This week’s selection is the Wavy Lamp by Wooj Design.
Wooj Design is a Brooklyn, New York-based operation that has an interesting backstory.
Designer Sean Kim somehow damaged a lamp shade, and given his skills in 3D modeling, thought he could design a replacement shade. The result was a complex geometric form that seems to “wave”. It was such a compelling design that Kim took a risk and posted an image of it on Instagram, asking for buyers.
He quickly found several buyers, and spent the received cash on advertising, which swiftly brought in more orders for the oddly shaped Wavy Lamp.
Soon, Kim was 3D printing as many Wavy Lamps as possible, having six 3D printers in a closet working 24/7 printing lampshades in PLA. With the help of friends, he was able to outfit the shades with bases, lights and wiring, ready for sale.
When the smoke cleared, Kim’s Wooj Design sold an incredible 2000 3D printed lamps made in his closet. Since then he’s moved to a better manufacturing space, and to date has sold nearly 5000 of the Wavy lamps. To put this in perspective, the Wavy Lamp is sold for about US$100, meaning Wooj Design’s revenue on this one product is about US$500,000. That’s significant.
The company has now added several new products of a similar nature in their online web shop, including vases, clocks and distorted versions of the original Wavy Lamp.
Design is done with Rhino3D / Grasshopper, which allows Kim to generate highly complex designs through mathematics and generative workflow. However, the output is then optimized in Blender to ensure it’s simplified for 3D printing. All objects are printed in PLA material.
While you can find plenty of similar designs available for free download hidden in many online 3D model repositories, the story here is how Kim took that one idea and transformed it into a company. It took a good design and some courage to do so, but Kim has shown the way taken by some designers.
I believe there are many more situations very similar to this. I frequently see amazing designs posted, yet no activity to commercialize them. Designers should be made aware that it is entirely possible for them to become an entrepreneur and launch their own brands using 3D printing.
Are you one of those who have designed something amazing but not sold it?