Sale of Materials​

Sale of Materials​


Selling components or materials that others can use to make products or learn skills

Major variations

Selling individual items versus selling kits; buying the materials for sale versus being a collection & distribution hub for reclaimed or donated items. 

Potential impacts

  • Providing access to materials can be an enabler for other impacts you wish to have such as improving skills, enabling businesses, improving quality of locally made items
  • Becoming a hub for material re-use and recycling can have significant environmental benefits as well as helping those who need them to access materials at low cost


  • If the technologies you have in your makerspace are not widely available in the community, the materials to use with them also may not be. You can help people to gain access to materials they need and earn some revenue from it.


  • It can be difficult to set up supply chains for items not readily available – you may need to buy in bulk, which requires more working capital
  • Import & currency issues – where you are buying the materials from outside the country, you may need to deal with import procedures, manage lead time uncertainty, or take risk on currency movements.

Business model canvas

Key partners

  • Manufacturers & suppliers of materials
  • Organisations with waste materials to donate
  • Others who buy similar materials in significant quantities – there may be an opportunity to lower costs by forming ‘buyers clubs’ with them

Key activities

  • Procurement
  • Inventory management
  • Advertising / Sales

Key resources

  • Cash flow to pay for the materials before you 
  • Secure storage space

Value propositions

  • Availability – giving people access to items they cannot easily get elsewhere
  • Convenience – materials available where the machines are
  • Price – recycled materials or direct imports may be cheaper than competition

Customer relationships

  • Long term relationships with repeat customers who may be members of your community
  • Reciprocal relations with marketplace partners


  • Sell to people already using your space or your machines (cross-selling)
  • Online sales (or reservations for collection) may be useful 

Customer segments

  • Individuals and freelancers who need things for projects or learning
  • Businesses who need the items for their operations 
  • Possibility to sell wholesale to other makerspaces or businesses that will sell them on to their customers

Cost structure

  • Material purchase cost
  • Inward shipping & import duties
  • Delivery cost if not collected
  • Inventory carrying costs such as storage space, cost of capital, insurance, administration time [these also apply in the case of donated items]

Revenue streams

  • The most common is to charge for the materials or components
  • Revenue sharing may be possible with people who use the materials to make things to sell
  • Being a collection & distribution hub for recycled materials can enable you to charge for materials that are given for free
  • In some cases you may provide materials as part of a package that is paid for as a whole, such as training or machine access

Complementary models

Organising events and fun activities where the focus is on the experience, and learning happens along the way ​
Print Friendly, PDF & Email