After more than 10 years of experience as Marketing Manager, Nicolas Usuwiel turns towards a sector whose potential is no longer a secret: 3D printing.
He discovered this technology in a fab lab, through a project he was working on at the time.
Aware of its opportunities for the market, he creates Unic-3D, a start-up whose services are focused on additive manufacturing.
Today, he tells us about the means used to “evangelize this technology”.
Could you tell us more about Unic-3D?
Unic-3D offers a wide range of services related to 3D Printing. Firstly, the sales of premium Desktop 3D Printers (Formlabs, Zortrax, Uostenker …) and our own premium filament brand.
Thereafter, comes a “3D print on demand service” linked to a design service. Thus, our clients do not have necessarily to be 3D printing specialists.
The third service is the scanning. There are very few companies in Belgium which propose this offering.
In addition, our training offer allows participants to acquire further experience and practical knowledge that will help them in their daily use of 3D Printing technology. In 4 hours, customers learn to draw on simple software. Specific trainings designed for architects allow them to learn how to convert their drawings into 3D. Last, there are technical trainings on the use of 3D printers and customized trainings organized according to the clients’ needs.
Why a specific training for architects?
Architects draw in 3D on software that existed long before the creation of 3D printing. There are not always suitable for 3D printing. So, we learn how to do volumes of houses, or buildings in order to get a simplified design.
Which of these services gets the highest demand?
It is currently the 3D printing service. Having a physical point of sales makes it possible to create human contact.
This human contact is the cornerstone of our business model. This is an extremely new technology for the mass public which has a lot of questions about its functioning and its different fields of application.
It finally allows us to develop a better creativity and above all to solve the different problems of our customers.
It seems that Unic-3D attracts more people who are not 3D printing specialists, am I wrong?
You are not mistaken. My aim is to evangelize this technology. In other words, make it accessible to everyone.
That’s the reason why we offer monthly free training sessions. The goal is to demonstrate that it is not complicated and by showing it, we remove some barriers. We do not necessarily need a large budget. However, for now, my customers include 70%, even 80% professionals.
What are the challenges you faced on the Belgian market?
It is above all the ability to refine the concept. Everything has been created from scratch. I started with a completely non-existing business model. We tried to focus on the service that worked best. The 3D printing service, for instance, was more successful than the others, so we focused on that.
You also offer your services abroad … What do you think of the 3D printing market in Belgium compared to the international?
Today, there are leading companies that offer a complete online and international service. My concept requires a local presence. It is often difficult for clients to not directly interact with a resource person when realizing their projects. For me, being local is most suitable to this sector of activity.
What about your prospects for development?
My intention is to open other sales points in major cities. A call for investors will be launched to open in major cities: Paris, Berlin, London … for a start. Later, I will also focus on the main cities in Wallonia: Mons, Namur, Charleroi, Liege, Louvain-la-Neuve … and finally some Flemish cities including Antwerp, Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven and Ostende.
What could you say about the “Unic-Awards”, simple marketing strategy for Unic-3D, moment of visibility for participants or casual evening around 3D printing?
So it’s a mix of all of that. 🙂 Designers with great potential are awarded at the Unic-Awards… and even if it is somehow a publicity stunt for Unic-3D, it makes the concept more human.
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