After being acquired in January by Cork, Ireland’s PCH International, Toronto e-commerce platform ShopLocket launched Blueprint in April, a sort of online trade publication meant to highlight best-in-class hardware in a magazine-style format, with an emphasis on good design, squarely aimed at up and coming hardware and device makers.
And now Blueprint has been rebranded as a consumer-facing online shop, sneakily called The Blueprint. It will be run by ShopLocket’s co-founder, Katherine Hague, and “will sell a thoughtfully considered collection of the very best tech products, rounding out PCH’s offering of services and truly making it the go-to platform for hardware companies.”
The previous version of Blueprint featured interviews with Dale Dougherty, CEO & President of Maker Media, Kate Drane from Indiegogo, and Zak Homuth of Upverter, among others. The resource section of The Blueprint will still be available to designers and hardware makers, but will now be tucked away in a link at the bottom of the page labelled “Startup Resources”.
Where Blueprint previously worked as a resource for makers, people who conceptualize, design and build hardware of various kinds, The Blueprint came about in response to traffic from non-designers, who were simply coveting what they saw. So, why not turn it into a shop?
“The Blueprint is for everyday consumers who crave well-designed, quality tech products,” Katherine Hague said. “The experience will be content-rich with videos, beautiful imagery, and much more. We will start with a few products and build to have a comprehensive collection spanning multiple categories of tech goods.”
One product, for example, available through The Blueprint is the Aros air-conditioning unit, controlled through a smartphone app, making it an early visitor from the alien planet known as the Internet of Things.
“We are very excited to connect amazing tech products with consumers who love great design and technology,” said PCH Founder & CEO Liam Casey. “We are creating a marketplace for today’s best tech products and innovative companies. The Blueprint is part of our strategy to open up new, startup-friendly channels to startups and to get new products to market. Katherine will work with experienced merchandisers and creatives to make a design-focused, entertaining tech marketplace.”
PCH International is a product development and supply chain management company, and also runs a hardware incubator called Highway 1 in San Francisco.
The Blueprint will sell products by companies participating in the PCH Access program, which is meant to help small hardware start-ups scale to mass production and distribution. For consumers, then, The Blueprint will be a site of first resort for watchers of interesting new consumer technology.
The Blueprint will offer a selection of products from companies such as Drop, Ringly and Mob Notebooks. The website functions as a showcase for work by the newest tech start-ups and industrial designers, as well as a means for PCH International to provide a marketplace for the fledgling companies that it’s trying to develop.