Combine a bit of science, a wild imagination and a passion for crafting, and I give you, Low Poly Crafts. If you haven’t heard of them, you’ve likely seen their geometric animals popping up across town. They are a customer favourite, proving to be both fun to assemble and stylish for the home. I met with Britta and Adrian – the co-founders of Low Poly Crafts – to discuss the story behind their 3D paper designs, how they manage work-life-balance and their new platform for mental health advocacy.
It might be surprising to learn that Low Poly Crafts did not emerge from a place of sunshine and rainbows. No, in fact, it began as an attempt to mend a broken heart (as most good stories begin). A breakup sent co-founder, Adrian, on a quest to learn a new hobby and focus his energy on something creative. His first designs, an elk and a deer, were meticulously crafted – and unbeknownst to him, would lay the foundation of a new business.
Now as fate would have it, Adrian met Britta amidst these new creative pursuits. Britta, well known for her involvement in the maker community, recognized the uniqueness of Adrian’s paper crafts and suggested that he turn this into a business. Reluctant at first, as Adrian saw these as his own beloved creations, agreed, and alas, we have been gifted with Low Poly Crafts.
As I toured Britta and Adrian’s home, I was surprised with the level of sophistication behind each geometric design. There are very few people that create products similar to Low Poly Crafts – and for good reason, it’s hard. From concept to creation there are various steps, numerous programs and a trial and error process that needs to take place. Adrian has ingeniously MacGyvered software programs to allow him to create his 3D designs because there is no single program that delivers exactly what he needs.
Each design is pre-scored, pre-cut and numbered for usability. Then the designs are sent to a few select individuals for A/B testing. This direct feedback allows for any tweaks to be made before production. Each kit then comes with a practice bow-tie to give customers the confidence to properly build their 3D design. I gave it a go myself and made this very fashionable yellow bow-tie.
I was also curious how this couple, whom own a business and live together manage to strike a balance with their work and personal life. And the answer was that it was it’s a continuous process. The fine art of delegation has kept them focusing on tasks that align with their strengths. Britta is the big-picture thinker, incorporating her years of experience within the maker community into the business. Adrian, the creative engine, focuses on the finer details necessary for new designs. Both integral, they keep one another focused. As I sat there, I listened to Britta comically remind Adrian that perhaps he should first finish is PhD before starting half a dozen more projects.
Moreover, these new project ideas may be shifting the future of Low Poly Crafts towards 3D topographical maps. Do you have fond memories of a specific place? Low Poly Crafts can recreate this into an accurate 3D design that can be framed and forever cherished. I got a sneak-peak at a few of the prototypes – and I promise you, they don’t disappoint.
Since opening in 2014 this dynamic duo have created a successful business that has been well received in the community. Production has increased dramatically and you can now find their products in 12 different locations across the province. However, their success can be measured within the mental health community as well. Their 3D designs were given to a mental health nurse who saw the value in distributing them amongst her patients on suicide watch. As we discussed the details of their impact, Britta was moved to tears. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have helped someone strengthen their will to live.”
Adrian remarked that he didn’t realize that what started as a hobby to put him in a positive mental space, would likely have the same affect on others. Many of the patients claim it is an activity that allows them to break away from their negative thoughts. As Mental Health Awareness week approaches (Oct 1st - 7th) Adrian and Britta will be donating 20% of all sales to this initiative. So if you’ve been contemplating making a Low Poly Craft purchase this is the week to do so! For more information, please visit: http://www.camimh.ca/mental-illness-awareness-week/about-miaw/
Until next time maker-friends!