Our first post, and after 14 months of interviewing/prototyping/testing it’s a strange feeling to speak about our plans so publicly for the first time. We’re soon launching Nicety, on online library for physical materials. What I want to do is briefly outline what we’re doing, why it should matter to you, and what’s ahead. Oh — and when I say “we”, that’s Sthuthi our second co-founder and I.
What is Nicety?
Nicety is an online library for physical materials, helping designers and craft makers anywhere discover the right physical materials for their projects quicker and simpler than ever before. Designed from scratch, it brings material discovery into the digital age: materials, manufacturers, processors (printers, foilers, etc.) and consultants, all on one platform.
Why the world needs Nicety
The project started somewhere else — with a piece of jewellery I was tinkering with outside work. I made quick progress using 3D Printing initially, however when it came to finding the final material and a local partner who could process it, things went from light-speed to snail-speed:
- Googling was extremely time-consuming and didn’t produce useful results
- Material consultants wanted to be paid, which I couldn’t satisfy
- Material libraries were either impossibly hard to get into, chargeable, chaotic, or sponsored and thus heavily subjective
- There were very few up-to-date books covering this area
- Websites of distributors and manufacturers were universally poor
My former university finally came to my rescue by allowing me access to their materials library, however as an alumni I wouldn’t receive specific advice. This meant navigating a library without directory or librarian — it was as fruitful as it sounds. After hours of sifting through countless folders and samples (mostly barely labeled) without result, I gave up.
It was now clear that something was very broken: why was easy and quick access to information on materials so hard to obtain? Why were there no clear vantage points offering a wider view of what’s out there? We decided to take what we learned on the road and see if other creatives across various disciplines had made similar experiences: first we spoke to those we knew, then we spoke to those we didn’t from around the world (thanks, internet!). We asked three simple questions: what’s your creative process like, and how and at what stage do physical materials come into play?
Here is what we learned:
- The materials market is all pockets of knowledge, and you are limited by the one you fall into. There is no central directory that’s easy to reach.
- Designers often end up using the same stuff out of convenience and time pressures, yet knowing only too well that there’s better choices out there but without a clear route to get there. Most felt very frustrated by this.
- Designers in one geography rarely know what’s on offer in others.
- Ordering samples is extremely labour- and time-intensive.
- WAY too many people still rely on Google for this sort of job.
We eventually got to a point where a clear pattern in people’s frustrations emerged. This quickly fuelled what is now an obsession to define and create a better way of connecting creatives with materials. So welcome to Nicety.
Based on what we’ve learned over the past 14 months, we believe we’ve cracked it: a quick and direct way to connect you with the best physical materials from all over the world, providing you with the required information so you can make the right decisions in an instant. No more emails or calls back and forth, no more space-consuming and quickly outdated sample books. Nicety is about you and what you require right then and there. About the money or time you could save; the materials you could discover outside of the usual options so you don‘t have to compromise. And the best thing is, it’s completely free to access.
One more thing
We’re super proud and humbled to announce that we are working closely with the amazing Lundgren+Lindqvist to bring Nicety to life. We’ll be sharing more on this and our site over the coming days and weeks. You can also follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
We are always open to hear your thoughts on what we’re doing. Please let us/me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So once again, welcome to Nicety. We look forward to seeing you very soon.
Sthuthi + Sebastian ✌