Comprised of Odin (head of design), Noah (head of sales) and Ben (head of marketing), Makers Cabinet are pioneering the future of great design and uncompromised quality in the stationary industry. Since graduating from the CRL Accelerator, the brand has raised over £500,000 from product launches and crowdfunding and has retained all shares of their business as they continue to grow.
We caught up with Noah on their experience on the accelerator and what they have achieved since…
What brought you to the CRL accelerator and what stage were you at when the programme began?
Brahman Design was started in our first year of university and we launched the Hovel on Kickstarter in mid-2017. We had produced our first batch of products and were starting to build a small customer base. We carried on running the company through our second year of university and found that there was a market opportunity, but we needed to:
+ Build a range of products
+ Find a consistent manufacturer
+ Rebrand and reorganise the business
+ Professionalise and get our finances in order
+ Base ourselves in a suitable workplace for office work and product development
We joined the Central Research Laboratory in order to achieve these goals. This happened over the six months at CRL and we really could not have got to where we are today without it.
How much did your products evolve on the programme? What did you start with and where did you get to?
The Hovel did not really evolve however we did meet Victor from Gadget Lab who is now our committed manufacturing partner. We experimented with high volume production but quickly realised that the quality and volumes were not quite where they needed to be to get this to work.
At CRL, we developed and designed the Iris which was the springboard to take our business to the next level.
Without CRL’s workshop and support from some of the design team, we would not have been able to create this amazing product.
How valuable was it to have access to a specialist prototyping workshop in house? What did you use it for? Which machines were most important for you?
The workshop was incredibly important to us and allowed us to quickly develop and iterate. This meant we did not have to wait on manufacturers in China to send back samples and allowed us to really define problems and solve them faster and more efficiently.
What was it like to be surrounded by other makers and creators to collaborate and bounce ideas off?
The environment was great because it allowed the team to get feedback and suggestions from experts. We built a great relationship with the other companies in our cohort and some other individuals renting desks. To this date we still have a close relationship with Satpaul Bhamra, Charles Duffy and his team and mentor Mark Elliot.
Beyond product development expertise, what did you get out of being surrounded by the CRL community?
Support from CRL was not just bound to manufacturing and product development, although his was definitely the biggest takeaway from the program. We also found that support on IP and finances was incredibly useful. A breakthrough also came in our meetings with Richard from Paved with Gold who worked with us to strategise and build our Iris campaign. These meetings were incredibly useful, and I can’t understate how beneficial these few meetings with Richard were.
What was the key takeaway for you when you graduated from the CRL programme?
We found a clear process and business strategy for our business to design, manufacture and retail. This strategy could be built out further and is being applied across future product launches.
How have your connections with the other alumni, mentors, CRL team, etc supported you to expand your network since graduating from the programme?
Since graduating we have continued to build relationships and communicate with other businesses in our cohort. We always turn to them for advice and vice versa.
You have released the incredibly successful Iris since, how did what you learned on the accelerator programme carry you forward with the development of your second product?
The program demonstrated to us that there was a possibility to be using digital marketing for our products. This has allowed us to correlate investment in advertising to direct sales. The Iris campaign showed us how this could work, and we now have a great relationship with an online marketing agency.
Innovation support and business development programmes at Plus X…
The Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange (BRITE) is a business innovation programme for ambitious and established businesses led by a highly experienced and dedicated team from Plus X Brighton, in partnership with the University of Brighton which is renowned for world-class research innovation expertise.
Hayes, West London
The internationally recognised CRL Accelerator at Central Research Laboratory is the UK’s leading programme for product makers and hardware pioneers. This programme offers unrivalled support for early-stage businesses developing hardware products.