12 May 2017

In the spotlight: IMAKIN

Inge Muijshondt
Marketing | MyOnlineStore

Do-it-yourself kits that make people happy and encourage them to set to work straight away – that’s what Jinske’s company, IMAKIN, stands for. The kits contain everything you need to create your very own unique home accessories or fashion items, including clear instructions.

In early 2012 my girlfriends and I went to a trade fair for hobby materials. We had taken a shopping list to find materials to create cool Pinterest finds, but amid all the flowers and glitter we hardly found anything! So I thought, “Why not make my own kit of materials to create beautiful things?”. To be honest, at first I wasn’t really thinking of setting up my own company, but then I felt it wouldn’t be a bad idea, even for my own sake.

A while ago I attended an event called Startup Weekend to share my experiences as a Project Manager and help others, but when everyone started pitching ideas, I explained mine too. Eventually I ended up in the top 10 of ideas that garnered the most votes! We then had to form teams with the remaining entrepreneurs. We came up with several DIY boxes and headed out, selling all of our prototypes at once! In March 2013, IMAKIN was launched. The name is a combination of ‘imagine’ and ‘making’.

IMAKIN-bestellingen

By profession I’m a food technologist. I dreamed of becoming a Research & Development Manager, but when I caught the entrepreneurship bug, my ambitions changed. I found a job as a Product Manager, focusing on marketing and communication, which really fuelled my creativity. I worked only three days a week and the other four I focused on IMAKIN. That was really ideal! But when IMAKIN started growing and growing, it became difficult to combine the two, so on 1 July I resigned and I’m now a creative entrepreneur full-time. Fun, but challenging too!

I am always checking the latest trends in fashion and interior design, mostly online via Pinterest and blogs, but also via magazines. I don’t really read DIY blogs, but rather blogs focusing on fashion and interior design. Sometimes a specific trend will stand out, like right now, with marble and cork being really popular materials.

When I have an idea, I assess how I can use this trend to create a product that is really useful (not just some frilly bits and pieces). I check what exactly I should put in the DIY kit, what people generally have at home, like a pair of scissors, what the final kit would cost and which suppliers I can work with. Once I’m happy with the result, I order the materials and I create show models. I then take product and inspirational photos, I work on tutorials/instructions and I write two newsletters: one for (online) merchants buying my DIY kits and one for consumers.

They found me themselves initially. Then last August I first attended showUP and some people who discovered IMAKIN there keep coming back. I love it! Store owners often also see my products at other stores. I even sell my kits in Japan, where they found me via Instagram. In August this year I am once again attending showUP and I will be launching four new kits at the event.

The Handlettering DIY kit, without a doubt! I created it in collaboration with the Dutch brand Dreamkey and it was featured in many Dutch magazines, from Flow to Libelle. This kit is also bought by loads of shops. Nienke (from Dreamkey) and I had bought 25 kits. She sold them all in one day and mine were sold out in one week! Meanwhile, I’ve already sold over 1,500 and I now buy them in batches of 500. 

Several creations made with the Handlettering DIY kit.

Yes and no. I try to be flexible when planning my day, but I think I tend to work more at home than I would elsewhere. I feel it’s easier for me to process an order or answer an email here and there when I’m home. Every morning I make a list of all the tasks I need to finish that day. So if by 4 pm the weather is great and I’ve gone through my list, I head outside and enjoy the sunshine instead of working. I’m quite proud of that, haha!

The reactions of my customers, without a doubt. IMAKIN wants to show that DIY can be fun, easy and accessible. I hope my kits also give people a chance to take a moment for themselves. When I receive a photo of my customers’ creations they’re really proud of their work, I think to myself, “Yes, mission accomplished!”. More than 260 people have meanwhile shared their creation with the hashtag #deeljeDIY (#shareyourDIY).

“When I receive a photo of my customers’ creations and they’re really proud of their work, I think to myself, “Yes, mission accomplished!”.”

When I launched my own company, I wasn’t really prepared and I hadn’t expected it to be this time-consuming. I didn’t realize the effort it takes to find customers and keep your social media and blog updated. I thought to myself, “Let’s just wait and see”. But in all honestly, I love it! No two days are the same. IMAKIN is really all about developing products and I don’t really see it as an online store. I create products and sell them, and the online store is my sales channel.

Resigning from my job was a big dream I had been working toward. In the future I would love to open my own physical store and sell beautiful materials and kits. It would have a large table for my customers to use the materials they’re buying straight away. It would be a place for them to share experiences, help one another and make wonderful creations.

A DIY kit to print pillowcases: the result!

That’s a tough one, because to me, many things have become obvious. I think my number-one tip would be to hit the social-media scene even before your online store goes live! Use social media to advertise not only your existing range, but also your upcoming products. I didn’t do that and it’s a pity really, because people love to find out about your products!

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