New article on www.ifw-net.com includes Safetray

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."

Posted on April 26, 2012 .

Safetray on Tour part 2

Remember this?

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Safetray is heading back to Chicago, this time to attend the National Restaurant Association Show 2012 from the 5th-8th May. We will be sharing a booth with those purveyors of sharp design, our friends Freud Ltd, so come along and see both teams on booth 3289 at McCormick Place. Follow us on Twitter @safetray and look out for hashtags #safetrayontour and #ivegotthewholeworldonmytray, or find us on Facebook and let us know your top tips for nights out in Chi-town -- naturally, we'll be working hard and playing hard.

Read more about our very cool booth partners below.

"Established by the Freud family in 1986, London design house Freud Ltd seeks to bring beauty and authenticity to coffee and tea service, glassware, and tabletop. The coffee and tea and glassware products featured are British design classics – all hand finished from durable, traditional, responsibly sourced materials - adapted for use in commercial settings. Durable and functionally flawless, they are also design objects which bring style and sophistication to table service. That's why (for instance) C. Hoare & Co, Britain's oldest private bank, serve tea to the their elite clients in Freud teapots. It's why the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hong Kong uses Freud cafetieres. And it's why top tea houses, coffee bars, and Michelin star restaurants across Europe now use Freud products. To quote Blueprint magazine in 1986, the year we were founded, our products are 'affordable icons.'"

Posted on April 24, 2012 .

Safetray featured by Santander

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CEO Alison talks money in this recent interview. Click here for more.

“I’ve earned the right to be here,” she adds. “The best way to argue against prejudice is through success. You can’t be prejudiced against hard sales figures and rising revenue.”

Alison believes that success brings recognition, but it also requires tenacity. “When you are trying to achieve a game-changer there will always be more people who oppose you than support you, whether you are male, female, 50 or 20. It’s the same for anyone who wants to achieve anything out of the ordinary.

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Tell 'em how it is, Ali.

Posted on April 19, 2012 .

Update: Safetray on Tour

Anna demonstrates that we've got the whole world on our tray.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Posted on March 1, 2012 .

Safetray profiled by Scottish Development International

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)

From www.sdi.co.uk

Posted on February 17, 2012 .

Safetray on Tour

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

Posted on February 13, 2012 .

Safetray offers $500 prize for top California bar

Safetray is inviting California's top bars to go head to head in a competition to find the state's greatest cocktail flairer. Safetray will be cruising the coast from San Fransisco to LA, visiting the coolest bars and asking them to incorporate one of our Safetrays into a flair routine. Videos will be uploaded on to Youtube and the bar that gets the most hits will be the winner, picking up not only the kudos of the title, Dare to Flair Champion California 2012, but also a $500 prize.

So what are we looking for? Flairtender Erdem has the moves:

If you would like to be involved, contact us on info@safetrayproducts.com and tell us more about yourself. You can also follow along with the journey on Twitter @safetray and look out for #safetrayontour and #daretoflair

Posted on February 13, 2012 .

Safetray featured by Business Gateway

Click on the link below to read the full story.

"Safetray was invented as a consequence of a spectacular accident involving a tray-load of champagne falling over at an important event, causing glass and champagne to go everywhere, which was costly, and dangerous, and embarrassing.

Because of that disaster, a wonderful thing was born, which was Safetray, a tray that doesn't topple over regardless of what is put on the surface.

Over half of our business is predicted to be in the States. We've already sold all over the USA, from Alaska to Puerto Rico, from San Fransisco to New York, and on to Canada. We've sold into the United Arab Emirates, so we've had a lot of success because it really is a global product.

I spoke to an adviser at Business Gateway at the very beginning of the process. He put us on to the high growth pipeline; access to finance was one way that they helped us. Also, in giving us tools that are absolutely essential in growing a business, such as templates for building business plans, tools for effective forecasting and additionally being a friendly and proactive support on the end of the telephone.

It's extremely important that you keep in communication with Business Gateway. Think of them as you would do any supplier, or any customer, because it is a relationship, and you've got to build that relationship. Don't expect them to do everything for you, because that's not their job. Their job is to inform you when you ask for help, so keep asking for help because it is available, and there are incredible resources there to tap into."

Posted on February 12, 2012 .

Safetray used in UK Government campaign

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."

Posted on January 31, 2012 .

Safetray profiled on Sugarvine

From www.sugarvinetrade.com

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.

Posted on January 29, 2012 .

Safetray interviewed live on BBC News 24

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.

Posted on November 14, 2011 .

Diary of a Start-Up: Safetray Makes its Festival Debut

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.

 

Posted on August 27, 2011 .

Six things we can learn from a winner

Founder of Enterprise Nation and co-founder of StartUp Britain, Emma Jones writes about Safetray winning the Marketing 4 StartUp Britain award:

6 things we can learn from a winner

At last week’s Marketing 4 StartUp Britain Week, there was a competition for one small business to win a marketing agency for 12 months. Alison Grieve of Safetray was the worthy winner and there are six things I believe we can learn from her approach and excellent presentation.

Pitch perfect

Six companies were shortlisted by the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) and asked to present their pitch at the finale event of Marketing 4 Start Up Britain week. The six finalists were:
Buggytug
Rocktails
Syndicate Room
Follow the flag
Armadillo Merino
Safetray

They all presented very well and have great stories to tell but in the words of the MAA Chair, Ian Millner, ‘there can only be one winner’ and that winner was Alison Grieve of Safetray. The prize was well deserved and Alison’s story gives important pointers for all start ups:Gap in the market – Alison was working as an event manager when she witnessed a tray of champagne being spilled over delegates and costing venue management. Having been a waitress herself, she thought there must be a better way to hold and carry trays to avoid spillage. The idea was sparked and Alison started her journey to invent Safetray; a clever and simple invention that, as the company tagline says means you can have a tipple without topple! It’s worth watching the video here to see the tray in action.

Research, research, research – having spotted a gap in the market, Alison went on a research escapade. She researched other products, the hospitality industry and several versions of her own prototype. She continues to research her market today and is considering an expansion of the business by licensing her invention, as well as producing the end result.

Secure expertise – Alison knew she needed help to design the product and source a manufacturer so early on she elected to offer equity in the business to a company specialising in product design and development – this partnership continues to prosper.

Protect your idea – working with product specialists, Alison has secured worldwide protection for her invention in the form of patents and trademarks.

Be true to your vision – in hearing Alison present, you soon realise she is passionate about manufacturing in the UK. ‘As someone who has worked in the services industry’, Alison said, ‘I’m concerned we don’t manufacture much in the UK any more. I want to be able to manufacture the safetray here and offer jobs to people in the UK.’ As she said it, I couldn’t help believing that one day she will achieve this.

Be ambitious – This young business owner may wish for manufacturing in the UK but she also has sights set on expanding her company rapidly overseas. Indeed, this is why Alison entered the competition as she is particularly looking for help from a marketing agency to help her expand the brand and enter international markets. In a video interview, when asked where she would like to be in 12 months time, Alison responded “everywhere!”

Stay gracious – you could not fail to be impressed with what Alison has achieved and her plans for the future. Yet in her award acceptance comments she gave credit to all other competition entrants and said how much she is looking forward to working with them as these businesses grow.

It made me think you can have great aspirations for your business whilst remaining truly gracious. What a worthy competition winner.

Best wishes to Alison and to all the competition entrants. We will be closely following your stories!

Posted on July 27, 2011 .

Safetray wins Marketing 4 Start Up Britain Competition

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.

Posted on July 25, 2011 .

Latino Luis

A firm favourite in the Safetray office, Luis Letelier-Lobos recounts his tale of skidding through a hotel restaurant and throwing a tray full of food in front of the guests at a dinner dance. If he ever decides to leave the hospitality industry we reckon he should consider a career in voice over work. LOVING his accent.

 

Posted on November 22, 2010 .

Calamity Al

One restaurant; two accidents. First Alistair Rushworth topples a tray, smashing a glass and pouring a drink all over a little girl, then he repeats the same accident over a lady, covering her with orange juice. Safetray didn't ask him if that restaurant had given him a reference but we think we can guess the answer!

Posted on November 16, 2010 .