The world’s most successful retail store isn’t Macy’s, Harrods, or even Wal-Mart; this is the Apple Store, which makes significantly more money per square foot (the primary indicator of retail success) than any other retail operation. People love the Apple Store because of the experience – the product demonstrations, the workshops, the ability to talk to a “genius” who can explain how to operate your iPhone or iPad, and more.
New from Tel Aviv 3d factory doesn’t sell Apple products, but it does provide an Apple-style experience for artists, designers, and ordinary people who want something unique and different for their home. “Until now, 3D printing in Israel has been limited to labs or universities, where those interested in technology would try out their designs,” said Jessica Jaffe, store manager in a booming Jaffa neighborhood. , south of Tel Aviv. “We’re more consumer friendly, giving non-geeks the chance to experience 3D printing. “
3D printing is like “real” printing, except that instead of using ink or laser toner to transfer words or an image from a computer screen, the system uses materials to produce three-dimensional “prints” of a drawing on a screen made with 3D Modeling Software. High-end 3D printers can use a variety of materials, including metal, to reproduce objects (like guns); there are even printers who can “print” the food, using sugar and other malleable ingredients to make candies and gum. Most 3D printers use various plastics (called filaments) like PLA, which is made from corn starch, to produce objects.
For now, 3D Factory, which opened just a month ago, will limit its printing to PLA, ABS filament, and other plastic items – but buyers at their store, as well as designers who come with their own model files created on their computers or who use their workstation to create their own model files, will have no limits in printing objects made from these materials. The store also has a retail section, where customers can come and order a model (such as a vase, bottle opener, lamp, lunch boxes, even brass knuckles) and personalize it by color, shape, size and a dozen other criteria.
This is where the experience part comes in. “Many of our customers are local families and tourists who take their children to watch the printing process, learn about 3D printing, and see the object being created,” Jaffe said. “We’ve also hosted student groups, and part of our plan is to run workshops, educational groups, seminars, ‘print parties’ and all kinds of other activities both in-house and in schools and community centers. ” 3D Factory also sells printers, as well as filaments, for individuals (Jaffe doesn’t think there are any in Israel yet).
Now is the time to get the word out about 3D printing, if this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was any indication. The Las Vegas event showcased dozens of consumer and mainstream 3D printers ($ 1,000 and under) for home use. Consumers love 3D printing, Jaffe said, because it allows them to make unique, personalized items for a lot less money than they would have to pay – if they could even find someone to make one. only version of an object produced in series as a vase. . “For the first time, the prices of bespoke items are within everyone’s reach,” Jaffe said; many 3D Factory store items cost no more than 20 or 25 NIS, which gives them something far more special than what they might get at a regular retailer, for almost the same price.
Thanks to Apple, retailers of all kinds are developing “experiences”. TO Build a bear in New York City, for example, kids take a bear model and stuff it, watching a machine craft their creation with eyes, nose, clothes, and features of their choice. In the world of 3D, the recently opened Makerbot store chain – which offers 3D printing services, seminars, workshops, and events – is another experience-driven retail model that 3D Factory hopes to emulate.
And the partners who created 3D Factory – Shaul Cohen and Oded Marcus – have ambitions far beyond Jaffa. “We are envisioning a franchise model, where franchisees will open 3D factories across Israel and deliver the 3D experience in their own communities,” Jaffe said. “At the moment we are just getting started, but already the enthusiasm for 3D printing and the store has been much bigger than expected. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of a new technology like this that has the potential to change the world.