This article was written by Patrick Ripley, Director of e-Commerce at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC)
After many patient months preparing, Blu-Bin, Vermont’s 3D Printing Shop, opened its doors late last year with an innovative concept aimed at providing Vermont’s creative and entrepreneurial communities an outlet to affordably and easily make their ideas come to life.
“We are Vermont's only 3D printing shop,” Blu-Bin owner Dan Riley said. “We take digital designs from people around the globe and convert them into physical files for the benefit of Vermonters.”
With the help of the Vermont Small Business Development Center, Riley was able to bring his business idea from concept to reality. In addition to website creation, “VtSBDC helped with business plan creation and pitching capital sources on our value proposition,” Riley said. And now, the bricks and mortar location in Burlington and it website www.blu-bin.com can serve future entrepreneurs and creative types in many ways.
People with an idea for a model or a potential sale item can log on to the website and upload their designs. From there, the designs are sent to Blu-Bin and created on the company’s state-of-the-art 3D printer. Should the item creator choose to sell his or her item, they can do so directly through Blu-Bin.com – the same platform that hatched the original item.
“The website that VtSBDC helped create has become a bedrock upon which we are continuously growing our business,” Riley said. “Without the upgrades and features that VtSBDC helped with we would not be experiencing the success we are currently enjoying.”
It took more than a year from the moment VtSBDC started working with Blu-Bin, drafting business plans and determining funding sources, until Riley’s dreams became a reality. He said there were many bumps along the way, but that the process was made smoother with help from VtSBDC.
“Working with VtSBDC was an extraordinarily positive experience,” Riley said. “Throughout the entire process they were very invested in our project’s success, and it showed. When we were having communication difficulties with our contractor VtSBDC stepped in and facilitated a successful conclusion to the contract,” he said.
Blu-Bin continues to see success and attributes much of their opening day readiness to the help it received from VtSBDC. “We cannot emphasize enough the value we have derived from VtSBDC's services,” Riley said. “It is because of this excellent organization that Blu-Bin is where it is today.”
VtBSDC is presently working with businesses from all corners of Vermont to improve and grow their business through the increased use of digital tools. This assistance is made possible by federal disaster relief funding to the Vermont Digital Economy Project. For more information about the free small business advising, check out the project website here.