How is that though many of us often complain about the how cost of living keeps rising and things are getting more expensive, platforms like Etsy selling all kinds of hand-crafted products at premium prices keep growing rapidly?
Sydney startup Handkrafted is the latest startup to join the crop of craft platforms. The platform works by crowdsourcing makers who create a variety of bespoke products and then matching them with customers. Makers send tailored proposals in response to briefs posted by customers, who can then choose which maker they would like to commission.
Having already seen $100 000 worth of projects created through the platform since its launch in February last year, HandKrafted recently secured $100 000 in funding from Sydney Seed Fund, which it will use to fund platform development and market expansion into new craft verticals and geographies.
The funding was led by Garry Visontay, Benjamin Chong, and Ari Klinger, with Sydney Seed Fund looking to capitalise on interest already shown in the marketplace.
Fred Kimel, founder of Handkrafted, believes the momentum behind the ‘maker movement’ highlights the increasing demand for high quality, sustainably made products – if consumers are going to spend money, they want to spend it well. They want to know how things are made, who they’re made by, and where the materials were sourced.
“In connecting directly with a maker and taking part in the design and production process, we’re able to develop more of an emotional connection and associate a story with those items, something I feel is important if we’re going to consume more consciously and sustainably,” Kimel explained.
It’s here that Kimel believes his company is addressing a gap in the market. “Despite the large number of talented makers in our community, most people just don’t know how to find and engage them.”
Kimel felt so strongly about the maker movement and his idea that he left a steady corporate salary to start Handkrafted when his wife was expecting their second child. In a blog post, Kimel wrote that he felt the time was finally right and taking the plunge “was certainly not going to get easier as time passed. I needed to be challenged; to push myself out of my comfort zone; to learn through experience; to take a chance on something I believed in; to live the life I wanted to be living.”
“I tend to think that many people mistakenly over-emphasise the risk of starting a business, but the worst-case outcome is rarely that terrible. Surely the personal risk of not progressing something you believe in is much higher,” Kimel added.
Handkrafted is certainly progressing. In addition to investment from Sydney Seed Fund, Kimel said the platform is also seeing growth in the commercial sphere. It has been facilitating more and more connections between craftspeople and interior designers and architects for bespoke restaurant and café fit-outs, showing potential for significant opportunities in the area.