Safetray design is signed up for growth
Grieve looking for parterships to launch internationally. By Scott McCulloch
A mother with no previous design experience has come up with a novel invention Scottish Enterprise has already tipped for global success.
Event organiser Alison Grieve has devised a stackable tray with retractable hand support for the hospitality industry.
The idea for the product - Safetray - came to her after seeing a waitress drop a tray of drinks at an event last year.
This idea stuck in her mind, and she spent the next two weeks devising the concept in a series of drawings.
These were then taken to design company Fearsomengine to devise a prototype.
Directors Geoff Jones and Alan Suttie were so impressed with the concept they agreed to offer their services in a joint venture agreement with Grieve.
Following five months of design tweaks, Grieve then took a rough mock-up to Scottish Enterprise last autumn in an effort to secure funding grants to take the concept to the point of manufacture.
SE was so convinced by the design they fast-tracked it on to the high-growth pipeline, giving Grieve access to innovation grants, research tools and Scottish Development International.
She said: "The design for the tray is based on a similar idea to how a flip-flop works on the foot, but gives the person holding the tray support regardless of how the weight on top of the tray is distributed.
"Because the idea could be easily replicated, we've spent the best part of six months securing the intellectual property rights for the design, but we are finally at the point of making our first batch of test models.
"The national tests of the trays will begin in April, and the first 2,500 will be manufactured by the summer, which will be distributed throughout a national hospitality chain as part of the testing process.
"We will have Safetray in bars, hotels and restaurants across central Scotland by the summer, and we expect to manufacture roughly 150,000 in our first year, generating around £600,000 turnover."
Grieve hass brought her design from concept to the point of tooling in preparation for manufacturing for less than £50,000.
Although manufacturing will probably be done in China, Grieve hopes to lead the UK and European distribution from Scotland, and will look at partnerships to launch Safetray in Asia and the Americas with the help of Scottish Development International.
Alison Grieve will be writing a regular blog for Business7 outlining Safetray's progress, and the ups and downs of being a young business.