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Case Study

Steve Broadfoot

Founder, LugPlugs

Wed, 20 November 2013

Steve unfortunately passed away after a period of illness in summer 2014. He was very popular with the team at SIE and we were saddened by the news. His family have given us permission to continue to share his story to help inspire others to start their own businesses.

Steve Broadfoot graduated from The University of Glasgow with an MSc in City Planning and Real Estate Development. Steve previously worked in the music industry for over 20 years as a tour manager for international bands and venues. It was during this time spent in the music industry that inspired him to create his product. Steve became the owner of LugPlugs; a hearing protection system for people in loud noise environments.


How LugPlugs got started

Steve worked for many years as a tour manager so was required to attend loud gigs on a regular basis. He needed ear plugs often but found they were easy to lose so musicians and gig staff didn’t often wear them. Steve wanted to solve this as the danger of hearing problems became more evident in the music industry.


“You need to recognise a problem that needs solving, find a solution and see if there is demand for it.”Steve Broadfoot


Steve began to develop LugPlugs, a convenient design that allowed users to attach ear plugs to a lanyard and therefore have access to them at any time without the risk of losing them. The lanyard can also be branded and can be worn on your wrist or around your neck.


What happened next?

Steve realised that people in the industry were interested in his idea and were willing to pay for his product. He then recognised he had a viable business.

Steve began talking to people about what he wanted to do and was pointed to the enterprise office in The University of Glasgow. They helped Steve to get in touch with an SIE advisor who began to talk him through what he needed to do such as secure patent protection. His advisor also directed him to other organisations that could help him get LugPlugs off the ground. Once Steve graduated, he began to work on LugPlugs full time. In 2012 he was invited to take part in BBC’s ‘The Entrepreneurs’ documentary.


“The greatest benefit of having my own business is that no one tells you what to do, I’m my own boss. I would strongly recommend it if you want to voice your own opinions.”Steve Broadfoot


What’s next for LugPlugs?

Steve is currently finalising the patent for LugPlugs. They are now available for purchase on Amazon. Steve is also using his network of resellers to promote LugPlugs to international bands. He has secured production in Paisley and continues to work on growing awareness and sales.


“There is no average work day for an entrepreneur. I’m still not entirely comfortable saying that word but I’m getting used to it.”Steve Broadfoot


Steve has combined his passion for music with a great business idea and would encourage people to find out if there is a place for their idea.


“A lot of people have ideas; the difference is doing something about it and actually going and seeing if there is a demand for something. It’s all about engaging with the real world and finding out if there is a demand you can satisfy.”Steve Broadfoot