Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, brings imagination to life. Design goes directly from idea to physical product through a computer and a printer and the revolutionary manufacturing process can usually be completed within a matter of hours. Lauren Jackson of Monka! Goods typically has one or two (of her three!) printers churning at any given time. “3D printers are very finicky, especially when you run them almost 24 hours a day, so there is unfortunately quite a bit of downtime for maintenance and repairs,” said Jackson.
Jackson initially opened Monka! Goods, shorthand for the “monkey” nickname she gave her son (and now daughter), in November 2014. “I stopped working to stay home with my son, then six months, now 5. I had created wall hooks from animal toys for his nursery and friends and family suggested that I try selling them,” she recalled. “I spent a few months testing different materials until I landed on animal toys that I filled with resin, then inserted hardware, primed, painted, clear coated, and backed in felt.” In summer 2017, Jackson and her robot programmer husband sought a more cost-effective solution and they spent a year perfecting the design and production process of 3D printing. “My most memorable ‘oops’ moment was when I accidentally powered off my printer while it was printing a large plate of designs,” Jackson laughed. “I came down in the morning to check on it. It had been running for almost 18 hours at that point and when I turned off all of the lights to leave my studio, I also flipped the switch on the printer. It was enough of an ‘oops’ that I guarantee it will never happen again.”
The shop specializes in cheeky homeware accessories, like skull and alien magnets, animal wall hooks, dinosaur holiday ornaments, and my personal favorite, the orange SCROTUS magnet, a nod to the sitting president. I ordered several of those for the holidays this year. “I do love the Menorahsaurus that I released this past year,” Jackson shared. “The most popular design is probably my dinosaur and skull magnet sets and my SCROTUS magnet.” Jackson loves the custom design aspect. “I get a lot of inspiration from the odds and ends of things that I have collected – some say hoarded – in my studio,” she joked. “I also get lots of new ideas from my amazing customers. My favorite is when someone asks, ‘can you make a….’ I always say, ‘I can try!’”
The innovation of 3D printing allows Jackson to flex her creativity. “I think Monka! is a pretty unique shop. I don’t know of many that make the crazy, bright colored, sometimes ridiculous (or offensive) home decor. I love to push my designs to be ‘extra’ and I think it helps get me noticed.” For the spring, Jackson has big plans. “ I have been getting really jazzed about the shop’s new jumbo skull and dinosaur heads with flower crowns. I have been thinking about a line of big pieces since we started so it’s nice to finally see them come to life!”
Shop all of the Monka! Goods creations on the shop website here and join the Facebook fan club for upcoming sale details. Plus, use the code HIMONKA to save 20% off your next 3D purchase. Thanks Lauren!