The backstory – Bare Conductive
Bare Conductive is a London-based technology start-up, developing a platform of sensing technologies based around its electrically conductive paint and capacitive hardware. This platform is currently manifested through consumer-facing products and a select number of projects with industry partners.
The company has won multiple competitions including Innovate UK’s Digital Disruptive Solutions £100k award, has been nominated for Design of the Year Award by the Design Museum, and received an Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica. Bare Conductive has been featured by the Guardian, FT, BBC, CNN, Fast Company, the Evening Standard and Wired, amongst other prestigious international publications.
In this Q&A, Bare Conductive’s Co-founder Bibi Nelson tells us why it’s important to stick to what you know, and bring in specialist expertise for areas you’re not naturally au fait with.
As a tech-focussed company, we’re a little obsessed with cool innovations here at James and James, and many of our clients offer just that. Bare Conductive is no exception. With their range of paint and kits, you can let your engineering imagination run riot. Take a look at this video from Mashable to see how.
We put a few questions to COO and co-founder Bibi Nelson to delve deeper into the London-based tech startup and find out the reasons why they chose to outsource fulfilment of their electrically conductive paint and hardware products.
How would you summarise Bare Conductive?
Bare Conductive specialises in printed electronics and impedance sensing, and produces a range of products and technologies for a wide range of industries. These include development kits aimed at engineers, designers and individual consumers to experiment with and test our technology for their projects and applications.
We launched Bare Conductive in 2009, off the back of a student project from the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Imperial College. We wanted to investigate whether we could print electrical circuit on any surface – floors, walls, and even the body.
What does the Bare Conductive team look like now, 11 years later?
We’ve grown to a team of nine full-time staff and three part-time.
What did your fulfilment process look like pre-James and James?
Before we partnered with James and James in 2014 we were shipping orders directly but had reached our maximum capacity, so we needed to make the decision whether to hire people in-house to deal with demand, or outsource.
And so how did you come to make that decision to outsource?
As a company, we believe in focusing on our expertise related to our core business. We are not in the business of eCommerce logistics so it was important for us to find a partner who is an expert in their own field – eCommerce fulfilment. By outsourcing, we knew we’d be in a better position to focus our time and attention on design, marketing, and sales.
As we’ve worked with James and James for a number of years now, we’ve seen them investing heavily in increasing efficiencies in their processes. Especially in these uncertain times, they’re helping our business thrive.
So it was absolutely the right decision.
What systems do you use to run your online store, and why?
How did you find the integration of those chosen platforms with James and James’s ControlPort fulfilment system?
There was an initial challenge in creating a custom plugin, but that was resolved fairly quickly. Now the integration is great, super easy to set up and we can make changes to our shipping options that are easily configured in the James and James system.
We love how ControlPort provides so much insight into stock movements, as well as visibility on orders.
Plus, it’s nice to have a support team on hand – they’re always extremely helpful and responsive.
What improvements have you seen since working with us?
James and James have enabled us to adopt a postponement strategy within our supply chain. We have a lot of nested products that we supply in our development kits – for example, parts that we sell on their own and as part of kits.
All of our individual parts are stored at James and James, so the final assembly of products happens just before they are needed to ship. This not only gives us flexibility in choosing which product to assemble based on demand (therefore reducing our overall stock on hand), it also reduces our costs overall by 10.5%.
But maybe, more importantly, the key to our growth is making sure that our community of thousands of engineering, designers, and developers in 50+ countries around the world can get our products fast. James and James make that possible in a way that we could never achieve by ourselves.
In short, James and James has been a crucial partner in growing our community, cutting our costs and putting our business at the forefront of Printed Electronics.
It all began in 2010, when James Hyde and James Strachan couldn’t find a modern shipping service for the eCommerce business they ran. Faced with messy warehouses based on out-dated systems, they decided to build their own. We’ve not stood still since, helping hundreds of online brands scale up – and scaling with them.