Market: North America

The customer

imake Ltd is the supplier of high-quality DIY equipment and ingredients to make almost any type of alcoholic food and beverage at home.

The challenge

imake were already well established in New Zealand, having quickly become the top speciality and online retailer of home brew materials in the country. However, they were launching products that they thought were great and the success of these products were proving to be hit and miss. They realised that they didn’t fully understand what their customer wanted.

“We worked on trial and error. We didn’t really know fully what the customer wanted.”
— Peter Eastwood, CEO


imake's The Grainfather

Our approach

Better by Design offers New Zealand businesses a design thinking service that shows them how to gain a deep understanding of their target audience in international markets, and how to turn these insights into an action plan. This enables New Zealand companies to position themselves in international markets in a distinctive and innovative way.

The coaching that the imake team received helped them to develop a process whereby they now bring customer insights into their new product development. This has made the process much more efficient and has allowed them to test the product with their users -learn about what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they wanted more of – and ultimately, getting it right before leaping into production.

“The Better by Design coaching allowed us to develop a process whereby we bring customer insights into our new product development, which has made the process so much more efficient”
— Saskia Thornton, imake Marketing Manager.

The result

imake applied this customer-centred design approach when developing its brand-new product, the Grainfather. Using the knowledge gained from their engagement with Better by Design, imake pushed the original concept further, developing upgrades and additional complimentary products - allowing their customers to build their perfect system over time.

The Grainfather has been so popular that their North American fans took part in a Kickstarter campaign to get it sold in that part of the world two years earlier than imake could afford to get it there. Having thought they’d sell 2,000 in the first year, they sold 8,500 in just over a year. Turning over $30 million and growing fast, the company is now moving into the European and UK markets, with China and South America also firmly on the radar.


The imake team celebrating the success of The Grainfather

“We’ve been able to move into offshore markets at the right time, with the right amount of product, and having done our homework. It’s really allowed us to get much closer to fulfilling our ambition to be a global player"
— Peter Eastwood, imake CEO