Local designer wins bronze

Maker Furniture’s Mat Macmillan in his workshop, with his winning design. Supplied photo.

A Tauranga designer has won bronze for his first ever lighting product.

Maker Furniture's Mat Macmillan was recognised in the Lighting category of the recent Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards.

Mat's design, ‘iO Lighting', is his first foray into the design field, and he's pleased to have fared so well against established designers.

'David Trubridge took gold, and some other well established names were awarded silver, so we were up against some big guns.”

Mat says the lights are selling very well all over New Zealand.

'We recently supplied 30 units to a Fox Glacier hotel and are quoting for projects as far afield as Fiji at present.”

A carpenter by trade, Mat set up his own workshop in a small shed on his family's lifestyle block in Welcome Bay. Initially it had no power supply, and just a dirt floor. But with the help from some friends, he dug a 40m trench to lay down a power cable, poured a concrete floor and fitted the place out with some machinery off Trade Me.

'I made stuff for our home which I also used to try to promote my work via a Facebook page,” he says.

'Soon I began to try my hand at a lighting design that utilised my cabinet-making skills. The result was the iO range.”

Being new to the industry, Mat says he had no idea about pricing the product, how to market it, or where to retail. However, at the beginning of 2016 he gained a business mentor via the Chamber of Commerce mentoring programme, which has been a massive help in getting him through the hurdles of developing the business and product.

'Winning such a prestigious industry-recognised award is far more than I ever dreamed of,” says Mat.

'But it has confirmed for me perseverance and hard work really can pay off.”

See Mat's design, and the other winners, at https://bestawards.co.nz/product/lighting

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