Designing & Producing Giftware for Global Distribution
Concept | Prototype | IP | Production | Wholesale | Retail | Brand | Full Marketing Collateral
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"The Photocurator was designed as a solution to the lifeless empty walls in my rental apartment.
I wanted to be able to put pictures up and take them down without damaging the paint or leaving marks behind."
What started as a small side project while working as an interface designer in Sydney, the Photocurator took on a life of it’s own, taking Huw Jones and The Curator Company on an unexpected rapidly growing journey.
Unsure whether there was any market for his side project, Huw launched the Photocurator at the Young Blood Design Market as part of Sydney Design in 2008.
The Photocurator proceeded to sell out at every sales event that year, gaining international press and leading to the formation of The Curator Company and distribution agreements in 3 different regions – North America, Asia & Europe.
Unable to manufacture quickly enough Huw contacted a local manufacturer called SL Plastics in Marrickville who were able to produce a tool and begin manufacturing at larger quantities within 30 days.
As wholesale orders came in from local giftware outlets and Huw met his customers at markets and trade shows around Australia.
Surprisingly rather than photo labs & frame shops being the receptive market it became clear the Photocurator customer was a design literate giftware consumer.
New parents who love taking photos of their children, travellers with a camera full of photographs and young couples moving in together and wanting to decorate were the people who loved the Photocurator.
The Photocurator continued to gain market traction by being mentioned in blogs & design sites like designboom & Apartment Therapy. As well as being picked up by design sites & blogs, Huw also contacted a number of writers and editors within the area of parenting & baby sites such as babyology and Ali Edwards leading to a large increase in product awareness and online sales.
"I love that they are easily inter-changeable – it’s a super simple and easy way to live with your photos. Great, innovative product."
Memory Keeping For The Modern
Overcoming the challenges
As more people became aware of the Photocurator, The Curator Company began getting approached by a number of distributors from different regions (Mexico, Germany, France, UK, US, Philippines, Colombia, NZ) wanting to sell the Photocurator.
At present the Photocurator was still being manufactured in Australia. Being geographically isolated and with the boom in Chinese manufacturing driving giftware prices down, The Curator Company had to look at moving production to China.
A friend of Huw’s in Hong Kong introduced him to a factory owner who designed and built architectural models in China & Malaysia.
By producing and shipping from China there was enough margin available for international distribution.