Handkrafted, the online marketplace that allows people to buy custom-made items from craftspeople and artisans, has attracted $25,000 in seed funding from QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.
It comes on the back of the $100,000 they secured from the Sydney Seed Fund last month. According to founder Fred Kimel, there is “substantially more” investment in progress including from some prominent angel investors.
“I have previously worked in the corporate world and saved up to self-fund this venture,” he says.
“We’ve been really pleased with the level of support from investors. Our initially targeted $200,000 seed raise has been oversubscribed, and alongside Sydney Seed Fund and Creative Enterprise Fund, we have a fantastic group of angel investors backing us.”
The investment will be channelled equally in product development and market growth. Kimel says that marketing-wise he is looking to refine its strategy and cross different channels while building an end-to-end transaction workflow on the platform.
“We have focused mostly on woodwork and making custom furniture but we want to open up to craft verticals like leather work, metal work, stone work and jewellery,” he says.
Building a business on a shoestring budget presented challenges but Kimel thanks the “incredibly strong support” he received from investors that have put him in an “excellent” position to accelerate the organisation’s plans.
“In terms of the challenges I see ahead of us, I suspect they are similar to any marketplace startup with a global ambition … that’s solving the most effective path to broadening our craft verticals, product capabilities and geographical reach,” he says.
The startup has hundreds of woodworkers, with more joining continuously. Over the last year they have facilitated over $150,000 worth of bespoke projects.
“Our makers are all over Australia, including in lots of regional areas. Our clients are varied and also cover a wide geography,” he says.
“We’re removing the frictions in connecting with and commissioning talented bespoke makers to produce high quality and customised products that are made to last. We want everyone to feel that working with a maker to produce a unique, sustainably made item is a viable alternative to the mass-produced goods typically available.”