal was always to hit a price point where people wouldn't say, for that, i can go get a new one. sometimes that can't be done. the parts are not there for that price. but generally we would make a very competitive price. sometimes maybe too low. but that was part of the project.

>> the whole thing is quite fascinating, really is. i imagine that the response that you got from folks who brought things in range sometimes from surprise to, oh, my god, this is fantastic and it would bring in like six or seven things.

>> that was one of the most exciting things for us. people would come in with something that you would ordinarily get repaired and they would look at the things around the store that we were fixing and they would say, hold on, they would go home, and get their stuff and bring it to us. it became a community event in our neighborhood. it was a great way to get people thinking and talking about repair.

>> in a perfect world , how does this play out? what's the end game ?

>> i don't know if it ends. but sandra's been working very hard on reaching new businesses, new communities, new individuals, spreading out into new markets. and trying to get everyone thinking about repair as an option.

>> don't throw it, fix it. it's today's " big idea ." thank you so much for stopping by to share it with us. do you have a big idea that's making a difference? sometimes the big idea is actually a small idea. but they could turn into big ideas . do you have one? there's the website. there's the e-mail address on your screen.