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Darby Smart Brings Together Emerging Crafts Designers With DIYers

Magazine Clutch (Darby Smart)

Half of all U.S. households buy craft supplies at least once a year, and DIY crafters are one Pinterest’s biggest categories.

SF-based Darby Smart, which launched just over two weeks ago, brings the passion of crafters together with emerging designers at Pinterest to turn the most popular new designs into DIY kits that are simple to assemble and replicate.

Co-founder Nicole Farb left her job as head of Goldman Sachs’ emerging Private Companies group here in the city to pursue her own lifelong passion for crafting.

“I've always crafted but have been frustrated that the projects didn't turn out the way I wanted them to,” she explains. “I joke that my first business was making and selling hair bows in the neighborhood when I was ten. But it wasn't until I tried to make everything for my wedding that I realized I wasn't as good at crafting as I wanted to be. Most of us need direction, we need a recipe for making stuff.”

That's what Darby Smart does–provide the recipe and the ingredients. Her company’s initial focus is on women’s accessories and small home décor items.

They’ve partnered with ten up-and-coming designers, who tend to have millions of followers on Pinterest but no way to monetize their crafts. Darby Smart solves that problem by assembling the proper supplies and instructions into kits that it then sells for $24-44, sharing revenue with the designers.

The company promises that every project can be completed in under an hour, not including drying time.

“We launch a new craft every three days,” says Farb. “We are also building out a part of the service where you will be able to buy supplies and create kits yourself–the long tail part of the business. Then anyone can make a kit. We can manage it as part of our inventory base whether it sells 20 or 200. It will be like Legos” (i.e., you can build from the kit or freestyle).

The company places a limit on the number of individual kits available, like the magazine clutch pictured above, to the 100-500 range, for a couple reasons.

“First, we are focused on nailing the ops of our business of delivering an overwhelmingly delightful experience to consumers. Second, there is something cool about the exclusivity factor.”

For the designers, this is often their first opportunity to deepen their relationship with their followers. “For them we offer visibility foremost. Every kit has a page with profile of designer. And a Pinboard dedicated to it.”

Plus, there is that revenue stream.

Darby Smart takes advantage of the new Instagram Video service to provide instructions for the kits.

The first clutches, jewelry, coasters, and candle holders are on the site now, all of which can be assembled from a few of the 40 core supplies in their inventory.

The team of six is operated on a $1 million seed round from Forerunner Ventures, Novel TMT, Vivi Nevo, Dave Gilboa, and Maveron, among others.

As for the name of the company, Farb explains: “It’s a made up person's name. She will help build our brand. Her character is in development; she sometimes signs notes and makes comments.”