Seeing as we could respond fast, we did: we put a bunch of things on hold and jumped into designing toy hearing aids, toy walking aids, working out how to do facial birthmarks… plus Anthony and Zoe are working on a new 3D printed toy wheelchair, too!
Let us know what you think using #makies or on Facebook; hopefully this will answer some needs out there. The items will be going into the Store as soon as all the photography’s done.
Here’s the press release that’s going out, below.
From idea to shelf in less than a week: MakieLab 3D printed manufacturing answers “Toy Like Me” campaign with new inclusive Makies doll accessories
Notable as the world’s first 3D printed toy at retail, create-your-own Makies are expanding their accessory range to include hearing aids, walking aids and bespoke facial characteristics.
13 May 2015
British-based toy developer MakieLab has responded to the call by creating a selection of Makie doll-sized impairment aids and accessories, using 3D printing to deliver them within days of demand.
MakieLab is also trialling bespoke facial characteristics on demand, with plans to expand the new range into the Makies Store over the coming weeks.
MakieLab CTO Matthew Wiggins said, "It’s fantastic that our supercharged design and manufacturing process means we can respond to a need that’s not met by traditional toy companies. We’re hoping to make some kids - and their parents! - really happy with these inclusive accessories."
Inspired by pictures shared in the Toy Like Me campaign, and after rapid, intense design work, some new accessories for Makie dolls began to take shape last week:
JanuaryTwo characterful Makies - one wearing her "Elfridges" Xmas jacket - went off to Selfridges to help in the January sales...
The team at the time were shipping fukubukuro (don't giggle :-)), which is Japanese for Lucky Bags, filled with goodies for a big discount. This year we're doing a more traditional January Sale of all the year's best Makies fashion and bargain hand-made doll clothing!
Some of the team (Alice - the CEO and Jen - our amazing Customer Service and Community Director) were at CES, too, and they got to meet will.i.am who was there to talk about 3D printing. We also made a will.i.am Makie in specific will.i.am catwalk clothing. Ta-da!
FebruaryFebruary we went to Toy Fair USA, but we didn't show. Just had a poke about :-)
Meanwhile, the team back home let the office Makies put on their own Fashion Week show...
MarchMarch is always a crazy month, especially for game development, because it's the annual pilgrimage to GDC, and SXSW too.
Plus we made bunnies. Those were quite popular. Keep your eyes peeled for more pets in the future...
AprilApril was heads-down on game development. The team were busting their various guts to get Makies FabLab ready for launch.
In the workshop, the Makies were wearing fresh couture designs from Tolly Dolly Posh, Teenage Beauty Blogger and Lexi Likes:
We were going for young talent, and characterful expression. Makies are for making, and self expression, and isn't that what fashion's really about?
MayThe game was nearly ready...
This particularly cute Makie caught our eye. We still wonder who she belongs to, we might have to do some sleuthing.
Remember - we LOVE seeing YOUR pictures of your Makies. Send them in - via Facebook, or tagging on Instagram, or on the forums, you name it. We love to shout out!
June... aaaaand we (quietly) LAUNCHED Makies FabLab on iPad! Whewwweeeee!
... and one Makie snagged herself a Sailor Moon outfit. Looks brilliant!
JulyMade for You Makies begin to turn up in Selfridges:
... and Makies begin their journey to Hamleys, too!
And the star highlight of the month was another YouTube review, this time by MyFroggyStuff. Brilliantly detailed... and check out the stop motion animation at the end!
AugustEVERYONE loves the dark skin and blonde hair combo...
And the team start work on the new app, Makies Fashion...
SeptemberSome lucky Makies got some super summer holidays and custom outfits: sadly we don't sell the crochet bikini, but it'd be a fun thing to make, no?
... and Makies Fashion goes live, on all platforms (yep, including phones).
The faces you guys create... we love 'em!
And lastly, we were featured by the incredible Mommy and Gracie, over on the superstar MommyAndGracieShow. Wonderful stuff.
OctoberWe collected an armload of awards this season. Thanks to everyone out there who voted, or judged, or bought, or in any other way supported us. We're so grateful: getting a new toy made, manufactured, launched and heard-of is not an easy job, and it's down to you all that we're even on anyone's radar at all. So thank you.
That said, it's not like you can't have pink in a Makie. Or purple, or lilac, or yellow, or... CHEMISTRY Makies :D
Poor old Barbie. The team had a bit of fun with her in our Hallowe'en video, too, but it's all in the spirit of friendly competition ;-)
NovemberMakies got nommed for a BAFTA. w00p! We didn't win (wah) but we got a lovely poster certificate.
We got to know and adore the unstoppable Miki Mortel, on Instagram. His Makie has better clothes and furniture than... well, many humans, at this rate!
December!Santa Makies begin to show up on Facebook :)
Some adorable Makies are heading off to (presumably) sit under some christmas trees or near hannukah candles (not too near!)...
... and finally, because each Makie is individually manufactured on-demand (which takes about 2 weeks), the final 2 week runup to Xmas is all about beautifully-presented Makies Gift Cards.
Here's to 2015, everyone.
Thanks again - so much! - for your support, and for being with us on this journey. What will happen next year?
Let's find out...
Here are a few of the things we get asked or that are said about Makies…
What do Makies feel like?
A little like wood. The layering process of the manufacturing means that they have a soft "grain", currently most visible on the arms or hand, and slightly more visible on the deeper shaded Makies.
But our customers seem to love this: certainly, while it might be surprising, it seems to be surprising in a good way!
The nylon plastic is hard like wood too - not a soft (bad for the environment) vinyl, but a solid bio nylon - completely non toxic, and recyclable, too.
Makies are so light! They feel almost delicate…
Makies are very durable and tough. But they’re also mostly hollow, so they are quite light. Makies have been through the full gamut of toy safety testing, including being thrown from a great height, being set on fire, and being smashed with blunt instruments. Poor Makies!
They survived, of course, and proudly carry the full safety certification, the CE mark and Lion mark of quality.
Makies are amazing and look even better in real life!
Software can’t really fully render a Makie so it looks exactly like the end result (not over the internet, anyway!), even though the same shape used in the digital side of things is what we 3D print.
Sometimes our customers will post a side-by-side comparison, which is great, we love those! Here’s an example, from the amazing blog at makiemegirl.
Have you got more side-by-sides that we could feature?
FAQ: What can we have next? How about kilts / pets / beards / pianos / ballet outfits / …
One of the things we love to do is to put our accessories online for you guys to download for free, so for instance you can find a selection of accessories on Cubify.com for home printing. This Hallowe’en, we saw our Jack o’ Lantern pretty much everywhere there was a 3D printer, which was … spooky! We’ll even take requests...
Right, back to packing Gift Cards. Don’t forget, TOMORROW (10th December) is the last day for ordering your Makie directly for international delivery…. after that date, international folk will be able to gift the Makie experience using the sweetly boxed-up Gift Cards. Yay!
Here’s a pic of me picking up the award on behalf of the MakieLab elves, and making a very impromptu speech...
Thanks so much to everyone who voted for us, we’re absolutely chuffed to bits.
And so also to celebrate, here’s the second thing to tell you: we’re doing a massive, pre-Holidays, Thanksgiving & Black Friday / Cyber Monday SALE! Mega deals all round: 25% off absolutely everything we make, and even free shipping worldwide for orders over $115 / £70!
The sale runs until Monday Dec 1st, so do get your (doll sized) skates on… a Makie makes a unique and especially creative gift, a one-off heirloom doll that will delight for a long, long time to come.
Well folks, this week has been all about gifting.
Did you know that up to 80% of toys (in the West) are sold in the handful of weeks at the end of the year? The toy industry standard is about 70% on average, and it really does happen pretty much all in that period between Thanksgiving (end of November) across Hannukah and into Christmas.
The olde traditional toy industry works like this: the big companies like Mattel or Spinmaster have their 2014 products on shelves, know what their 2015 season lineup looks like already (and are manufacturing it in the Far East), and are into planning for 2016. They work way, way ahead and manufacture all of their products in huge quantities.
But for us, it’s very different. Makies are made individually, for each and every customer. This means that your Makie doll doesn’t exist until you order it (isn’t that cool?). We produce Makies ourselves, in London. How do you scale on-demand toys? What does that look like? What’s the best way to offer a custom Makie as a gift?
For Makies, it works like this…
Around this time of year, Seb, Jenny, Luke and Tia rebuild the website to focus on Gifting, because - those lucky kids! - it’s around now that parents and grandparents, and family friends, start to nose around looking for the most interesting, most exciting gifts that they can find. They’ll ask friends, read retailer websites, and look to awards and manufacturer’s websites for information - and of course, they refer to those little notes to Father Christmas that we parents tend to find lying around the house at about this time of the year.
This means that anything not immediately to do with gifting, or that takes a long time to do on the website (like crafting a face) is temporarily moved just a little “out of the way”. Don’t worry: nothing’s gone or been removed. We’ve just streamlined the site to make buying a Makie as easy and as newcomer-friendly as possible. We’re hoping for a lot of new customers over the next several weeks.
Lastly, my thanks to all of you for your reviews on our products so far. The across-the-board 4.5 star and 5 star reviews are gold dust to us: we don’t have deep pockets for marketing, and word-of-mouth makes all the difference. So thank you again: it’s so very appreciated here at MakieLab HQ.
And now I’m boarding for Chicago. ChiTAG, here I come!
This is a rather overdue update :-)
Our visitors and customer base has changed a lot in the past year. Many of you spotting this will have never been here before, and maybe you know a bit about us already - but maybe you don't yet, so I'd love to tell you a little bit here about how we got started and why we're doing what we do. We're a small and friendly indie startup making creative toys and games with a big difference.
What kind of difference? Our mission for MakieLab is to make groundbreaking things for kids, and the type of thing that you’d be really happy and pleased to see them playing with. And that’s because we’re parents too: nerd parents, modern parents, and people who care that kids get to play well.
Time for a new kind of doll, we thought, one that’s really special. A doll that encourages more than shoes and handbags: what about teleportation and storytelling? Rocket ships and DIY couture?
We hope that you love Makies as much as we delight in making them for you: seeing the creativity and personality emerge from each and every one is just brilliant and heartwarming. We love it! And to date, we’ve essentially had zero returns. Once you make the leap into owning a Makie - and we know that jump can mean holding your breath a bit - it’s a relationship that lasts a long, long time.
We love to listen, and collaborate, too. Please keep sending us your photos and creations. We like to highlight them on our Instagram (@officialmakies), and on the site too when we can.
So that's the Makies. And that's MakieLab, too.