Every now and then we give a background glimpse of the workings of SED HQ on Instagram. And that got me thinking about doing a behind the scenes with SED sort of thing.
No sooner had the thought flitted in to my bonce than my fingers hit the keyboard then … Ta da! If any of what follows raises any questions get in touch – our contact details are here. We do love to chat!
How we got started in the 3D printing business
Well, we’ve always loved baking. Yeah, I know, talk about stating the obvious. Yet we used to be much more about the cakes than the cookies. A lovely boiled fruitcake on a Sunday teatime mid 70s, with visiting grandparents. It can’t get any better than that. Indeed, only the other day Mr SED called me a feeder. And he’s not wrong. I want people, friends, to sit, enjoy cake or biscuits with a cup of tea and a listening ear.
I digress though – this will happen often so bear with. Before we were SED we ran a business called 4 Points Leisure, selling glamping, festival and camping gear. We gave it our best shot but competing with the big boys – y’know Go Outdoors, Glamping Company etc proved nigh on impossible.
Now it happens that Mr SED is a technology early adopter. Thus, around this time he got a 3D printer to play with. After printing all manner of stuff, he printed a cactus cookie cutter. ‘Oooooh’ said I, ‘bring me to the cookie dough’. For a laugh, I put it on our 4 Points Leisure shop and it sold. And sold and sold. Bells started clanging in my head. What else could we do? As it turned out – loads!
So here we are, four years down the line, with over 2000 products in our catalogue. We have cookie cutters, cake toppers, stencils and embossing items for any occasion you can think of. And many that you can’t I vouch! We sell them via our website, EBay, Etsy and Facebook.
Who are SED?
Ah! Yes. Good question, I’m glad you asked.
Bashing out this blog is me – Jo. I work full-time at the business doing everything bar maintaining the 3D printers. Though Mr SED will be apoplectic when he reads that. Mr SED is Richard. He maintains the printers and does a lot of the engineering on the complex commissions. He’s the trouble-shooter when anything goes wrong. Other than all that he works full-time outside of the biz.
Then there’s the dahling daughter. A testy teen always ready to taste test and ever rolling her eyes at my Instagram efforts. Pfft.
And finally, my sister, Auntie Sean, who has a myriad of design ideas and a good notion for what will work, along with lecturing on marketing! And I must give mention to the two cats and two degus, who give much needed amusement/therapy, along the way.
So there you go, that’s the gang behind the scenes at SED.
Where does it all happen?
That’ll be the kitchen! And our box room office. The kitchen becomes a tangle of bubble wrap and Selloptape come 11am most mornings.
We’re too small to go big yet, but a move to the shed will happen. Then there’s the printers. We have four in the kitchen and three in the box room office. I take phone calls in the cupboard under the stairs! I jest – but not too much.
Our favourite bits
If you were to ask me what I like best about what I do, I’d have to say the designing and the commissions. I’m none too hot at face-to-face schoomzing. I don’t have an elevator pitch for a start. The very idea brings me out in a hive – I’d be the one in the corner staring hard at the buttons!
But bring me your starting point and away I go. I love that part of the job. And designing our own collections is far more interesting than the accounting side!
And the worst part …
… is, unpicking filament from the 3D printer, and trying to remember to vacuum them out!
Or when I visualise a print one way and it prints another – parts of the internal cutter falling out. But I am so dogged about getting something finished.
Finally, the icing (whadda??) I would love to ice our cookies like you professionals, but I don’t have that talent. I need to watch the You tube videos on how to do it. And I promise myself each holiday that I’ll settle down and watch but it never happens. So instead I’m making my disastrous cookie icing into a feature and a talking point.
What a typical day looks like
Well, the machines run from 6.30am to about 8pm non-stop. I’ll start at about 7am doing the invoices for the day. Then I move on to creating the print lists before running to the front door to mortify the dahling daughter by waving goodbye in my dressing gown.
After that, it’s commission work, or printing orders of our own designs. Then I hop on to Insta to see what everyone is doing. I might then freak out that I missed a print finishing – so have to run to a printer.
Next comes packaging up orders and popping in a freebie for them. Repeat all that until 3.30pm when we stop for a catch up cup of tea with the daughter. It’s the back to the grindstone until 5pm when I come away to burn something for tea.
But hey. That’s the up and the down to being self employed – the work is simply never done. On the flip side, if I want to go for a run at 9am then off I pop. It hasn’t happened yet but I like to fancy that one day it will.
What happens after the cutter goes out?
I so hope the recipient loves it and uses it loads. My worst nightmare is that they get the cutter, feel disappointed but don’t feel that they can come back to me. And then keep it hidden in a drawer resenting it every time they go in there.
I check my feedback on all platforms, and if it’s a commission I’ll follow up to check it worked. I would say, as a customer, and this has taken me until now to realise, if it’s not what you want when you receive it, ask to return it. Or do an exchange, please don’t let that item beat you up each time you look at it.
Our commission work
You can commission a cookie cutter, stamp or cake topper from us anytime. All we need is your drawing. Or if you’ve seen something you like, share that with us. But do be aware of copyright. We absolutely cannot and will not make an identical copy of someone else’s idea. The best we can offer you is a similar cutter/stamp.
The commission then stays a secret, we won’t tell until you do – tag us! It’ll also be yours for a year – even longer if I forget we made it! – before we look at it to see if it can go in our shop.
You want a competitive edge, we get that, you want to ‘pop’ on that arena, we can help.
What’s coming up next?
Well, it’s May so it must be Christmas! We’ll start collecting ideas, and trialling some prints to see if they’ll work well with the dough/fondant. Then make a start on some final decisions. My sister in Somerset helps with sourcing ideas and, as a crafting card maker, comes up with a few of our designs. I am definitely thinking Scandi. I love the vibe, and gingerbread houses/women, children. Perhaps even a whole village – who knows?
Where we see ourselves in a year’s time
I’ve no idea if behind the scenes with SED will be much different. I daresay I’ll still be sat where I am now, between chasing after seven printers of course. The plus side of that is that it does my step count a power of good!
I’m hoping that we’ll have more and better designs, reach more people via Instagram and will be looking to connect with our local community.
We’ve put a few programmes in place to help us run the business, so I’m hoping to grow at a steady pace, bringing our lovely existing customers with us. Because, at the end of the day, SED Developments is all about the bakers.
We trust you enjoyed this glimpse behind the scenes with SED. And don’t forget you’ll find us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to see our latest creations and catch our news.