It’s not often that a company gets its start by giving away 100% of its intellectual property and encouraging potential customers to manufacture the company’s products on their own. But that’s exactly how AtFAB, a tiny, two-person furniture startup based in Lexington, Kentucky, first germinated.

It’s not often that a company gets its start by giving away 100% of its intellectual property and encouraging potential customers to manufacture the company’s products on their own. But that’s exactly how AtFAB, a tiny, two-person furniture startup based in Lexington, Kentucky, first germinated.

 Now AtFAB is one of the pioneers of a new model of making things known as “distributed manufacturing.” Imagine, for example, the usual way that a chair from IKEA arrives in your home. First the materials are sourced from all over the world, then shipped to factories for refining and (partial) assembly, and finally they’re distributed to retail outlets. All that shipping has a huge cost in energy and, ultimately, dollars.

Source: Christopher Mims | QZ.com