I tried to make paper laterns once out of super glue, glitter, balloons, and string, and ended up ruining a friend’s outdoor patio.
Darby Smart launched today to prevent mishaps of this sort, and to capitalize on the DIY movement’s building momentum. It also announced raising $1 million in seed funding.
Darby Smart offers a crafting kit service that “brings Pinterest’s DIY inspiration to life.” Pinterest has more than 48 million users, and the DIY and crafts section is one of its most popular categories. People have created pinboards for every project you could imagine, including ideas for party favors, wardrobe adjustments, home decor etc.. However these projects are often not as simple to execute as they may seem (I speak from experience), and Darby Smart seeks to make crafting more fun and easy for consumers, while giving DIY and craft bloggers a channel to make money.
“I came up with the idea for Darby Smart after repeatedly attempting to recreate DIY projects I found on Pinterest, but my creations never turned out quite right due to incorrect materials or missing information,” said founder Nicole Farb to VentureBeat. “Essentially, I would find a project, drive to my craft store and end up making something that looked like it was the work of a 4 year old! I learned that glue isn’t glue and glitter isn’t glitter. You need the right supplies to create a successful craft.”
Over the past few years, the handmade movement has exploded along with a cultural shift that values the DIY ethic. Farb said that despite this opportunity, huge gaps still exist in the market. Crafters who are active on Pinterest do not have a clear path towards monetization, while those that sell their wares on marketplaces like Etsy often struggle to scale. Darby Smart walks the middle road.
The Craft & Hobby Association found that craft supplies is $29 billion industry, with 56 percent of American households crafting at least once a year. Farb said this market is “ripe for the plucking.” The startup partners with well-known DIY and style bloggers to create kits that contain all the required materials. Consumers can purchase the kits and craft to their hearts content, without doing any of the real legwork.
“Until now, no one has provided the mass population of DIYers the means to create these goods on their own,” Farb said.
Farb used to work as the vice president and head of emerging private companies group at Goldman Sachs. She said she was an active “DIYer” her whole life and through her work in finance grew familiar with the world of e-commerce, consumer internet, and retail. Kits cost between $25 to $45 and new projects are launched every three days. Darby Smart works with the project designers to test and identify the best materials, but from there Darby Smart handles the rest, including sourcing, pursing, packing,and delivering. Designers receive a percentage of kit sales.
Darby Smart is trying to cut out as much of the friction as possible when it comes to DIY projects. Unfortunately, they do not yet have solutions for people like me who are inept with a glue gun and get easily distracted mid-project, but then again the service did just launch today. The paper lanterns didn’t work out so well, but maybe I’ll have better luck with a champagne toaster. At least in that case, there is an excuse to drink champagne.
Darby Smart is based in San Francisco.
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