9 March 2015 10:46

An innovative Lancashire start-up has drawn on the county’s textile heritage and modern high-tech engineering expertise to expand its product range.

Humble and Maker, which sells crafting kits that enable people to create their own items – such as bags, scarves and baby booties – have been able to take advantage of specialist equipment such as 3D printers and arbor presses after receiving support from Lancaster University’s Lancaster Product Development Unit.

The unit, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, was able to finance the purchase of a heated arbor press and other leather working tools for Humble and Maker, as well as provide expertise on how the business could benefit from additive manufacturing – more commonly known as 3D printing.

Gabbi Burley, owner of Lancaster-based Humble and Maker, which was established in August last year, said: “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 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.”

The Lancaster Product Development Unit also produced a silicon stamp to enable Humble and Maker to put branding onto material bags.

Chris Lambert, project manager for the Lancaster Product Development Unit, said: “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.”

To find out more about the Lancaster Product Development Unit visit http://www.lpdu.lancs.ac.uk/

More information and Humble and Maker is available by visiting http://www.humbleandmaker.com/