Leeds is officially under siege. The invasion has begun.
5,000 'Scraplets' have now been created since the beginning of the first national lockdown, when Leeds-based woodworker, Mark Ridler, found he had a bit of time on his hands and decided to start creating a new world of “robots with attitude” made out of scrap wood (as you do).
Mark came up with the idea of ‘Scraplets’ at the start of the first lockdown in April 2020. Talking about the slightly (no, massively) wacky business he has created, he says:
Lockdown One was a crazy time for everyone. The world just stopped completely and it felt like there was nothing we could do. Somehow, making Scraplets gave me a sense of purpose and a way to fill my time and amuse myself, as well as clearing my little workshop of all the wood I'd been hoarding in there for years. Reclaimed wood is a real passion of mine - previously I had been making wooden wall art from all sorts of scrap, so I had loads of offcuts taking up space. It just made sense to try and use them in some way.
Each little Scraplet is an individual character with its own unique personality and role to play in the growing Scraplets universe. As of early September, there are 200 different kinds of Scraplets and that number is growing by the day.
Mark says people initially started buying Scraplets online via social media, with Facebook group, Not On Amazon, which doesn't charge any commission, proving a particular help.
When sales started, quite unexpectedly, to go supersonic, he built a website, Scraplets.co.uk so that he could give them a formal base on earth. But that was only the beginning. Mark adds:
Independent shops started asking me if they could stock Scraplets, which I found incredible. When lockdown ended I started attending craft fairs and markets and the response has been overwhelming. It's been fantastic to see people's reactions when they meet the Scraplets and a great journey so far. I'm currently working on a Scraplets book (a time travelling romp/activity book) and have plans to run workshops teaching people the basics of carpentry via the medium of Scraplets.
It doesn't stop there. Sales are proving so strong that Mark is also currently in the process of negotiating a shop in Leeds so that he can finally give the Scraplets the bricks and mortar base on our planet they deserve. Given that there are over 200 individual characters now, it's going to have to have a lot of space (geddit?).