It’s so fantastic to see new products come to fruition 😊
I’ve been helping Rosie (+ Winnie, her miniature Dachshund ) to create this innovative new dog car seat – and it has just launched!
Rosie joined my coaching programme with an idea to create a seat that Winnie could travel in with comfort and style.
She spotted that there was a gap in the market for a luxurious and safe dog car seat, and wanted to manufacture it locally to make it more sustainable.
We helped Rosie to source materials and trims and get her tech pack together. I then introduced her to a couple of UK manufacturers to make a sample, and take the seat through to production.
Like many other small brands in the UK, Rosie struggled to find and get responses from manufacturers to make her product. She was already working with a seamstress to make her sample, but in order to finalise her product, she needed to find a manufacturer.
Tell me about what stage you were at when we first started working together?
I had come up with an idea that I wanted to make a dog car seat that was made in the UK. I hadn’t got very far.
I did have a prototype made, just by a seamstress not by a factory or anything. And I had sort of started with a tech pack but was quite unsure of what needed to be in it.
I tried to connect with a few manufacturers and I just got no response at all. I was feeling a bit stuck with lots of dead-ends.
As a one-woman business and not having any prior manufacturing experience, Rosie joined our coaching programme to receive guidance and support through her journey.
We worked with her to refine her product ideas and ensure that her costs were fitting into her target retail price.
What have you found most useful about being in our coaching programme?
Well, a couple of things, firstly, just kind of general guidance on, on how things work. I’ve never, worked in manufacturing.
So didn’t really know what a lot of the jargon meant or how to approach factories or anything like that. So I think that was really helpful.
And then secondly, just the direct introductions, I think it’s just a complete game-changer. I think partly manufacturers take me more seriously if I’ve come via you, but also it’s just going to the right person straight away rather than kind of just stabbing in the dark and guessing who to go to.
Also things like doing customer personas, and working on all of the costings and actually looking at the materials I’m going to need and working out all of that stuff. It’s been completely invaluable. I’m not sure I’d have been able to put in an order if I hadn’t done all of that work behind the scenes first.
The coaching programme is a hybrid of 1-2-1 time, as well as group coaching sessions. Business owners in the programme range from founders like Rosie about to launch their first product, to established businesses that are looking for help and guidance to grow.
Every business we work with is passionate about manufacturing in the UK.
How have you found working with other like-minded small businesses in the programme?
It’s definitely helpful having people at all different stages because particularly for me, right at the beginning, I can ask kind of any old question and lots of people have probably experienced that already, or have done in the past, and can then give their take on things.
It was really nice sharing with everyone that I’d put my first order and then getting a really nice response from everyone. So yeah, it’s been really helpful.
Being able to ask so many questions and being able to cover so many topics from all aspects of starting a business and going into manufacturing, it’s been super helpful.
Particularly the one-to-one time with you guys. I’m always amazed at how much you reply to things like out of hours!
Rosie placed her first order with a UK manufacturer to produce a small quantity of her innovative dog car seat and the Where’s Winnie car seat is now available to buy.
But you’ll have to be quick if you want one of the first ones as they’re selling fast!
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Hello, I'm Kate Hills
I’ve been passionate about UK manufacturing ever since I had my own recycled clothing company and micro-factory in the early '90s! After 20 years as a designer and buyer developing products all over the world, I launched Make it British to support creative small businesses that want to make sustainably and locally.
Over the last ten years, I've helped 1,000s of businesses to work with UK manufacturers. Now it's your turn!