Delighted to find out that Safetray's South African patent has officially been granted. Now, where did we leave that vuvuzela?
Our Safetrays are off on tour without us, and heading to lots of new and exotic places. This month we've had trays winging their way to Italy, Armenia, Russia, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Austria and all over Germany.
Our new Austrian distributor is Theodor R. Rist Company, and you can order from them on +43 (0)166 797 710 or visit their website at www.rist.at
Details of more distributors in all corners of the globe will be coming soon, so make sure you check back for more details.
Tomorrow is Safetray's last day at Gulfood, stand E3-33 in hall 3, so make sure you come along and say hello. If you'd like to arrange a meeting, call us on +44 7983 539370 or email email@example.com. Follow along with us on Twitter - look out for the hashtags #safetrayontour and #ivegotthewholeworldonmytray - or like us on Facebook for all the latest news and events.
CEO Alison Grieve travelled to Brazil last year with a Santander trade mission, where she explored this rapidly-growing market and met with potential customers and contacts. Santander recently featured her on their Breakthrough Programme's website here. Read the full story below.
Brazil Trade Mission: Safetray
For the inventor and manufacturer of the patented Safetray, gaining first-hand market intelligence on Brazil was invaluable.
As inventor of the patented Safetray – a tray that stays soundly and helpfully attached to the server’s hand, thanks to a retractable clip on the underside – Alison Grieve is continually looking for new markets. Having spent two years developing her product and establishing it in the US, the Middle East and Australia, Alison, who is also the company’s CEO, wanted to secure the future of her business and build on some important early gains. “We had some significant wins,” she says. “We sold a license to San Jamar, a leading US food service business, to manufacture and sell the Safetray in the US and Canada. For all other territories, we manufacture and distribute the product ourselves from the factory in Scotland. But the San Jamar license enhances credibility and provides another revenue stream.”
While South America and Brazil in particular had not featured on her early business plans, Alison still recognised the possibilities they offered. The market has similarities to the Middle East, where Safetray has made significant inroads into the hotel and hospitality sector. “We had also just gone through an exercise to establish patents in different countries, including Brazil,” she says. “We knew there were massive opportunities in South America, but had no real idea how you would go about making a first approach into a market like Brazil.”
For Alison, everything about the Breakthrough trade mission to Brazil was helpful. Networking with entrepreneurs from the other companies on the trip meant delegates could exchange notes on their experiences. “The group was completely varied,” says Alison. “A lot of the companies were more developed than ours and were at a later stage than us. That in itself was inspiring.”
“We now have a really good understanding of Brazil and what we would need to do to make it work. We have made contacts there and so we are significantly ahead.” Alison Grieve, CEO Safetray Products Ltd.
While in Brazil, the various experts she met – tax accountants, lawyers and logistics specialists – were a source of invaluable market intelligence. “You hear a lot about the potential of Brazil,” she says. “Sometimes the best learning you can have is actually not to commercialise in a country. You do have to look at the complexities and work out whether you have the resources to penetrate a market like Brazil.”
Safetray attracted interest from the Marriott, where delegates were staying in Rio de Janeiro, as well as potential buyers they met in São Paulo. “It is a question of understanding how we might fulfil those orders,” says Alison. “The import taxation is just so high that it might make the product price disproportionately high. But at least we know that there is interest, and we know there are opportunities.”
Brazil itself may not be a realistic short-term prospect for Safetray, but exporting to South America is definitely part of Alison’s plan for the next three years. It could be that the company will work to establish itself in neighbouring countries and export via those.
Alison believes export success must be grounded in thorough research. “I think you have to be quite careful as a small company,” she says. “We now have a really good understanding of Brazil and what we would need to do to make it work. We have made contacts there and so we are significantly ahead. We haven’t entered any overseas market without visiting, attending trade shows and putting considerable groundwork and research into that effort. With a little entrepreneurial skill and problem solving, we should get over the hurdles.”
The next stop of Safetray on Tour is Gulfood, where you'll find us in Hall 3 on stand E3-33, 25-28 February, Dubai World Trade Centre.
If you want to see the Safetrays in action in the UAE, iconic beachside hotspot Barasti at the Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina is top of the list.
To order Safetrays, contact Truebell on +971 653 4211 or visit the website here.
Tripadvisor has just announced their Traveller's Choice 2013 top 25 hotels in the United Arab Emirates, and Safetray is already in five of them, and in a futher five sister hotels of those selected. Come and see us at Gulfood on 25-28 February, Hall 3, stand E3-33, to find out why.
If you'd like to organise a meeting in advance of the show, contact Anna Wilkie on +44 (0) 798 353 9367 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To order today in the UAE, call our distributor Truebell on +971 653 4211.
Gillian Marles, voice over: Scotland has a great history of invention. If it wasn’t for us, there wouldn’t be TV, colour photography, grass-collecting lawnmowers, marmalade, cotton reel threads, fountain pens… The list goes on. However, we didn’t invent the wheel, but a Scot did invent the pneumatic tire that goes around it. And we’re still an inventive nation, but not so good at making money from those inventions. Alison Grieve is one woman hoping to change that. She is Chief Executive and inventor of the Safetray.
Alison Grieve: I used to have an events business, and in my former years I was a waitress, so I knew the trials and tribulations of carrying trays. At one event, there was a particularly spectacular accident involving a trayload of champagne glasses toppling over just before the host of the event was about to walk in. There were champagne glasses everywhere, glass on the floor, the cost of the champagne alone was a couple of hundred pounds, and it was very embarrassing, costly and, of course, dangerous. So those three reasons helped me to invent the Safetray.
GM: But did you have it in your head that you were an inventor then?
AG: The truth is, that for quite a number of years, in fact ever since I was a child, I used to say “when I grow up I want to be an inventor”. My parents even have a tape of me saying I wanted to be an inventor when I grew up, so there was definitely a desire there. As part of my events business I used to be a consultant at a business events organisation, and saw fantastic financial services, lawyers and accountants. But I used to think that it’s quite sad that a nation that gave birth to incredibly famous engineers, world-renowned scientists and inventors who shaped the world was so focused on services, and that manufacturing had kind of been left by the wayside. I loved the thought of physically manufacturing a product that came out of a machine in Scotland and could travel the world. So there was a bigger motivation there.
GM: But having an idea, and having it in your head that you wanted to do something … there is an awfully long way before you actually get to be an inventor, and to producing something in Scotland that you then sell.
AG: There are some inventors who are quite methodical about how they invent, so they will look at a problem, they will look at, perhaps, existing patents, and they will look at developing an idea further – that’s one kind of inventor. But the other kind of inventor, or perhaps invention, is one that you simply can’t plan. You can’t plan a eureka moment, and the time when I thought about trays, and about the ridiculous way that they’re made, I leapt out of my chair when I came up with that idea. It was literally a moment of a flash, a bubble that just popped on my head, so that I didn’t really plan.
However, after that, because I had this motivation to physically manufacture a product, I knew, as soon as I saw my sketch on a bit of paper, I thought, “that is the one, that is the one”. Within a couple of weeks I’d stopped doing all events. I knew it would take all of my time and energy to devote myself to this product.
GM: Unfortunately this is radio, but describe to us what makes this different to a [normal] tray?
AG: Although you can’t see this, the Safetray has a clip on the underside. Now you don’t notice it because it just stacks up normally like a regular bar tray, but when you pull it off a bar or a surface, it comes down and it presses against the back of your knuckles. It means that when there is a heavy weight, even an entire bottle of wine right on the edge of the tray, you use your knuckles to control the tray, to keep it horizontal, so you can confidently do single-handed service without fear of the tray becoming unbalanced and toppling over.
GM: It is amazing. So you had this idea, you had your sketch, what happened then?
AG: Well, I looked into how, when you have an idea, can you go about outsourcing things like someone to do the CAD drawings, and somebody to source the manufacturing company? I learned about how you can protect your idea with things like Non-Disclosure Agreements, and that’s what I set about doing. I found a product design consultancy, Fearsomengine in Glasgow, and rather than pay them for their services, I gave them equity in the company, because I wasn’t a cash-rich entrepreneur. I had a business that really paid for my life, but not a great deal else.
GM: Did there come a point where you would say to people that you’re an inventor? When did that happen, or has it happened? Is that what you say you are?
AG: It’s difficult when someone asks what you do, because the invention happens in a flash and then everything else is selling the product, pulling together a good team, raising money, all the other roll-your-sleeves-up hard bits. It starts to feel a bit false, saying you’re an inventor, because it seems like it’s such a long time ago. But recently, now that we’re starting to develop new products, there’s another few patents that will be coming out, and again I feel like an inventor.
GM: Just tell me about the scale of the company you’ve got now, before you go into the new products and expanding in whatever way. What is the scale?
AG: There are four operational staff and there’s a board of five. We export across five continents now, and our major markets have been America, the Middle East and Australia. It’s been a very full-on year of travelling, which sounds very glamorous but it’s quite exhausting actually! But it’s necessary and it’s very exciting to think of these Safetrays, which were just a sketch on a scrap of paper three years ago, going to countries that I’ve never even been to before, swirling around these incredible venues, from salsa venues to pizza restaurants, to high-end bars serving celebrities in LA. It’s just a very exciting thing to be part of.
GM: What pieces of advice could you give to people who are early in the journey of inventing something?
AG: My advice would be that it’s not an easy ride, and that you can’t be disheartened by that. You fill find that there are always more people who oppose you than support you when it’s a game-changing item, and so rather than take that personally, just understand that and embrace it, and understand why people react against innovation. Try to understand the psychology behind that, instead of being hurt by it. Looking back, the most painful experiences have actually been the most enhancing to me as a person. It might not feel like it at the time, but no pain, no gain.
GM,VO: Alison Grieve. We met at the BBC canteen; her office is off-limits because they’re testing new, top-secret products.
Safetray has been named as a finalist in this year's prestigious International Trade Awards, in the SME category. The ceremony, which last year was held in the Houses of Parliament, takes place on the 10th December and our CEO Alison Grieve will be flying down to London to represent the company. Look out for news closer to the date, but in the meantime we'd love to hear from other companies who will be attending - hit us up on Facebook and say hello.
Australia has been a brilliant ride so far, and we're delighted that Safetray has been selected as a finalist in the Hospitality Equipment category of the Best New Product Awards 2012 at Fine Foods Australia.
There's just one more day to see us in action on Stand A1 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, before the team heads for Sydney on the evening of the 13th and then on to the Gold Coast on the 18th. Even Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls has been getting into Safetray:
CEO Alison Grieve spoke at the Business in the Parliament conference last month, and was praised by First Minister Alex Salmond in his opening speech.
Click below to watch the full video. The section where the First Minister mentions Alison begins at 46:20.
"The next generation of people to emulate is here amongst us today, and with us in the communities of Scotland. The people ... here range from Alison Grieve, whose Safetray business was established two years ago but is now exporting to Europe, North America and the Emirates, to Jim McColl who famously started as an apprentice at Weir Pumps and is now Chief Executive of Clyde Blowers, a company that employs thousands of people across the planet."
CEO Alison will be appearing on Sunday Politics this weekend, 12noon on BBC1. Here's a sneak peek of her filming at McLaren Plastics, where the Safetrays are made.
A new article on www.ifw-net.com about manufacturing in China versus the UK mentions CEO Alison's recent interview in Lloyds Loading List.
"Last month, IFW’s sister publication, Lloyd’s Loading List.com, ran a story about UK manufacturer Safetray Products, which shifted production from China to Scotland after quality control issues. It found producing and exporting from Scotland cost the same as from China, and it gained more control over its supply chain."
Anna demonstrates that we've got the whole world on our tray.
Safetray on Tour has been a huge success so far, generating lots of interest in the Middle East and America. The CEO Alison Grieve and Global Market Development Manager Anna Wilkie even met a government minister, who loved the Safetrays so much that he demonstrated them during an after-dinner speech.
The tour began in Dubai, where Alison demontrates Safetray's Atlas-like strength by holding up the globe of the World Trade Centre. The Gulfood exhibition provided an excellent opportunity to show the trays off in the Middle East, and to network with entrepreneurs from around the world.
Alison and Anna met government minister Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment at the Scottish Parliament. He loved the product so much that he showed it off later that night when speaking at a dinner for dignitaries and decision-makers.
One final visit to an iconic Dubai location, the Burj al Arab tower, then it was off to Las Vegas for Catersource - via London and Miami, of course.
Alison can't resist another spherical object - the hot-air balloon outside Paris, Las Vegas.
Catersource was another big success, with trays heading off to Canada, Mongolia, Hawaii, Brazil and Mexico.
Meanwhile, Export Manager Wendy and Marketing Manager Caroline flew down to Hotelympia, the UK's biggest catering show, at ExCel London. They had a great time at the Bunzl Lockhart stand, where the catering equipment suppljers had made a big feature of the Safetrays. Bunzl Lockhart now has its online ordering facility up and running online - visit www.lockhartcatering.co.uk to order direct.
So what next? Alison and Anna will be hitting the road, driving up and down the West Coast to find California's greatest flair bartender. Then Anna and Telina will be at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Tradeshow in Las Vegas, 12-14 March, while Alison and Wendy meet up in Miami at Cruise Shipping 2012, 12-15 March.
Follow the journey on Twitter @safetray or find us on Facebook, and look out for #safetrayontour and #ivegotthewholeworldonmytray.
Safetray Products is a product design company with unique products applicable to the hospitality industry.
Their main product is a stackable service tray – the Safetray - which does not topple over, thus preventing the cost, danger and embarrassment of toppled trays.
Voted Most Innovative Product, 2011 – Bunzl Lockhart
Start Up Britain Nationwide Winner, 2011
Brands of the Future Finalist 2010, International Marketing Festival
“Having used the Safetray, I can see that it decreases the risk of toppled drinks significantly. Safetray is an excellent example of innovation within the hospitality industry.” (Alex Cotterill, Director, Park Hyatt Sydney)
“It is important for us to give staff confidence and style in service. Using Safetrays throughout the venue means we can ensure our standard of service is consistent with each and every member of staff.” (Lucy Herlihy, General Manager, The Greene Room)
Big things are happening over the next couple of months - come along and see Safetray in action all around the globe this spring. Have a go at our competitions, such as Dare to Flair California 2012, or just pop along to say hello.
February 19th-22nd – Gulfood – Dubai – Scottish Development International booth
February 26th-29th – Catersource – Las Vegas – Booth no. 2830
February 26th-March 1st – Hotelympia – London – Stand no. N 2329 with Schönwald
March 12th-14th – Nightclub & Bar Show – Las Vegas– Booth no. 1363
March 12th-15th – Cruise Shipping – Miami – Space no. 1997
Follow us on Twitter @safetray and look out for #safetrayontour
A campaign, launched by the UK Government and supported by Start-Up Britain, to encourage people with the twinkle of an idea in their eye to start a business decided to use Safetray as one of a select few case studies to front the project. Here's the video that was shot in London after a fairly early start for our CEO Alison Grieve. Read the full interview by clicking on the link below.
"I remember the moment when I was thinking about accidents involving trays toppling over, and when I came up with the invention of Safetray, I literally leapt out of my chair, and I knew that I had to commercialise that invention.
When I first started, I had some savings from a previous business, but I didn't have a lot of money as an entrepreneur. So, rather than pay for services, I gave away a share of equity in return for services from a product design consultancy. That really helped to boost the business at a critical early stage, and get us moving forward really quickly. Laterly I just closed an investment round, so I sold a share of equity in return for funds, and that is going to help us grow the business exponentially over the next three years.
Well now, my boss is my customer, my clients, and to a certain extent the staff that I'm taking on and the other board members. They're my bosses, and I think that's the best way to look at your own business. It's always good to be serving someone.
There's so much freedom in having your own business, and an incredible amount of pride that comes from having started something from nothing and then taking it to be a global product, and from being able to employ people, and all the wonderful feelings of satisfaction that brings.
I would say that the most important thing to remember in business is belief in what you're trying to do and never lose sight of that. If you're really determined to do something, then there's always a way. Even at times when everything seems disasterous and there are problems with production if it's a product, or major problems with customers if it's a service, everybody goes through those really dark times in business, that's just part of it, but it's to keep that belief and to keep finding solutions to problems, and you'll always find a way.
I'm already exporting Safetray, we sell to companies in America, in Canada, in United Arab Emirates, and we have plans to go all over the world because it is a truly global product. It is tricky, export, you have to be aware of a lot of different legal systems, you have to be aware of the importance of logistics, because what you don't want is for your customers to have a bad experience in whatever market you're going to commercialise.
However, the belief that export is more risky than just sticking to your own domestic market is not true, in my experience. I would say that it's been less risky for my business. The decision to split our stock and send half of it to America was perhaps the best decision I ever made for the business.
I would say to anyone thinking about export, certainly research, as you would do your own domestic market, but don't be scared. It really is possible, and there's a lot of support available in the UK, offered by the government, to help you export."
Busy bars and restaurants will be familiar with the dangers that waiters and waitresses can face when trying to negotiate a crowded space with a fully laden drinks tray. Now Caterstyle can offer a new product that can help with this problem; the Safetray.
Designed with a discreet, retractable clip on its underside the Safetray provides a safer way to carry drinks and food. Safetray can be held in just one hand, with the fingers inserted through the clip, leaving one hand free and providing the user with greater stability and control.
Richard Hogg, Managing Director of Caterstyle, said, “We are bringing Safetray to the market because we believe it will offer a very real benefit to caterers. Accidents cost the industry tens of thousands of pounds in breakages and wastage every year and this product can help to reduce that and save our customers money”
Safetray is designed for convenience and ease of use. With a standard 14 inch diameter it can be easily stacked for storage and can be cleaned in a commercial dishwasher. It comes in a stylish black finish with a non-slip, easy wipe, rubber surface for extra security and a polypropylene base, which is strengthened with ridges for added rigidity. It has a thumb indicator on the edge of the top surface to enable quick access to the clip on the underside and the retracting support clips can easily be removed and replaced.
“Since its creation in 2009, the Safetray has been enthusiastically welcomed by the hospitality industry around the world,” Richard added, “and we are delighted that it is now available through Caterstyle.”
To find out more call 01608 682506 or visit the website.
Not content with her interview on BBC Radio Four's PM programme earlier on today, our CEO Alison Grieve trundled on down to the TV studios to get herself on first name terms with the Shadow Business Secretary. Ooh!
Jon Sopel: There's mixed news tonight for thousands of British companies and the millions of people who work for them. New figures show that while UK banks are ahead of schedule for overall lending to business, they've fallen a billion pounds short of their target for small- and medium-sized firms under an agreement with the Treasury, called Project Merlin. Alison Grieve runs a business in Scotland called Safetray, and struggled to get her bank to lend her company money when she first approached them earlier this year. She joins us now from our studio in Edinburgh.
JS: Thanks very much for joining us. So, how is your business going?
Alison Grieve: Well, our business is going very well now. We were able to get a small overdraft from the bank, and even just a small amount did go an exceptionally long way in supporting our exports. We were able to go to a trade show in Chicago, and at that show we made substantial sales, which then allowed us to ship the machine that makes our product back from where we were manufacturing in the Far East. We set up manufacturing in the UK, which is great for the economy here.
JS: Do you thank Project Merlin for that, or is it just good relations with your local bank manager?
AG: I think that Project Merlin has gone some way to put pressure on the banks to lend to small- and medium-sized businesses; there's still a lot more that could be done. My company is one of many that's on a high-growth pipeline and I know that very few of them have managed to receive any bank funding whatsoever. Actually, our company decided to go down the angel investor route, selling a share of our company in return for funds.
JS: What more would you like to see being done now, if you could wave a magic wand?
AG: I think it's about the banks recognising the different types of start-up businesses. There are some that are very much lifestyle businesses, and could have steady growth along a long period of time. But there are others, like a Facebook, for instance, which was an exceptionally high-growth company and one of the most resounding success stories of the last 100 years, commercially-speaking. They wouldn't have received funding at an early stage, because of the way banks value early-stage companies, as opposed to the way an investment angel would.
JS: Alison Grieve, very good to talk to you, thank you for being with us on BBC News. Let's speak now to the Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, who is in our Westminster studio. A very good evening to you, thanks for being with us. I know if you could wave a magic wand, you'd change the government and you'd be in power yourself, but short of that, what do you think the government could, should be doing?
Chukka Umunna: Well, it's interesting hearing Alison speaking there, and I'm pleased that at least her business is doing well, that's fantastic news. There is a problem, though, with the way the finance sector is serving business today. I think part of the reason that we're not getting money out of the door to SME's in particular in this country, is that one of the things that's holding them back from going and approaching banks for finance is the economic outlook. Vince Cable, when he took over the department I shadow, the Business department, said that it was supposed to be the Department for Economic Growth. The simple fact is that since he took over we haven't had enough growth in our economy, because of the too-far, too-fast deficit reduction strategy that his government is imposing. That's one part of it. The other part is actually just the general culture, Alison touched on it there, of our banking system. The banks say, "We don't lend, because there's not enough demand." But at the same time we see people running small businesses using their own personal finance, credit cards or overdrafts to finance their businesses, which to me would demonstrate that there is a demand there. But there's a problem, A. with the money getting out of the door, and B. with the actual culture - does a bank have a local relationship manager, does it actually bother to get to know the business, or does it put the business on the phone to somebody in some remote location who doesn't really understand the context of the business?
JS: But Alison was also saying there that the banks had helped and it was largely thanks to Project Merlin.
CU: Well, no, she didn't say that it was largely thanks to Project Merlin.
JS: She was very supportive of it. She said it had helped.
CU: No, Jon, you're slightly misinterpreting her words there, because she said she thinks it has helped put some pressure on the banks. The point is it hasn't put enough pressure. We've got stakes in two of the largest banks, and the government needs to use its influence, through UK Financial Investments, which holds and runs our stakes in those banks, to make sure they get the money out of the door. But as I said, the other part of the equation is to get growth back into the economy, get demand back into the economy, to give companies and businesses the confidence to go out and get finance to expand. The problem is that they just don't have that confidence at the moment.
Diary of a start-up - Safetray makes its Festival debut
By Alison Grieve on Aug 27, 10 10:27 AM in Diary of a Start Up
My nails dramatically decreased in size during the month of July. I nervously nibbled as I awaited the first production units arriving from China, desperate for Safetray to play its own part in the largest arts festival in the world - a showcase in front of an international audience within my beloved hometown during Edinburgh's multiple festivals.
Leading up to the arrival I had been fed worrying snippets of information regarding the progress with the mould tool. The initial photographs were kept from me - Fearsomengine quite rightly deciding that a snapshot image of a mangled piece of plastic might be more upsetting than informative - and so it was a relief indeed to finally see (a fortnight ago) a physical embodiment of the Safetray looking actually rather handsome.
And so it was, at a stall in the glorious sunshine at Edinburgh's Foodies Festival in Holyrood Park, the very first Safetrays - hot off our production tool - were let loose on the general public; and what a reaction we received.
The most common reaction from people was the suggestion that we should go on Dragons' Den; the second was one of surprise that nobody had ever thought of it before.
A new reaction - limited to a handful of people, exclusively Scottish - was that Safetray is 'cheating'. A remnant of our Calvinist past, I imagine: if it makes our lives easier, it must be immoral. Curiously, I quite liked that perspective. Maybe it's the Calvinist Scot in me welcoming criticism.
The majority were overwhelmingly supportive and excited by the concept - especially those who were hospitality professionals. Our pre-order book was bulging by the end of the weekend, filled with trade buyers and consumers alike. With a few amendments to be made and our first substantial volume of the Safetrays only arriving in October, I was just sorry that we were not able to sell them on the spot.
An added bonus to Foodies was the amount of people who entered our competition: 'Should have used a Safetray'. The task? To be filmed recounting a tale of an accident involving a toppled tray. The prize for the most spectacular story was a bottle of Pol Roger Champagne, the winner of which is to be announced when we launch our retailing website with video-embeds via YouTube.
Over thirty people told us their stories. There were stories of A-list celebrities with food in their laps; a girl so fresh from a coffee spill accident that she was still wearing the bandages; red wine over a white shirt at a restaurant opening and an accident involving a customer being set alight with a toppled tray of flaming Sambucas. Yowzers.
We chose The Famous Spiegeltent to be the first venue to use the Safetrays in situ. One of only handful of its kind left in the world, this stunningly beautiful mirrored tent seemed a fantastic launch pad for our trays. Amidst acrobats hanging from ropes, strong men flinging scantily-clad ladies, jazz chanteuses singing their delicate standards and magicians turning doves into ducks, the Safetray made its own seemingly gravity-defying debut.
Glasshouse Events, who this year manage the bars in the Spiegel Garden, also work on the Golf Open, the Six Nations Rugby and The Grand National. It's exciting to think of the all events at which the trusty Safetray might be acting as a silent partner in service in the not too distant future.
Our final involvement in what has been a fantastic Edinburgh Festival for us was as finalists in the International Marketing Festival's Brands of the Future competition which took place at the Assembly @ Assembly Hall on the Mound.
I had felt slightly guilty asking friends and family along to what I thought would be a tedious morning of dry business presentations filled with cashflow sheets and buzz words from a bunch of poker-faced suits - not exactly a typical Fringe experience. It was, however, unexpectedly entertaining.
I found myself feeling utterly humbled onstage beside some truly inspirational Scottish businesses: the brilliant language website for children, GrowStoryGrow; fabulous tea house, Loopy Lorna's; parental godsend, Labels4Kids; the super-sexy bikers dream, Dakota Motorcycles; and, ultimate winners, the stylishly ethical Blue Marmalade.
Hosted by the personable and effortlessly funny Simon Fanshawe, the panel of judges included Bill Jamieson, Executive Editor of The Scotsman, and Graham Birse, deputy chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
It's easy to forget, when working so much of the time on my own, speaking to Fearsomengine mainly by phone, trying to fit more tasks into a day than I ever felt possible, that there are other ambitious (AKA completely stark raving bonkers) business men and women out there taking similar risks, becoming familiar with the same small hours and writing their own updated business plan and forecast for the forty billionth time.
And it's also easy to forget, in the middle of a festival famous for celebrating creative talent from all over the world, that we've got no small amount of talent and spirit right here on our very own doorstep.
On 8th July 2011 the final of a competition organised by the Marketing Agencies Association took place at the Hospital Club in London as part of the Start Up Britain campaign. Six finalists battled it out to win an outstanding prize - a year of free marketing support from Iris, the top agency in the UK.
Guess what happened...
SAFETRAY PRODUCTS WON!
Watch the summary video here.