Make Meaning in Dedham Legacy Place

A new business has come to town. It is called Make Meaning.

Make Meaning began in Manhattan and has expanded to Massachusetts with its first store at Legacy Place in Dedham. On a daily basis, you can see a birthday party in the back, pottery in the kiln, candles being cured, a Moms get together, and more.

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It is a membership only craft and activity store. You buy a day pass ($12) or an annual pass for yourself ($36) or a family (the family pass does not have to all be family, but it must be the same people.) Then you have access to several creation stations like candle making, cake decorating, soap creations, paper, glass jewelry, beading, pottery and more. (Note: some glass and ceramics need to be cured requiring pickup a few days later). Each of these activities has an additional cost that can vary depending on size or extras. There is also a small retail section with the latest craft and activity kids from makers like Alex Toys or Melissa and Doug. An additional space is filled with sweet treats like lollipops and candy.

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Birthday parties are popular here. Make Meaning provides a custom birthday cake, food like pizza, juice and water, staff to cover it all. Guests get a future free day pass as a party favor. You can have add-ons like glitter tattoos, goody bags, additional food, and additional activities.

The place is colorful yet sleek, and it was fun spending time there at a recent press event and a personal return visit. However, there are some things to consider.

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Gift cards are available in any denomination, but staff requires you to walk to the back of the store to purchase. On my trip there with two young children, it was an inconvenience that also brought us by the candy and toy display (and thus a temper tantrum) while bumping into tables and chairs with a stroller. I had to ask for a gift receipt for the gift card and there was no gift card holder at the register. So I had to walk back up front to get it. I am hoping it is just the newness of the store that resulted in this gift card chaos and won’t be something that everyone has to endure. It would be easy to have a portable credit card device (similar to those found at the Apple Store) at the front registration desk for those looking to pick up a quick gift certificate.

The nature of the store leads itself to older children. Breakable items are easily within reach of little hands, and the aforementioned candy and toy section can give rise to a battle of wills. In addition, just to walk into the space will set a Mom and one child back about $24 without even the cost of the item that one would make. Since attention span is limited with younger children, you may be walking out of the store sooner than you think, with a big hole in your wallet.

Generally, expect to pay at least $25-$50 per person at an outing here. You can reduce the costs by paying an annual fee if you feel like you would go frequently. It is not something that everyone can swing financially, but it is a nice treat for most.

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While I was there, I made a candle which I really enjoyed. You spend the time arranging it and then selecting a fragrance. It takes about 20 minutes to cure but the result is something you can enjoy for awhile at home. I also decorated a cake, but I wasn’t a big fan. While I enjoyed the creativity aspect, the cake was not tasty and I have never enjoyed the flavor of fondant. I would probably pass on this unless you really like fondant or cake decorating.

Despite the price point, I would consider the glass, soap, candle, and jewelry sections as there aren’t many places that offer those creative options. Creating a unique glass ring or a bar of soap, for example, may be worth the cost for this unique creative experience.

All in all, it is a great location, fabulous space, with lots to explore and create. Just make sure you load up the wallet. 
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