Monthly Archives: January 2014

YEARLY EVENTS 2014 – MONTH BY MONTH RUNDOWN

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6th January

4TH DESIGN CONCEPT

 

For the first time ever, I felt despondent about the product! New Year 2014! Great!…..not!

Just had the 1st attempt of what the Giraffe should look like! OMG…….FRANKENSTEIN WAS BETTER LOOKING!!!!! I would say crying was at the top of my list quickly followed by burn him at the stake! I’ve had to put together a fools guide to what the Giraffe should look like! Cute, fluffy, soft and adorable. Words repeated from the original brief, I’ve also drawn my attempt of what he should look like. Starting to loose the will to live! We’ve got a meeting to discuss unit costs as well as choosing the material for the giraffe.

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While having a few drinks over the festive period, I actually called the giraffe Gerry. From this point on, he shall be named Gerry the Giraffe! Bless him, it’s only taken nearly 2 years to name him. Good job I don’t have to go down to the registry office! I’d be shot for taking so long!

I’ve explained / told the designers, in a kind enough way, the Giraffe looks poop! Start again. I’ve got to wait another 3 weeks before I get the 1st prototype of gerry. I hope 2nd time round is better. The packaging is looking ok, I’ve chosen a design and this will be developed for the next Skype call. I know I’m repeating myself but when you’re at the mercy of other people to produce the goods and the time scales / schedule fall behind it drives me mad! I’ll be glad when it’s just IBP & the Bounceroo

We discussed how many batteries we should use for the product and I’ve been told it’s got to be 8? I’m not sure about this but they are the product designers. As a parent I am questioning this? I’ll have to keep an eye on this for the future, note to self! Lol…. It’s like having my own minutes in a diary / blog.

 

 

3rd February

CONTACT LINCOLN UNI & WAITING AGAIN

 

Yep, you’ve guessed it, I’m still waiting for the prototype! I’m starting to get really frustrated about this whole process now. It’s one thing after the other, I wish the truth would come out, I feel that things are being kept a secret? DEVA VU!………

There’s not much I can do until we have the prototype. I’ve got all the contact names for the retail stores. I need to get Gerry in front of the buyers and get their honest view of him. A lot has changed since Nov 2012! Where did those 2 years go?

I’ve seen the 2nd attempt of Gerry and he’s looking a lot better, he’s starting to get that cute look! I’ve made some modifications to fine tune the overall look.

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When I was at Uni, I was given an opportunity to design for a real project, I think it’ll be great idea to approach my local Uni to see if I can get any students so help film gerry / prototype in a short video?

Just had a reply from the Uni and I’ve got a contact for the media course, they’re happy to help. Watch this space!

 

 

3rd March

MODIFICATION TO GERRY

 

Yep, you’ve guessed it, we’re still waiting for the prototype! I’m starting to get really frustrated about this whole process now. It’s one thing after the other, I wish the truth would come out, I feel that things are being kept a secret? DÉJÀ VU!!!!!!!

The prototype is being made or so we have been told. The biggest issue is communication or the lack of it? I feel like I’m head butting a brick wall!

Make sure that you keep the communication flowing, meetings, minutes and emails. Keep all correspondence, we had an issue this week saying that a change we asked for was never agreed. Luckily within the minutes and emails I kept, there it was, that put an end to that! I feel things are going to explode soon, it’s in the air?

We’ve been given a date for the prototype, 2nd week of April, watch this space.

 

 

7th April

PROTOTYPE DELIVERED TO THE UK

 

HOLD THE PRESS!!!! Gerry has arrived and we can now look at meeting some of the retailers. To start with I need to organise a few focus groups over the coming month. The packaging isn’t what I was expecting, printed out A3 sheets isn’t a great solution but it shows people what we’re going to do.

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The design has slightly changed from the initial patent that we applied for back in 2012. We’ve got to get some quotes for another patent application. We think we’ll use the designers patent company as they can deal direct. My business partner is going to meet with them, a trip to London! I’m going to meet with another patent company in Nottingham.

Both patent companies were really good but we’re sticking with the company who work with the design company, should make it easier to control? I’d prefer to use a more local firm but we’ll see how we get on?

I’ve Set up several focus groups next month, I finally get to see what parents think of GERRY?

 

 

5th May

FOCUS GROUPS

 

We’ve had over 10 focus groups with approx. 5-6 people at each session and the feedback has been over whelming. They could see Gerry working and doing his job. The nibbles and drink helped matters. The things we do for Gerry! We had some construction comments, good ideas about price points and suggestions about future products. Gerry’s look has hit the mark and his cute cuddly feel won’t be changed. Gerry was very happy at how the focus groups went.  Spending most of his time being clutched to mummy’s bosoms and being stroked.  It a hard life for plush giraffes!!!

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The main reason for the groups was get feedback and know how if we could improve The Bounceroo but also see what the parents finally thought about the product. The feedback was very positive and we appreciated all the comments that we received. Numerous topics were discussed, how to be in 2 places at once, sleep deprivation, coping with more than one baby, managing a house hold and even just nipping to the loo. During the focus groups we found that one reoccurring comment kept cropping up was time, just having that extra 30 mins in a day would help parents no end. This time frame guided us along the path of length of time to use the Bounceroo. As mentioned in the focus groups, we made it clear that it is still your parental responsibility to look after your baby but if using The Bounceroo it can give you some freedom during the day to help others, collect thoughts, have a power nap, he’s done his job. What are your thoughts on sleep deprivation?

 

 

2nd June

FAILURE AND RETAIL MEETINGS

 

The prototype has completely broken, nothing works and we have a major failure! I know prototypes are there to find flaws but the motor within the unit has stopped working? We’re meant to be having retail meetings within the next few weeks? Gerry has gone back to the designers to get fixed? Another frustration to add to the list!

We have Gerry back but he doesn’t seem right? I can’t put my finger on it but he’s noisier than he was when we first got him? I don’t think Gerry feels very well! Lol

Just been told that we’ve got a completely different motor in the unit? Doesn’t help with the sales pitch but when we’re with the retailers it’s the overall view of the product. I know we can sort the motor, that’s why you have prototypes made, find their weakness and fix it!

Just had confirmation that we’ve got 5 meetings set up next month with all the major retailers in the UK! Thanks to Linked In!

I’ve just bought Gerry his own private carry case, he might as well travel in some style! He deserves it.

We’ve requested all the information from the designers, CAD, spec, costings, ready for our meetings next month. This is the normal, hand over pack you should get when the job is complete. You’ve guessed it, we’re not getting the info sent? We’ll have to make do with what we’ve got.

 

 

7th July

RETAILERS

 

Gerry’s carry case turned up this week and he’ll be travelling in luxury! Maybe I should put some windows in it so he can see where he’s going?

I’ve got 5 meetings to attend over the next few weeks, I’m starting to get nervous and this is the first time I’ll get the honest opinion of the retailers.

Still no information from the designers! FRUSTRATING & WASTING TIME!!!!!

WHOOP WHOOP!!!! I’ve got a big smile on my face. The meetings went really well, so positive! We’ve taken on board constructive comments and feedback on RRP. This journey is taking shape but as a business we’ve got to look at how the design is being handled and the communication isn’t working. We have information missing, I think we need to change designers. I’m taking some time out to collect my thoughts as we need to make the right decision. The project is 6 months over due and I need to get this back on track!

 

 

4th August

NEW DESIGN – PROJECT MANAGER

 

While on my break, I had an enquiry from a project manger, Jessica Cornwell / Lentune Manufacturing ( www.lentunemanfacturing.co.uk ) on Linked In and she takes products to market. I’ve sent a message, I’ll see what response I get. I have my fingers crossed! I believe in fate and things happen for a reason!

Just had a phone call from the PM ( Jessica Cornwell ) and I’ve sent over all the information that I was given from the designers to see if I do have everything to complete Gerry. I’m waiting to hear back, I hope it’s good news as I’ve already spent the money to get this info!

CRAP!!! I have quite a bit of info missing from the hand over package! Jessica has been kind enough ( at no cost ) to list everything that’s missing. She even had her colleague ( Nick Smith – www.pettechnologystore.com ) check over the contents and detail what the cost will be to replace this info! I’ve written to the designers to request this info?

I’ve had no response so I’ve taken it onto ourselves to instruct Jessica to work for IBP. She’s also given me the heads up about MAS funding which will help pay towards her fees! To date I’ve had 3 sets of minutes and she’s not been paid a penny! THIS IS HOW YOU RUN A PROJECT / BUSINESS!!!!!!

It’s only been 1 week and the communication skills and content in minutes is astounding! I’m still in shock that for so long I had put up with such a terrible service? I HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT OUR NEW PM!!!!

Note to self, make sure you request minutes and keep those communication lines open!

I’ve sent the existing prototype to Jessica to check out any concerns about the construction and internal working, electronics and build, this will be interesting.

 

 

1st September

NEW PROTOTYPE & ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

 

I had a 2 hour meeting with Jessica and Nick the electrical engineer and listed everything needed for Gerry and what’s required at the end of the process. A working prototype, packaging, costs and hand over pack.

I was saddened after the meeting, Jessica & Nick showed me the internals of the prototype and the construction quality? It was shocking! Someone on a GCSE course could of done better. Tape holding wires, glue sticking plastic together, terrible. This was constructed by a company that have several baby products to their name,  my wife has even bought some of the products they designed.  If one of the retailers decided to ask to see the internal working of the prototype, we could of looked like complete idiots! I feel let down. Jessica has been working with baby products for over 10 years and she had confirmed that the quality of the construction was one of the worst she had ever seen! Not what I wanted to hear.

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From this point on though she assured me that the quality of work produced will be 2nd to none! I just hope she is right. I must say, so far she has pulled out all the stops and gets 10 out of 10 from me!

It’s the end of the month and we have completed the full check list for the electrics, design of Gerry, the plastics. Packaging. The costing’s are out for tender and now it’s waiting for the manufacturers to come back with a list of components. Jessica has also sent over a schedule to work to, this includes tooling time and manufacturing, to delivery in the UK. Very slick indeed!

I’ve now been in touch with Lincoln Uni and I’m having a meeting to discuss how they can help.

 

 

6th October

WEBSITE & DESIGN MODIFICATIONS

 

The meeting with Lincoln Uni went really well and they have a group of lads who will be just right for the job. I’m meeting them later in the month to discuss what I’m looking for. It’ll be better than anything I could do.

I’ve also instructed Web creation to start putting some ideas together, now we’ve got some time to kill, I might as well take some time to get the website sorted. One thing I learnt from the logo’s, take some time and make sure you get a good job!

Jessica has changed the motor in the unit, the DB level is much quieter but we’re still thinking that the way forward is a brushless motor. The motor has to be right and we’ve all said we need to keep an eye on this to make sure it’s correct. Everything else is falling into place. Nick has even improved on the unit. The batteries that I mentioned all those months / years ago, his words are RUBBISH! The unit has now been reduced to 4 x D type batteries! Much better and sounds so much better than 8 x C!….Nick doesn’t know why these were spec’d in the first place. The control panel has been modified to utilise less LED’s, this has reduced the cost, we’ve gone from 24 LED’S down to 6, big saving! The functionality has been improved 10 fold, Nick’s even written in additional code, battery indicator and auto weight cut off safety feature! Why I didn’t have this in the first place! Astounding. The look of the control panel has been changed again, I was told that it would cost too much to have a colour background? This reasoning has come back as ridiculous, I now have a full colour panel with soft buttons and company logo. This then lead me to ask a question about the packaging? I was also told that I would have to have monochrome due to the cost ( originally told $3 ). This has now come back to $0.75 for full colour. In turn we have aged to reduce the unit cost but also gain more features! Brilliant! It’s still going to be a long slog as I’ll have to refine so many details along the way! It’s just a waiting game now to get all of the info together, so much to do in such a short time but Jessica has told me that she’ll do it. I must admit I have every faith in her.

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I’ve just spoken to the MAS contact and I’ve started the ball rolling to recoup half of Jessica’s fee through a grant. I’d recommend this to anyone. Contact your local MAS contact and see if they can help you?

 

 

3rd November

PATENT & WEBSITE DESIGN

 

Having a chat with our new patent attorney, yep that’s right, we’re using the firm from Nottingham! Close to home! Instructing them to start the patent but know it’s going to be quite a few months before it’s lodged but it’s better to take your time and make sure it’s right.

I’ll also be starting on the website, making sure I’ve got all the content covered, contents page, product page, terms and conditions. I’ve also got to start the instructions for how to work the Bounceroo, never done this before either but Im sure with some help from friends and family I’ll get there!

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It’s a waiting game for Gerry at the moment, it’s a good job I’m patient! Lol We changed the structure of Gerry’s neck at last minute, he’ll now has the ability to stay upright. I’m getting weekly updates and minutes sent over from Jessica. It’s so nice to be kept updated on the progress of Gerry and his journey over in China.

I’m so glad that I had that message sent to me on linked In, Jessica is doing a fantastic job and making my life so much easier!

Still learning about twitter but I think I’m slowly getting there! This month is mainly paper work, preparing for next year.

 

 

1st December

MODIFICATION TO THE BOUNCEROO

 

It’s been a quiet month really, Christmas just around the corner, happy that I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve just been told that Gerry will be sent in the next few weeks and I’ll have him for the New year. Costings have come in and we’re still on track, of course with any project we can make the costs cheaper.

I’ll be closing down early and spending time with the family. Meeting with some retailers in the New Year. It’s always good to remind them that you are there!

We’ve made some changes to the main structure of the product, never be happy with that’ll do, always look at the project and question, is that the best. You always have to work to your budgets but think about the bigger picture. I know I can’t make everyone happy but if I can make the majority smile and help them as a parent, then I’ve achieved one of my goals.

I’ve been working on the website with the designer, changing the logo, images and moving text around. Very important that potential customers can move around the website with ease and not get lost. I think it’s very important that “contact us “ is easy to find.

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