Stilnest has announced that it has just secured investments in the “high six figure” range to expand its operation and increase its online advertising. Currently the company offers more than 100 unique jewellery designs from 37 designers located all over the world.
The injection of capital from several technology companies will allow Stilnest to focus its advertising dollars in areas that Shapeways – who Stilnest feels is their main competition – simply cannot compete. By having small, easy to navigate collections that routinely change to make way for new pieces, Stilnest doesn’t overwhelm you with products of differing quality, materials and style. Their collections look organic, and yet still offer a variety of products that can appeal to a wide range of consumers. Stilnest is essentially angling to make itself a small and stylish boutique in contrast to Shapeways Wal-Mart business model.
However customers are not the only area where Stilnest is competing with Shapeways, as the company is also competing for talented designers. Aside from the royalties paid for each piece – 10% on each piece sold – designers are granted a larger platform for their products to shine and less competition from other designers. For many designers, being granted access to a smaller stage with less performers to drown them out is preferable to trying to sing in the middle of a crowded room.
The jewelry is pretty reasonably priced, ranging between $70 to $500, however most items are closer to $150. As they improve their infrastructure and workflow those prices are continuing to drop. Most designs can be 3D printed to order in either Sterling Silver or Polyamide, and Stilnest will soon be adding gold to its material options.
Aside from jewellery, Stilnest also explores art and design, as with their Cuckoo Project. Six designers who have never met were tasked to redesign the traditional cuckoo clock in only five weeks. The results are pretty stunning, and the designers did complete the clock in time for Stilnest to show it off at last years London 3D Printshow.
Here is a brief video about the design of the clock:
Stilnest was founded last year at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany by Julian Leitloff, Raoul Schakermann, Michael Aigner, Tim Bibow, Florian Krebs and Mike Schakermann using a $30,000 investment from the university. The founders are more than just college mates however, many of them have known each other since elementary school, and once the business started to take off they all moved themselves and the company to their current location in Berlin.
With no inventory or stock required, Stilnest doesn’t have to worry about selecting unpopular products, but quality is still a concern for any business. Bad designs may be able to be scrubbed from a website quickly, but they can’t as easily be scrubbed from the minds of potential customers. So product selection is an important aspect of any sort of boutique 3D printing business. Jewellery marketplaces like this are not uncommon, although they typically feature an individual artist’s work, and Stilnest is not reinventing the wheel here. But they are making their wheel extremely stylish and worth taking a look at.
You can browse their online jewellery store here.