Redundancy leads IT expert to sets up 3D printing company

Taking redundancy from the oil and gas industry provided Gavin Bain with an opportunity he’d otherwise never have taken.

The 51-year-old IT expert, who left his senior management position with one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies last September, has now turned his love of 3D modelling and printing into a business.

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After contacting Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire for advice on the best way to market Celtic3d online, his adviser suggested DigitalBoost as a way to identify new markets – and the guidance given is already bearing fruit.

Gavin, from Aberdeen, said: “I initially set up the business to create personalised, bronze-cast clan crests for the North America market but was finding it hard to position myself. By working with my DigitalBoost adviser I quickly realised I was entering a very busy marketplace and that partnering with established retailers and developing business-to-business markets would be the best way to gain a foothold.

“He then made me think about the strength of my offering and the potential wider applications of the software I had created. This helped me identify new markets and how to make my offering relevant to them. On the back of the support I wrote an action plan and am now targeting construction firms, architects, and product development companies.

“Widening my customer base has already helped me connect with a national construction firm and I have been invited to host a session on 3D printing at the Scottish Contractors Group Skills event on February 16th in Aberdeen’s Town House. All the guidance I received through DigitalBoost pointed me in the right direction just when I needed it.”

Gillian Macdonald, Start-up Adviser at Business Gateway, said: “Gavin needed help to identify the best way to digitally market Celtic3d. By introducing him to a DigitalBoost specialist he identified potential new markets, he had not originally thought of. The process gave him more confidence and armed him with new ways of thinking. As a result his business is now starting to make in-roads with local firms seeking his expert knowledge and skills.”

Having worked in the oil and gas industry for most of his career, Gavin spent many years living in Houston, the Netherlands, and Kuala Lumpur.

Always interested in emerging technology, he became hooked on 3D modelling 10 years ago as a creative outlet. He then started printing his work after receiving a 3D printer as a surprise birthday gift in 2014.

The downturn in the oil and gas industry coincided with a policy change within the business he worked for that involved moving senior roles to London. Not wanting to leave Aberdeen again, he decided redundancy was the best option.

He said: “I’d read the tea leaves and knew there were major changes on the horizon within the oil and gas industry which made me think about my position and what I wanted to do. If the security of my job hadn’t been in question I don’t think I’d have taken this opportunity because I held a senior position and had a good salary.

“But redundancy happened and I feel invigorated. My package gave me the initial investment I needed to get started and now I am getting paid to do something that I have spent years doing for fun.

“I have big plans for the business, including developing and selling a WordPress plug-in to display and sell 3D objects, and back end software services for processing 3D models but, for the moment, I am going to take my time, building my reputation and take every opportunity as it comes.”

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