Gold Nuggets From Make Works

Here’s another edition of Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and doers. Digging into their stories to reveal tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

We caught up with the inimitable Fi Duffy-Scott founder of Make Works, factory finders who support makers to make local. We recently worked with Make Works to launch their Patreon campaign.

Image Credit:  Peter McNally

Image Credit: Peter McNally

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year?
That it was OK to take a day off! Over the first two years of Make Works I only had a couple of days when I wasn't thinking about the project, and wound up totally exhausted. Now I'm pretty strict about taking myself home in the evening and actually having holidays.

What are your top 3 tips for experimenting with alternative models to support Make Works?
Make Works has always been looking for sustainable ways to make the work happen. Quite early on we realised that public funding wasn't going to be very sustainable in the long term; and equally the typical start-up trajectory of growth and investment didn't fit very well with being a non-profit. So, we needed to find alternative models to support the project.

From what we have learnt so far though here are 3 tips:

Tip 1. Seek out like-minded people. From reading work by Aaron Swartz to meeting people at the Small is Beautiful conference or reaching out to other Patreon creators - have all helped to reassure me that it is not completely crazy to be actively looking for alternative models.

Tip 2. Give yourself time to experiment. New ways of doing things won't always work first time, and can take a lot of chipping away at to make work. I think being comfortable with things not being a 'quick fix' is important if you want to make anything really worthwhile for the world.

Tip 3. Make things for your audience. Starting a Patreon has meant that we've really got a better understanding of what sort of people really find Make Works useful and want to see it continue - it's made me super appreciative of that support and helps keep perspective of who we are making the project for.

What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
"Find the right person" -  I remember I was speaking to Janine Matheson from Creative Edinburgh early on about the difficulty I was having getting funders to back the project. She told me that I just needed the right person to hear about it, and soon I had much better success - purely from making sure I was seeking out people who would 'get' it.

What’s your ambition for Make Works?
I'd love to see people setting up their own Make Works all over the world! The ambition at the moment is to work out how to make that work well for people who want to start those other regions, and finding a sustainable, open business model to make that possible in the long term.

What song motivates you in the studio and why?
Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina absolutely got me through 2016! It came out at a time when everything seemed really dark in the world, and still makes me feel super hopeful and energised.

Gold Nuggets from Desk Beers

We’re excited to share the first of a series of blogs called Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and do-ers. Digging into their stories to reveal top tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

Recently we caught up with Adam Rogers from DeskBeers, a handy service that delivers craft and small-batch drinks to offices all over the UK.  

Tell us about yourself and DeskBeers.
Hi! I’m Adam. As captain of the good ship DeskBeers, I predominantly make tea. Gallons of the stuff. We can't function without it. If we didn't have tea, we'd never manage to get the craft beers, fine wines, ciders and soft drinks from our suppliers to our customers across the country. The whole system runs on tea.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year
Apart from the volume of tea required to run a successful operation, it's silly stuff like not only talking to customers but understanding how to interpret what they say. Customer feedback is the best file for developing a product (after tea), but what customers say and what customers do can be quite different. "Talk to customers" is pretty common advice, but thinking about what to do with what you discover is a bit harder.

What are your top 3 tips for finding the best partners to work with?
Tip 1. Good suppliers are as passionate about customer service as we are. If you get palmed off on the phone or wait for ages to get a reply to your email. It's not a good sign!

Tip 2. Don't (always) believe the hype. It seems like these days all you need to start a craft brewery is a brewer and a designer. More than a few new breweries only have one of those things and it ain't the brewer.

Tip 3. Ask for what you want. Good suppliers are in business too. Ask for a discount, expedited delivery, marketing swag, or whatever else you need. It's OK to make them say "no". But always be polite and respectful.

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What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
My dad used to say "if you're trying too hard you're doing it wrong". He probably still does say that, I just haven't spoken to him in a while. It's very rare that we're actually doing anything truly groundbreaking, and often when we're stuck thinking about the problem a different way can lead to an elegant, simple solution.
 
What’s your ambition for DeskBeers?
To be the default choice for supplying drinks at the office, and in doing so support and promote independent producers of beers, wines, ciders and soft drinks.

What song motivates you in the office and why? 
Slipknot, Wait & Bleed. The warehouse can get pretty noisy and sometimes you need to whack on the headphones, get the double kick-drum going and crank out some code.

If you'd like to try out DeskBeers use the promo code PWG20 to get 20% off your first regular delivery order. Wahey to drinks with the team!

WE’RE KICKSTARTER EXPERTS!

Paved With Gold are excited and honoured to be founding members of Kickstarter Experts. We’re so proud that Kickstarter loves what we do and the projects we work with. To celebrate we wanted to share some of the Kickstarter projects our founders Richard and Kaye helped get funded, and the amazing things those projects went on to do.

Foldable.Me (Funded 2012)

Foldable.Me allowed you to design a personalised buddy online. Your Foldable would then arrive on your doorstep pre-cut and scored, ready for you to put together. They went on to take over the Kickstarter staff page for April Fools, and thousands were even sent to support Fair Trade in London’s Parliament Square!

Projecteo (Funded 2012)

Our favourite tiny little Instagram projector was a Kickstarter success being the first European company to reach its Kickstarter goal within 24 hours! It’s popularity led to collaborations with fashion brands like colette and Opening Ceremony, and because of its beautiful design was proudly put on shelves at the MoMA design store.

Hackaball (Funded in 2015)

The connected (IoT) ball raised over $240,000 which put it in the top 1% of most successful Kickstarters in terms of performance. Hackaball really resonated going on to be awarded ‘Best in Book‘ by Creative Review and becoming one of TIME’s best inventions in 2015. We’re delighted to see Hackaballs landing all over the world and inspiring a new generation of makers (and their parents!).

Technology Will Save Us - Mover Kit (Funded in 2016)

Mover Kit is the first wearable that kids make and code themselves. Unlocking the mysteries of new technologies. After reaching their goal in just 48 hours, and being featured in every possible publication we could find, Mover Kit, and the entire Tech Will Save Us range, has now taken over an entire section of the Design Museum in Kensington.

BLEEPBLEEPS - SAMMY SCREAMER & SUZY SNOOZE (FUNDED IN 2014 & 2016)

Sammy Screamers have already been sent all over the world, and joined collections at MoMA and the colette store in Paris. Their second product, Suzy Snooze was recently successfully funded and is going to ship very soon. We’re excited to be working with BleepBleeps again to help launch their third product early next year, adding to their collection of cute devices that make parenting easier.

Ding (Funded in 2016)

One to watch out for, the Ding Smart Doorbell which Fast Co simply said “gets the Internet of Things right”. Stuff magazine included Ding to make John’s eyebrows dance like never before.

We hope you enjoyed our little trip down memory lane. A huge thanks to Kickstarter and everyone we’ve worked with to help bring these amazing projects to life! We’re looking forward to launching and growing more ideas!

Maker Christmas Markets

It seems the season is truly upon us!  Shopping small, means you get unique gifts and support makers all at the same time. 

This weekend is jam-packed with fantastic maker markets and workshops. We’ll be running around trying to go to every damn one.

In Glasgow there are three amazing events opening this week, filled to the brim with our favourite makers. Kicking off tomorrow night at South Block with Unit 60, then over for some Friday fun at Grey Wolf Studios, then a two day extravaganza with Customs & Excise at SWG3. 

In London there's a veritable feast of ways for you to shop small this Christmas, from Urban Makers East this weekend, to Crafty Fox Market in Peckham and for something extra special check out the Wallpaper Snowflake Pavilion at Kings Cross from Monday. 

If you’re looking for some entertainment and a more personalised gift, why don’t you check out these workshops too! 

And if you just can’t be bothered to get out of your pyjamas, our lovely Carrie’s gift shop is always open.

When you’ve filled all the space under the tree pop down to The Alternative Christmas Carol Concert for a not-so-traditional carol service. Expect plenty of fun and singing along with the all-women Lips choir.

Better design for the smart home: No more routers please!

The Drum asked us to write about the growing desire for better design in the smart home. Read on to learn about some of the smart home projects we've worked on and love. 

Look at your router – it looks like a router, right? Now look at your doorbell – it probably looks like a router or, worse, an air freshener.

A lot of ‘smart’ products have focused first and foremost on cramming in all the latest technology, with design and how people interact with them an afterthought at best.

But some of the startups we’ve been working with at Paved With Gold are proving that there is demand out there for better design and are now making technology for the home that no longer needs to be hidden away.

Ding

Avril O'Neil and John Nussey of Onn Studio came up with the concept for the Ding Smart Doorbell after their own doorbell broke. Unable to find a suitable replacement they decided to make their own and their idea has resonated with the Design Council and John Lewis, who have supported the project, and also with Kickstarter backers who have helped them double their initial funding goals.

Ding works like any other doorbell by ringing a chime inside your home, but what makes it better is that it also allows you to talk to the the person at your door using your smartphone, so you’ll never miss important visitors or deliveries.

And whereas others have focused more on video surveillance and security, Ding keeps things simple being designed as a doorbell first. It feels closer to a traditional doorbell rather than a surveillance system with additional features that have been driven by the latest technology. Plus, with home styling in mind, Ding doesn’t look out of place inside or out, coming in various colours to suit colour schemes and tastes.

Suzy Snooze

The second launch from BleepBleeps is Suzy Snooze, part of a series of connected devices that aim to make parenting easier. Its primary objective is to get a good night’s sleep for all the family. A baby monitor, night light and sleep trainer all in one, it helps children sleep and know when to get up.

Founder of BleepBleeps Tom Evans found that a lot of connected devices aimed at parents either looked very medical and science-y, or a bit too toy-like. The family of devices from BleepBleeps have been made to be simple and fun while using a design language that is attractive to both children and parents. Children enjoy the playful nature of the devices, each of which has a character like the Tony Tempa thermometer, whereas parents like using the devices as they’re simple, while also appreciating the aesthetic which has been likened to collectible vinyl toys.

Joto

Joto is a smart display that connects a pen to the internet. In the home we display art or write messages and share lists. Joto brings these to life through drawing and writing in real-time. A simpler solution may well be to use a whiteboard, but sometimes you just want things to be more fun than that, don’t you? Imagine the kids getting excited over something as mundane as adding to the shopping list.

Recently nominated for Design of the Year by the Design Museum, Joto will be available for pre-order in the new year.

The smart home is certainly getting smarter, and hopefully we’ll be able to make more space for it on our shelves and walls rather than hiding it all under the sofa. You may now stop looking at your router.

DING DING DING! 222% FUNDED!

The Ding Smart Doorbell has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. We’re proud to be part of making the doorbell even better by helping Ding raise over $111,000. 

We had such great feedback from the press, bloggers and influencers we got in touch with. Here are some of our favourites!

“Ding gets the internet of things right“ Mark Wilson, Fast Co. Design

“Designers are putting the home back into home tech” Elly Parsons, Wallpaper

“The British designers have maintained a purity of purpose” Fraser Macdonald, Stuff

“I need this in my life with all the parcels that I have delivered!” Sophie Robinson, BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge

And here’s the amazing Avril and John talking about their story with Campaign!

You can see all the key press in our handy coverage book

Keeping it Weird: Lazy Oaf's 15th Anniversary Exhibition

For 15 colourful years, London-based fashion brand Lazy Oaf has been keeping it weird with their bold, distinctive designs. Smashing cartoon-style illustration against witty down-beat captions and weird, wonky youthful nostalgia they've been keeping smiles on our faces a long, long time.

What better way to mark such a momentous anniversary, than to bring iconic Lazy Oaf icons to life as giant sculptures in their very own art exhibition! We took a trip to Lazy Land. And we loved it.  

Housed in Protein Studios, Shoreditch, Lazy Land visitors entered the exhibition via the mouth of a giant, pink, inflatable head (of course!). A whole gang of super-sized, 3D Lazy Oaf characters delighted crowds of fans and curious passersby. From bonkers cats constructed from tiles and poodles with pink tennis ball hairdos, nude blockheads and 'floating' boggly eyes, these residents of Lazy Land, as imagined and designed by Lazy Oaf founder Gemma Sheil, gave such fun insights into the playful thinking behind the brand. And, as hoards of excitable camera phone wielding visitors will testify, Lazy Land was definitely up there with the most Instagrammable events of the year! 

And to think, Lazy Oaf was born out of a collection of fun, screenprinted t-shirt designs and a stall at Spitalfields Market. Gemma Shiel, you are an inspiration! Here's to plenty more years of Lazy Oaf. Keep it weird. 

 

 

Searching for an alternative funding model

Earlier this year, Make Works approached us to see how they can improve awareness of how people can support the Make Works platform. 

Make Works is a factory finding resource where you can discover incredible makers, manufacturers, material suppliers and workshops. They create beautiful videos and a platform for manufacturers to showcase their work. It opens up the often hidden ways to work these manufacturers, which is especially useful for small makers.

We went off to investigate a bunch of different options for Make Works, and discovered Patreon. A crowdfunding platform with a twist; the idea is that people who really care about your project being out there in the world become a Patron, and support it in small amounts each month. 

Fi at Make Works loved Patreon's open approach so we reached out to them to start building their campaign. We worked with Patreon and Make Works to create a campaign page that would ignite their community's passion and make it as easy as possible to support Make Works. 

Make Works have written a great article about why they are looking at these alternative funding models, and how this applies to other not for profit organisations who don't quite fit that traditional VC funding model.

Meet Ding, the beautifully simple smart Doorbell!

We're very excited to introduce Ding - a smart doorbell that has been designed to fit into your home. No more dumb, overly techy doorbells for us. 

They've just launched on Kickstarter and have raised nearly $40,000 so far. 

We've been supporting Ding by giving them end-to-end Kickstarter support - helping them manage their Kickstarter project, managing their PR campaign, online content and social media campaign. 

You can support them by checking out their Kickstarter page. 

Featured in;

Fast Co. Design
Fast Co. Exist
Dezeen
Stuff
CNET
Wired Design
Core 77

 

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dingp...

Map Project Office x Kickstarter at London Design Week

We've had a great week running around London Design Festival. Our friends Map were celebrated by Kickstarter and had a wonderful talk and little shop in their office for people to pop along and see the projects they've been working on over the past year. 

There's been lots of great coverage of it, including Core 77 (who we've pinched these photos from) and you'll also spot a couple of our lovely clients in there too!

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Our co-founder has been selected to join Special Edition

Six top professionals drawn from Scotland’s thriving digital/creative sector secured a place on the 2016 Special Edition programme, and our Kaye was one of them!

The initiative includes formal workshops led by top trainers culminating in an international field trip to digital centres of excellence where they will get to meet some of the most exciting and influential business leaders in the industry.

Well done Kaye! 

Apps for Good - Welcome Pack

Aware that teachers were sometimes overwhelmed by the quantity of information on their website, Apps for Good wanted to find an alternative way to present key content in an easy to navigate, visually appealing way.

We immersed ourselves in the world of Apps for Good! We restructured course information, redesigned brand assets and created a comprehensive yet digestible Welcome Pack. Our go-to designer, Kim Walker, did a marvellous job.

The new printable Welcome Pack is now emailed to teachers as an ‘Educators Guide to Apps for Good’. The team love their new brand assets so much they use them in all their presentations!

We've just launched Suzy Snooze on Kickstarter

Suzy is an innovative sleep companion for the whole family. Helping babies, children and adults get a good night's rest.

16.05.24 Suzy S Lifestyle-0440.jpg

We are managing their social media and community strategy. We have also commissioned fun, downloadable Kickstarter rewards from Anorak Studios - a snazzy Parenting Hacks PDF and a set of cute, BleepBleeps colouring-in posters!

With super chilled out sounds from Erol Alkan, seal of approval from Mumsnet and expert advice from Sleepio, we thoroughly recommend Suzy for a good night's sleep for all the family.

She has already been highlighted as a Kickstarter ‘Project We Love’. Well, she IS adorable...

Mover Kit Campaign Completed - Successfully raised $129,311 with 1,822 backers

Woohoo! After an incredible month the Tech Will Save Us Mover Kit Campaign is complete! 

We raised $129,311 with 1,822 backers, and were fully funded in Day 2 with incredible support from Kickstarter who made Mover Kit project of the day and a project we love. We also had support from incredible backers and an excited community of parents, makers, hackers and Kickstarter super backers. 

We can't wait to see the Mover Kit reach thousands of people this Autumn.

Smoovie Campaign Complete - 1403% funded and now on Indiegogo

Woohoo! The Smoovie campaign is complete, and what a ride it was. 

Smoovie wanted to create and launch a Kickstarter campaign from scratch in 10 weeks. They needed us to help them do that! We accepted the challenge.

First we developed an end-to-end Kickstarter strategy. Then we created all their Kickstarter page content and produced the all-important Smoovie video. With those elements nailed, we planned and managed press outreach for the campaign.

With inclusions secured in Petapixel, Gizmag, Mentalfloss and 4k Shooter, we whipped photography fans into a frenzy and the funding target was smashed within 48 hours.

Smoovie went on to raise 1403% of the original Kickstarter funding goal and now onto the Indiegogo InDemand Campaign.

Technology Will Save Us Mover Kit - Now on Kickstarter

We've been working with Technology Will Save Us since April 2015. Helping them grow their online audience and increase social activity across their profiles. Today we're delighted to announce the launch of their latest project on Kickstarter.

The Mover Kit is an intuitive way for kids ages 8 and over to learn the fundamentals of electronics, programming and solve problems creatively. It encourages kids to learn by doing what they do best - being active and playing! 

We've launched with awesome features in Forbes, Wired Design and BoingBoing and Kickstarter Project We Love. It's only just beginning.

 

 

Smoovie - Super steady video for your smartphone and GoPro.

Is now live! AND fully funded on Kickstarter - we didn't even get a chance to put our blog up. 

Everyone can now record smooth and shake free video. Never watch jittery video again! Pocket-sized, most affordable and easy to use!

We can't thank everyone enough for all their support. We are so so so grateful for the press coverage, Kickstarter love and of course the amazing backers!

What a super first day! PetaPixel and gizmag shared some great words about Smoovie. Then Kickstarter awarded us with a "Project We Love" a badge we are super honoured to wear. Over 600+ backers from all over have supported Smoovie, and giving us such wonderful feedback. 

"Smoovie is awesome! I cant wait to start making shake free movies on my smartphone." -Imran J, Super Backer, Canada

"Now this is super useful!" Micaela Hoo, Blogger & Creative Director, USA

"It's really great to see an affordable stabilizer. Shooting video with my phone is a daily habit. Using a much bulkier stabilizer right now. So it's hard to wait to get hands on with Smoovie!"Chan Kwon, Motion Graphic Designer,  South Korea

PWG RETREAT 2016

The Paved With Gold team headed to Bath for planning, wine and games. Having been in business for just over a year, we decided to take some time out to look back on our achievements, plan for the year ahead and thank everyone for all their hard work.

It wasn't all work, we spent a lot of our time hanging out and having fun. We stayed at a uniquely renovated edwardian house. It became host to many a gin fuelled game of Anomia and some very addictive Set finding. Our trip into Bath led us to the Pig and Fiddle which had a very diverse range of burgers (nobody was daring enough to take on the camel burger). The cold walk home was soon counteracted with a few cozy Irish cream hot chocolates, and more games, this time it was Professor Plum with the lead pipe in the lounge!

We’re all back in action and very much looking forward to the year ahead! Here’s to 2016 and another great year for Team PWG!