What started as a hobby for science teacher Damian Hardacre quickly developed into a business that has seen Atoms to Astronauts blast off.
During lockdown, the 38-year-old started designing notebook covers using the original notes and images of the work of famous scientists.
After some encouraging feedback from friends and colleagues he launched his business in May and his range of products now includes hard and soft cover notebooks, fine bone china mugs and print at home art.
Mr Hardacre is currently working on adding tote bags and glassware to his gift offering which are created with materials handmade in the UK.
He said: “I seemed to have a bit more spare time than normal during lockdown and this started as a hobby for myself.
“I like to buy science gifts and give them to colleagues and friends but I’ve never really come across anything that was really well made and not a generic periodic table design.
“I made a few designs and put them on a digital mock-up of a notebook and wanted the opinion of fellow chemists.
“This went semi-viral and so I tried the other designs in physics, maths, biology forums.
“The same thing happened with each one with people asking where they could buy them which encouraged me to set up the business.
“It’s been incredible that so many people from so many different countries have been in touch and placed an order and the feedback from them all has been 100% positive.”
Mr Hardacre first step was to speak with suppliers and then set up his website.
He said: “As a science teacher, science has always been a passion of mine since a young age. I believe that science and maths play a pivotal role in helping us through the difficulties we face as a society.
“Global warming and pandemics are just two of the current issues and science and science education are vitally important.
“It is my hope that these gifts and my business can work in some small way to promote science to a wider audience.”
The big dream for the Bucksburn Academy chemistry teacher is to see his gifts on sale within Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow Science Centres.
He said: “Being in business is something I have always wanted to do however, I never really knew how or had an idea I thought good enough to pursue.
“I want to keep enjoying it as it’s been a great adventure so far.
“The feedback from customers has been fantastic and I’d like to keep building this and grow a community of those that love science and maths around the business.
“I’d also like to represent science and maths in the best possible light and enthuse and inspire anyone who comes across our items.”
Mr Hardacre has shown his support for the North East Now campaign, which has made it easy for people to support local firms from a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
“I think it’s really impressive. Great images, easy to navigate and the content is good,” Mr Hardacre said. “Any initiative that encourages people supporting local businesses is great in my book.”
For further information on Atoms to Astronauts, visit www.atomstoastronauts.com
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot
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