London’s iMakr isn’t content with being the world’s largest 3D printing brick-n-mortar store. They want to take over the world and they’re starting with the islands of Great Britain (may change next year) and Ireland. In a move that may liken them to the McDonald’s of 3D printing, iMakr will be opening franchise locations in Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin.
I can’t say that the prospect of owning part of a 3D printing franchise doesn’t appeal to me. If they weren’t limiting their operations to England, Ireland and Scotland, I could see myself opening my own iMakr. Friends would stop in to look at the 3D printers I’d have on sale: Ultimakers, Replicators, Solidoodles, Cubes, Flash Forge and Felix machines. I’d yell at people for loitering around the Spot-A resins or FormFutura and Faberdashery filaments. And I could see myself trying to convince the shop’s visitors that they couldn’t live without a 3D scanner.
If I did open an iMakr franchise (and it fit with the iMakr franchise rulebook), I’d try to throw in some of our services when customers purchased a printer or scanner. Get an Up! and you’ll receive free training! Purchase a Digitizer and your first “on demand” print is free! Attend a workshop or event and you can obtain one free Mini-You, a full-colour 3D print of yourself to put on your nightstand. Then, I’d head up to my office, watching the patrons leave the store with hands full of 3D printed goodies, and I’d count the big bucks as they rolled in. I wrote to iMakr to see what sorts of requirements they had for their franchisees and got the following response:
We are looking for managers who are passionate about 3D printing and understand the challenges of commercialising new technology. Experience and an exceptional track record in customer relationship in the retail sector is also key.
iMakr franchisees need to be entrepreneurial and hands-on (“getting things done” attitude), but also share our long term vision and mission of distributing 3D printing as well as understand the value of building a community (i.e. being the face of the iMakr Store in the respective cities).
In exchange for their commitment and some investment, owners will be trained by our teams and will benefit from the unique integrated before (engineering, supply, branding & marketing, etc.) & after (support, workshops & training, etc.) sales services and experience that we have developed with the iMakr Store in London.
As they haven’t made it to the US, yet, I’ll have to wait for MakerBot to head out West or for HoneyBee 3D to head South. For those living in or around the UK, however, you can email [email protected]. If you are going to take part in the iMakr franchise, make sure you do a better job than the Golden Arches! The fries may be the best, but the wages aren’t.