This week we are highlighting Gabriel Prero, amazing owner of Cufflink Junkie. We interviewed Gabriel back in 2013 and wanted to catch up; looks like the shop has grown a ton, with lots of commision orders! We especially like that Gabriel has chosen two specific niches between cufflinks and Hebrew lettering – always great to look for those sweet spots for shoppers. The shop has clearly expanded into more than cufflinks, so make sure you take a look.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Gabriel Prero, and I’m an Industrial Designer based in Chicago. I wear a few hats professionally. I design home storage, organization, and garment care items for Home Products International, I’m the co-founder and Chief Design Officer of BioSpawn Lure Company, and I run my own Industrial Design consulting studio, Prero Design LLC. I’m a proud Dad to 3 (and husband to 1). And I design cufflinks.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I’ve always liked “man-cessories.” I like watches, belts, shoes, and have always had a particular affinity for cufflinks. I’m also a humorist (or so I think), and enjoy a good pun now and then. It can often be difficult to make humor look good. I try to make that happen with my cufflinks. As a designer, I’m a stickler for detail, and am particularly technical. I think those often direct the shape my work takes. More recently I’ve explored into pendants and rings, and it’s been lots of fun.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
As a design student in the early ‘aughts, 3D printing was often talked about, and we maybe got one or 2 opportunities to see one in action. Getting into the work force and getting to work with one hands on was, needless to say, thrilling. As I moved through my career, I found myself sitting feet away from an Objet polyjet printer. Whoa. The detail was amazing. It made me think of what kind of small, intricate things I could make. Push the boundaries. There had been cufflinks I’ve always wanted, but sadly they didn’t exist. So I started modeling a pair. As I was finishing up, I read a article about Shapeways. I uploaded my Button Cufflinks and ordered a pair. Awesome. Then I sold a pair. HOLY CRAP. Someone bought my cufflinks?! For reals?! I’ve been hooked ever since. How great is it that I can 3D print a custom ring for my wife for the delivery of our 3rd child? All with Shapeways.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I got my BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois-Chicago (go Flames!) and was introduced to Rhino and Solidworks there as part of our curriculum. As my career progressed, so did my CAD skills. I still learn new things often. I actually learned something new yesterday. It’s one of the things that amazes me about this medium. There’s always room to get better.
How do you promote your work?
I’m a big fan of Instagram. I love the simplicity of just pictures. I promote on Facebook and Twitter as well. I’ve had a couple pieces picked up here and there which always helps. And some of my best customers are my repeat customers, who help with word of mouth. It doesn’t hurt that if you Google “Hebrew Cufflinks,” you find me pretty high on the list.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Bucky Fuller is awesome. Raymond Loewy, Dieter Rams, The Eames’, Mies van der Rohe. All just never ending pools of genius, wonder, and stunning design. Around Shapeways, there are so many. I still think Gotham Smith has some of the best cufflinks ever. I’m a little jealous I didn’t think of some of those. I’ve recently gotten a chance to work with Bathsheba Grossman, which was just a great opportunity. But overall, the entire community is really so excellent. I’ve been lucky enough to join the Shapeways Crew recently, and the community is just awesome. The sincere exchange of ideas and opinions is awesome, and I look forward to it in my Facebook feed every day.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I like to fix things. I can’t wait until the day where something breaks on me, and then I can fix, replace a part, whatever, with functional, strong, production quality materials, at a reasonable cost and speed.
Anything else you want to share?
I’ve said for years that Shapeways rocks. I’ve used very few services that have tried to steadily improve month after month. I was lucky enough to give a presentation to young design students at my Alma Mater about Shapeways. Seeing their eyes get wide and their heads get filled with ideas and possibility was awesome.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOP:
- Amazing photography
- Product pages are full of comments (Shop owner tip! Have your customers comment on your product pages like this so other customers can see reviews, satisfactions, questions, etc)
- Wide variety on simple theme of cufflinks
- Still kept with theme of Hebrew names by adding pendants, etc.
- Awesome to collaborate with another shop owner
Thank you (again), Gabriel! So inspiring to see your shop grow so nicely but not losing it’s original charm. (Shop owners, take note!) Don’t forget to check out Cufflink Junkie and follow along on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Gabriel is also active on Pinterest, Tumblr, and has his own site. To be featured, email aimee @ shapeways.com.