Our University of Strathclyde Intern Steph Warne, recently caught up with Victoria Hamilton, founder of VH Innovation Ltd to find out what she has been up to since we last spoke in 2015 and learn more about what it is like being an entrepreneur!
What have you been up to since we (SIE) last spoke to you in summer 2015?
When we last spoke I was just about to place the order with our local manufacturer in Edinburgh. It took about 6-7months to actually get the moulds ready for production – there was a lot of trial and error there because one of the moulds was pretty complicated to manufacture. We finally managed to get them ready in March 2016 and I gave the OK to print off a batch of 500. We got the website updated and finally launched on the 15th of June this year. Then Toolstop, which is a Glasgow based distributor, came on board in mid-August and started retailing Recoil through their online website. We are now also on amazon and currently negotiating with a DIY chain so fingers crossed that takes off!
Having just recently launched Recoil Kneepads officially, what has changed in the day-to-day work that you do?
The biggest thing I would say is responding to customer emails -I try to reply as soon as possible. That’s what I tend to use my mornings for. Another thing as well, which is actually quite funny: McLaren Plastics is the manufacturer that did our first 500 sets but then being a start-up, I decided that I would assemble the full 500 sets myself because I didn’t properly trust anyone else. I wanted to make sure they were perfect and that I fully understood the process myself. So I got 500 sets sent to my mum and dads garage and I’ve spent a good couple of week assembling them! I do now fully understand how they are assembled and I make sure the quality of each and every one single one sent out is spot on so if something goes wrong I know it’s not down to an assembly mistake.
What has been the highlight over your past 3-year journey with Recoil Kneepads?
It’s a really difficult question to pin down to just one particular event. See when everything is so new you just think “oh wow that’s amazing!” for everything. Like when I did all the testing right back at the start I was like “oh wow that’s amazing it actually worked!”, and then seeing the moulds ready for production I was again like “wow that’s actually my product” and again getting the first sample off the tool. It’s so difficult to pin down to one moment but I’d probably say getting the first product off the mould was extremely cool.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
I love the fact that everything in the business is a direct output of you so whether your business succeeds or fails really comes down to your own determination and drive. It is hard work and not for everybody but you just have to push on and what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. So if you don’t put a lot in, you’re not going to get much out. If you put everything into it then you’ll get a fantastic amount of achievement and self -worth and it’s just a really good feeling when things work and you know it’s worked purely because of you. I did a summer placement once in a corporate firm and you wouldn’t get that same feeling if something worked well– yes it’s a good feeling but it’s not just down to you, it’s down to loads of other people, a process and people above you whereas in a start-up if something works well it’s all down to you.
Final Question, what does the future hold for VH Innovation?
The plan at the moment is to continue to increase distribution networks in the UK. Then we’re also looking into starting to sell in the US and Australia, hopefully next year!
Find Victoria’s first case study here.