Humble and Maker

The Organisation

Humble and Maker, based in Lancaster, design and manufacture products that aim to inspire creativity by using craft skills amongst customers. Their mission is to help others discover the joy of crafting and creating.

The Challenge

Humble and Maker generated a series of starter-kits, to be distributed to other businesses to sell, that enable people to create their own items. The kits include, for example, fabrics, fastenings and patterns; the customer then follows instructions to create the piece. These products include baby shoes, bags, cafetiere holders and other small decorative items. The company used to use off-the-shelf components for these kits and had a need to offer more bespoke products. That meant they needed desktop machinery hardware to help them to offer a more personalised range of goods.

Expertise Sought

  • 3D printing
  • Package suppliers
  • Advanced manufacturing

The Solution

Lancaster University helped Humble and Maker by identifying suitable suppliers for the packages, providing expertise in advanced manufacturing, and producing a silicon stamp to enable Humble and Maker to put branding on material bags. The company was able to take advantage of specialist equipment, such as 3D printers and arbour presses, after receiving support from Lancaster University’s Engineering Engagement Team, which was also able to finance the purchase of bespoke leather-working tools for the company.


The project was funded by the Lancaster Product Development Unit, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. As the business partnerships team for the Engineering Department at Lancaster University, the Lancaster Product Development Unit is constantly engaged with industry and facilitates the effective use of knowledge exchange, allowing expertise to flow between the university and industry, helping to inspire technological innovation and functional product development.


As well as being able to provide Humble and Maker with the tools to develop the products they had in mind, Lancaster engineers - who have expertise in areas such as 3D printing - were also able to pass on some additional advice and suggestions that are taking the business into completely new areas. It is anticipated that this will lead to an assessment of the application of 3D printing as a means to creating bespoke parts for Humble and Maker.

Benefits to the company

  • Identified suitable suppliers
  • Provided increased branding with silicon stamp
  • Saved management time
  • Access to Lancaster University’s expertise and resources

Benefits to the university

  • Applied advanced manufacturing to creative industry

Company Feedback

“The main focus of the business is developing craft kits that use contemporary fabrics, wool felts and leathers. I want to broaden the range so that some of the products will have a more masculine appeal. One of the things that the unit was able to help with was the sourcing of equipment for working leather effectively, to add visual interest and branding to the leather.

“In addition, the unit also gave me advice about 3D printing, such as the type of manufacturing options available and how to get ideas from concept to physical products, and as a result we have developed some 3D printed jewellery – such as earrings and cufflinks which are generating interest in the business with a new audience, and developing income.” Gabbi Burley, Owner, Humble and Maker.

Business Partnerships Feedback

“Gabbi approached us as she wanted some support to help develop her company’s product range. As well as being able to provide her with the tools to develop the products she had in mind, our engineers, who have expertise in areas such as additive manufacturing, were also able to pass on some additional advice and suggestions, that is taking her business into completely new areas.

“The Lancaster Product Development Unit was created to support businesses to help take ideas from concept to reality quickly and cost-effectively, and we are pleased to have been able to help a great start-up like Humble and Maker on their way to growth.” Chris Lambert, Project Manager, Lancaster Product Development Unit.

Future Plans

Humble and Maker will become part of a user network being maintained by LPDU to facilitate support and assistance through LPDU’s contacts and any contacts that may become beneficiaries of any Lancaster University business support projects from time-to-time.