Today we’re sharing the story of a Jesmonite homewares small business owner who was able to launch her part-time business during the UK’s Coronavirus lockdown with the help of the Mayku FormBox. Meet Kim Assemat, the owner of Primary Life.
Primary Life launched during the UK’s first Coronavirus lockdown in 2020. Kim was furloughed for a while, and a friend reminded her of how much she enjoyed playing around with different casting materials while studying at university.
Working full-time as an architect, Kim wasn’t normally able to spend hours experimenting with molds and casting, but with the free time she suddenly had, it seemed like a good idea to have a go again.
Getting started with Jesmonite for homewares design
Studying architecture at university meant that Kim had access to lots of different materials. While she may not have been an expert with the materials she worked with, she still had the invaluable experience of creating with wood, plaster, resin and metal, meaning she wasn’t going in blind when she started creating her own products.
After receiving a Jesmonite starter kit from a friend, Kim’s creative juices got flowing! She was spending her spare time creating one-off pieces with off-the-shelf molds and selling them to her friends. Then it snowballed into her creating an Etsy shop, selling her products to strangers.
“I've always enjoyed making things and this is like a fast way to do it and play with colours and textures” - Kim Assemat
As Kim’s hobby was quickly turning into a part-time business, she knew she needed to branch out her offering and differentiate herself from other homewares sellers and that’s when she looked into making her own custom molds.
Creating custom vacuum-formed molds with the FormBox
While studying architecture at university, Kim also had access to vacuum forming machines - she knew all about how they worked and their potential. This is exactly why when she was tagged in a social media post about FormBox, she knew it was the tool she needed to accelerate her making, helping her to create products that are unique to her brand.
“I wanted to start designing and making my own products and you know, this whole kerfuffle with silicone, the FormBox is obviously a much, much faster way.” - Kim Assemat
Kim always wanted to design her own soap dish, that was her aim when starting Primary Life, so when she received her FormBox, getting to work on her soap dishes was a top priority.
Once Kim had her idea finalised, she then made a prototype out of cardboard that was strong enough to be vacuum formed over. She then filled her vacuum-formed mold with Jesmonite to make a master shape she could sand and finesse before vacuum forming over this to make her final, reusable molds.
“I genuinely have not used my own vacuum forming machine before and I did it and I was like, ‘okay, cool. This is very user-friendly.’ [...] It's literally as simple as it looks in the video!” - Kim Assemat
Using vacuum forming to fulfil wholesale orders
Having duplicates of the same mold has helped Kim take her production to the next level. Not only can she create multiple Etsy orders at the same time, lowering her production time without the hefty price tag of having to buy multiple silicone molds. Because of this, Primary Life has managed to upgrade its offering as, with her FormBox molds, Kim can fulfil larger wholesale orders.
“Now I'm doing wholesale a little bit, so that's changed a little bit. Yeah. It's exciting!” - Kim Assemat
So far, Kim has managed to sell 60 of her custom made soap dishes as wholesale orders, making them in batches. Even though she has created multiple vacuum-formed soap dish molds, she creates them in small batches to ensure she maintains a high-quality output.
Kim pours the Jesmonite into her mold, checking to make sure any terrazzo pieces look good and that there aren’t any air bubbles. Once she’s happy with the first batch, she starts on the next batch as it’s curing, creating an efficient production line!
“It just saves on time and it means I have been able to do wholesale because obviously, I can't offer wholesale prices if I can't have that output.” - Kim Assemat