One year ago when MakieLab was founded, its first product was kept secret. Until June 2011 we could start getting more pictures of this start-up from UK. Founded by Alice Taylor and 3 partners, MakieLab is a toy company that will produce customized 3D printed dolls and action figures.
The business model
The business model of MakieLab is similar to My Robot Nation, that instead of creating your own unique robot, customers of MakieLab will design their own unique 3D doll models on MakieLab website using the existing template.
Users can create their own 3D doll by changing features like eyes, ears, nose and mouth as well as doll's clothes. When the design is ready, simply just press the "print" button.
MakieLab will then have them printed, dressed and delivery to your door - hopefully it takes no longer from two weeks from from order to delivery, said Taylor.
How much will a doll cost?
"We'll be at the more expensive end of the market." according to Taylor, though no price tag is revealed. But the high-end doll phenomenon American Girl is an example, and $84 is the base price for any of American Girl dolls.
As a start, Taylor plans to manufacture and distribute the dolls in China where 95% of toys in the world are made. "I don't doubt that people will set up 3D printing in China, and we'll compete on price there too, but as oil runs out, shipping is only going to get more expensive," she explained.
Who are behind MakieLab?
The strong team behind MakieLab is formed by four partners. CEO Alice Tayor was previously commissioning editor at UK television company channel 4 and VP Digital for BBC Worldwide (LA). She is also a gamer and innovator.
Luke Petre is an award-winning virtual games creator, his recent work included the backend tools for LittleBigPlanet games and MonstrosCity for Facebook.
Jo Roach had her own UK production company and had produced cross-platform education projects for Channel 4.
Sulka Haro was the lead designer on popular virtual world Habbo Hotel, the world's largest teenage virtual world with over 200 million registered users. After 10 years working for developer Sulake he left the company and join this new startup studio MakieLab.
MakieLab is funded last summer by the founders, £100,000 from friends and family and and £100,000 from the government's Tech City Launch Pad fund. At the moment some VCs and Angel investors have showed their interests. "We're looking for a sensible seed round to tackle what we're doing, it's not in the multi millions, but it's a healthy number. We've already got the investors ready and waiting, but trying to get them all to agree to the same terms is like herding cats!"
What inspired Taylor to start her business?
"LEGO!" - "Our long term ambition, and hopefully it won't take 50 years, is to be like Lego. They've got the same set up, one core idea – with them it's the brick, the buildable brick. For us it's the digital object that produces the same physical object.
"From there we can make products that are tailored to different customers, build and customise your own car, dinosaur, robot. Like Lego, they have their corporate identity and corporate brand, and then they do other stuff, like Lego Friends. I love that flexibility."
Plan for the future
MakieLab is aiming to bring the game world to the closed toy industry and and eventually, the company wants the buyers to use their own designed avatar in the virtual games and communities that MakieLab plans to establish. The company will develop video games that interact with customized 3D printed products, allowing players to buy physical items based on the game that then influence the virtual world. So in the future there will be a Makie world forum and games, as well as all Makie dolls. "We'll scale it to smartphones too," says Taylor. "The 3D model will be used in anything that can render a 3D model. The possibilities are awesome."
(This is prototype v5 is a work in progress. in the photo it shows a lilypad arduino board installed her skull, this prototype can now stand, pose, and look all about. )
Watch the videos Alice Taylor, Luke Petre and Jo Roach talked about their Makies.
Photos credit: MakieLab
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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Ron Lush wrote at 2/16/2013 3:11:38 PM:
I awoke one morning recently with the same concept and was surprised to find someone working on the idea . I have been on the 3d world of second life for the past 6yrs and was wondering how avatars from this platform could be made into character dolls . I wish you good luck with this venture and if in second life I could represent a selling platform I might be interested . I would love to be able to see my avatar in my cabinet along with those of my dear friends that I have made in second life over the past few years . Ron Lush firstname.lastname@example.org alias Mathoni Zuhrah
John YAtes email@example.com wrote at 4/14/2012 9:38:42 PM:
Fantastic project. I would like to stay close to your progress if I may. How best can I achieve this?