To some people, creativity is as natural as breathing or the love of freshly baked bread. Being a creative mind or a pathologically hands-on designer is one [wonderful] thing. However, creativity doesn’t always translate successfully to business savvy. Creativity often covets freedom and experimentation, but business demands discipline and focus. Fortunately, there are still plenty of creative entrepreneurs to inspire those with a design vision to start their own business.
In the New Year we are starting a new feature that will focus on all things small business. Don’t worry; there will be none of that tedious business school textbook material. As part of the small biz feature, we will bring you regular interviews with Ponoko Makers who rely on Personal Factory to create their line of products, be it household objects, jewelry, electronics enclosures or other made on demand goods.
As an extra dose of pre-holiday inspiration, we’re giving you a sneak peak at the interview series!
Meet Australian jewelry designer Melanie Gray Augustin. Her label Kimono Reincarnate perfectly expresses her design style: modern handmade jewelry that features upcycled materials – inspired by traditional Japanese textiles and design.Read the full interview after the jump:
7. DIY Ponocto Stool Kit (2) $180 by Made on Jupiter – This is not just a great product, but a great project for kids and parents to do together. You’ll receive 2 stool kits that require tab cutting, some sanding, assembly and finishing. Made from quality Baltic Birch plywood.
Recently, I had a stall at a local market, where I was selling my jewellery. The day was long, the crowds were small, and there was lots of time to kill. Of course, I got chatting to my stallholder neighbour Dael who makes carry bags and purses from used plastic bread bags. Appropriately, her stall is titled “breadbags”. The idea is amazing! She collects plastic bread bags from various brands of bread, cuts them into sheets and fuses them together in four layers to create a durable multi-coloured surface. These are then sewn to make practical and long-lasting carry bags of various sizes. I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of these.
Interestingly, Dael called her popular bags “recycled”, which I believe, completely undermines her design intent. Recycling is essentially downcycling, in most cases. It is taking something that had value and fabricating it into something of lesser value, using a lot of energy in the process. Recycling implies devaluing. “Breadbags” have more value than “bread bags”, so they are upcycled products.
The lifespan of a bread bag is negligible. It’s a short trip from the bakery to the landfill, via the supermarket and your pantry. I reuse bread bags for carrying lunches, etc, until they get grubby and find themselves in confines of a rubbish bin next to all the fragrant chicken skins, filthy clingwrap and all the other torn up, squashed packaging that cannot be recycled. Ok, so in my house the life of a bread bag is a few weeks instead of a few days. It hardly makes a difference.
Meet designer and stockist of jewelry – Corky Saint Clair
Most Ponoko makers we talk to found out about the service via some blog or an online article, or in a few instances, word of mouth from other makers. But not Chris Bril. The owner of Melbourne’s Corky Saint Clair subway shop spotted a wooden brooch on someone, was told that it was made with Ponoko, and decided to join. The timing was pretty fortunate, as Chris’ friendly local laser cutting business that he’d been using, no longer stocked the necessary range of materials.
In the three years of making with Ponoko, Corky Saint Clair have produced their own shop signage and released a variety of acrylic and wood brooches and necklaces. In addition (it’s a small world after all), Corky Saint Clair features works by other designers that make with Ponoko. Melanie Gray Augustin and Louis Italiano
Lab Craft is an exhibition featuring 26 makers who combine their artistic vision and manual skills “with cutting-edge digital technologies such as rapid prototyping, laser cutting, laser scanning and digital printing.”
My favorite piece in the show is Shine by Geoffrey Mann. This piece is the result of 3D scanning a Victorian candelabra and 3D printing the scanned information in silver plated bronze. The scanner being unable to distinguish the actual surface of the object from the reflections produces spikes which vary with the intensity of the reflection.
Small business is beautiful and booming at the Melbourne trade show.
I hadn’t heard of Life Instyle until I picked up on a tweet from Ponoko user Melanie Gray Augustin. She posted a couple of photos of her Life Instyle trade show booth which incorporated red, lasercut felt flowers she made with Ponoko. The result was a Japanese-chic space with her Kimono Reincarnate jewelry line displayed on graphic, cherry tree branches.
I was really impressed with Augustin’s booth and decided to check out more photos from Melbourne’s Life Instyle trade show that just wrapped up yesterday. What a gorgeous event! All of the booths are so creative and inviting!
Photographer Claudio Oyarce took lots of great photos that are up on the Life Instyle blog. Some shots of my favorite products after the jump.