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Breaking: MakieLab Acquired by Disney and Moving to US

It could be the end of the a dream, the dream of using 3D printing to create new products that enable a little studio to compete with giant toy manufacturers. It could also be the beginning of an even bigger dream, that of bringing customized 3D printed toys to the masses. The MakieLab story is in many ways very similar to that of many 3D printing companies, as the small, Shoreditch-based toy making studio has been acquired by US giant Disney.

After seven months of quiet due to a non-disclosure agreement (many, I included, were afraid the company had gone under) the news was broken by Solidsmack, with an article where it reported that the company had just announced the move and acquisition by a non-specified toy behemoth on its Facebook page and that the company’s founder, Alice Taylor, now has a position as director of MakieLab at Disney.

While the dream of building a toy startup with 3D printing was a fascinating one, that of truly bringing custom products to more people than ever is now within reach. As a stand alone custom made product Makies Dolls were to pricey to truly make it in the toy world, without the support – as Alice Taylor explained to us when we visited their studio in 2014 – of the huge marketing investments necessary to launch any toy product. Still MakieLab had developed a powerful customization engine and business model that will likely prove to be viable With Disney’s support – and the company has been doing a lot of its own research in 3D printing as well.

Now Disney has a direct commercial presence in the 3D printing arena, coincidentally this happens on the day when HP announces its first quarter with revenues from 3D printing. The world is changing. Now faster than ever.

This is the unofficial Facebook announcement from MakieLab

Dearest friends,

Makies were first introduced to the world in 2012, and since then many thousands of individual dolls (fully customised by you all) have shipped to their owners around the world.

All the brightest and best people got their hands on a Makie doll, even HRH Prince Harry! (OK that was a bit odd, admittedly).

We loved making your dolls, and hearing the stories of each little character, but the time has finally come to announce the end of our adventures.

The Makies technology and platform has been successfully acquired by a fantastic US media behemoth*, who we hope will do something wonderful with it very soon.

(*And we’re still not allowed to say who it is, which is why there’s been such a long, long silence. Non-disclosure agreements are nnnngh. So sorry.)

We tried to continue on the Makies world-takeover independently, but the dream had to end, for all sorts of 2016 – ewww -reasons. We hope our new owner can achieve what we couldn’t on our own for you: thank you, new owner, you are our only hope!

We’d like to send an enormous thanks, to all of our customers, our supporters and suppliers around the world for helping us to launch the world’s first 3D printed toy. So many, many people helped us along the way, and we are hugely grateful for the loyalty and belief that was shown in us.

Makies were just a little ahead of their time. They’re going back to the future, which is where they came from in the first place, of course…

With all our love and thanks,

The entire Makielab team, 2011 – 2016.

 

Davide Sher

Since 2002, I have built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, I spent 12 years in the United States, where I received my Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree. As a journalist covering the tech industry - especially the videogame industry - for over 10 years, I began covering the AM industry specifically in 2013, as blogger. In 2016 I co-founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which operates in marketing, editorial, and market analysis & consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, and leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore. I am also a Senior Analyst for leading US-based firm SmarTech Analysis focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets.

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