For the last two years Wonderluk have been leading the way in stylish, bespoke jewellery made with the latest 3D printing materials and technology. While their cutting-edge designs are hitting the mark with the East London audience and can now be found at Shoreditch’s hottest fashion shops Anter and Glassworks, their big vision lies in the ‘democratisation of consumer products’, giving the customer more control over the design of what they buy by allowing them to customise their own products online. With the ethos ‘Don’t Blend In. Ever.’ co-founders Roberta Lucca and Andre Schober certainly stick by this in their approach to business as well as in the style of their products and by encouraging their customers to make them their own. The Brazilian/German co-founder combo make the perfect international mix of energetic creativity and precise execution by blending Andre’s expertise in brand partnership and business development with Roberta’s thirst for infinite technological innovation.
With wonderwoman as their inspiration Wonderluk is making waves in the way the fashion and luxury bespoke industry by saving consumers from the dictatorship of boring products made by boring companies.
Tell us about your backgrounds…
Roberta: I’m a serial entrepreneur, I created a video games company five years ago and a year and a half ago started Wonderluk. My passion is creating new businesses and using technology to create new ways for people to consume things. Video games have been at the forefront of technology and entertainment and Wonderluk is at the forefront by creating a way for people to personalise products they love and using 3D printing as the magic ingredient to that.
Andre: For the last ten years I worked in luxury goods. I was at Vertu, the luxury mobile provider working on brand partnership with some really amazing companies like Ferrari, Bentley and Amex, which is where I worked with Roberta for the first time. So coming from that background both of us are now off to democratise bespoke, having seen how the real bespoke works, we thought it was time for a new experience which is more affordable, simple, fun, addictive and allows you to interact with the product in a new way.
Do you think that’s going to upset the bespoke industry?
A: Hopefully! We are one of many companies to come that will play in this field of personalisation, customisation, making things your own and I think it’s a trend that we’ll be seeing led by a few innovators and eventually everyone will be doing it.
R: Consumers are becoming more sophisticated. It’s not acceptable any more that you will think that everyone should be dressing the same way or enjoys the same thing. The world of mass production is becoming the world of customisation because of where we are and what we demand from brands. We want to be part of the creation of products we don’t want to be told what to do any more.
What is Wonderluk’s approach to bespoke?
A: The vision behind Wonderluk is to give our customers the opportunity to really interact with the product and make it their own by choosing material, sizes and colours for now. Then in the near future also interacting with the shapes, making products, really co-designing and interacting with the product. If you personalise a product you bond with it, if you spend five or ten minutes making a product your own, you have a very close connection to this product and eventually also to the brand and the designer behind it.
Tell me more about the development of the brand and the company?
R: The journey started two years ago when I decided to buy a 3D printer so I was a very early adopter! My levels of expectation were very high and the reality was very different to my expectations. I discovered how difficult it was to create something out of a 3D printer, but I also found out that I could make some really beautiful jewellery, I printed some at home and I was wearing it everywhere, people were stopping me and saying ‘wow, this is amazing, what is that material?’ So I called Andre to say I have something here that might be really special and it’s history from there!
Where does your brand’s tagline come from?
R: ’Don’t Blend in Ever’ came about, because of the designs and the process are so different to the traditional ways of creating jewellery and fashion accessories. We want to have a really strong stand to say you can have something really different and you can be different wearing them.
Do you have a team of in-house designers?
A: Emily is our in-house not only designer but our design community manager and 3D printing champion! She knows everything about the technology, the materials, the possibilities, the limitations, she engages with the new designers that we bring in and works with them on a daily basis to get the collections ready to prototype. We have twenty designers from thirteen countries, and we’re aiming to double that by summer. There’s architects, product designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, artists and painters. It’s the diversity of backgrounds that makes the collections really exciting.
What do you think it is about your jewellery that’s proved so popular especially in this area?
R: I think that the intriguing elements are the design and the materials. There is this ‘wow’ moment of ‘What is that? What is this material?’. I think partially it’s the novelty of 3D printing and partially the design route we decided to take which is a lot more contemporary than classic.
A: The other thing is that East London is a conglomeration of early adopters. They are very fast to take in new technologies new designs, they’re very embracing ad welcoming here to the new. That is a very good breeding ground for it but eventually of course we want to make success in different countries, we have great response in Italy, the Middle East, Germany and France.
3D printing is a novel technology right now, how will you combat that as it grows and becomes a norm, how will you keep ahead of the game?
R: 30% of online shoppers would love to personalise the things they buy. The demand is here and there isn’t anyone offering something that is simple and fun to personalise online. What we want to build on next is the customisation platform where you can personalise anything you want online and have it made for you in two weeks time. So nowadays the technology that we use to deliver that is 3D printing, what it’s going to be in the future we don’t know.
A: 3D printing is a talking point but it’s really not what we think is the core of what Wonderluk is. People don’t even have the imagination at the moment because there is so little out there, that’s why we feel that we’re pioneers in a coherent of young companies, startups and disrupters, that are bringing personalisation to consumers.
How has technology changed the fashion and style industry, and what are the possibilities in the future?
R: It’s changing everything, from the social networks, up to everything that you can use your phone for nowadays. With phone apps you will be able to solve the problem of fitting, imagine you take a picture of your finger and then you send it to us and then we build something exactly to your size. That’s going to be the same for your body and shoes, so there’s a lot of technology of scanning going on and I think it’s a really exciting moment in consumer demand versus what we can offer as a business. Technology shouldn’t drive businesses but if your clever enough to understand consumer needs and apply the right technology for that, it is a win.
A: It’s scary for the established players, for fashion labels as we know them, it’s scary for large retailers for the high street fashion stores, their business models worked for decades pretty much undisrupted and the only thing that they had to deal with was the seasons. We will see a lot of consolidation, a lot of innovators and disrupters, small players becoming big players and niche offerings.
What do you like about the startup scene?
A: I think it’s always more exciting to be the challenger than the defender!
R: That’s why we jumped out of the corporate world and haven’t looked back! It’s the freedom and the excitement of creating something new without having to battle with a 1000 people organisation.
A: I think to fail it’s easier, which is good, you can experiment, you can try to fail and no one really cares. You don’t want to let your customers down, that’s the one thing you don’t want to do, but other than that, behind the scenes you can try so many different things and fail quickly. Large companies don’t have this luxury, they can’t fail.
What’s next for Wonderluk’s product range?
A: We have lots of exciting things, a whole new bow tie range which we did in collaboration with a designer called Oliver Smith which resonates very well with the audience in this area. We’re also working on an exciting collaboration with a major London museum, which we can’t yet talk about, we’re experimenting a lot towards sunglasses, homeware and other fashion accessories.
Buy online: www.wonderluk.com