NWA Entrepreneurial All-Stars: Patrick Kinnamon

Sep 8, 2021

After more than a year of being forced apart by the pandemic, we are celebrating what makes the Northwest Arkansas venture ecosystem great by highlighting the incredible founders and hardworking entrepreneurial support organization leader – all of whom drive our region forward and make it a better place to start a business!  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing profiles from some of the region’s entrepreneurial all-stars… Be on the look-out for more!   

Patrick Kinnamon – MakerMade, CEO & Co-Founder

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Who has had the most influence on you in your professional/entrepreneurial journey?

Almost certainly, it’s been my wife, Ellen.  The success we’ve achieved at MakerMade would have been impossible without her constant support and thoughtful input. 


What do you think has been your biggest achievement yet? 

Building a new, product-based business that has been able to withstand and often thrive in the COVID economy.


What about your biggest setback or challenge; and how did you overcome it? 

We have a very lengthy, international supply chain moving sizeable quantities of high-ticket items across the globe.  In the last 18 months, customer demand seasonality, shipping expenses, and component availability have all been almost entirely upended.  Remaining profitable through this time, while working almost 100% remote as a team, has been a real challenge. 


If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be? 

A penny saved is a penny earned.  Learn the value of finance now. 


What’s your favorite business tool?

The concept of deep work: setting aside extended, uninterrupted periods of time for creative, strategic thought


What makes a successful entrepreneur? 

Critical empathy: the ability to rapidly intuit shortcomings in yourself, your product, and your business – particularly through the customer lens – and then create a better path forward.


Someone wants to start their own business – what’s the first piece of advice or first step you recommend to them? 

Identify at least ten different ways that your business would most likely fail.  Then solve for them before embarking.  Your first job as an entrepreneur is to break your own terrible ideas before the customer or market does it for you. 


What’s a typical day of work look like for you? 

A mix of product development, strategic planning, fire suppression, and organizational housekeeping. 


What keeps you up at night? 

A rapidly growing company has more opportunity than funds.  Choosing the right investment mix of inventory, people, and product development – during a global pandemic – does create some challenging nights. 

How do you stay motivated? 

Continuing to develop the company’s strategic vision and engaging directly with thrilled customers.  These two-time investments create a sort of virtuous cycle of motivation; the enjoyment of forward thinking, and the proof from the customer that it’s working.