Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I am George the founder of Innovations and More. We design and manufacture innovative products that help solve common problems. Our objective is to create “Essentials you never knew you needed”. Our flagship products are the UStop Pee Stopper (Patent pending) and the Cell Phone Holder (Patent pending) that fits anywhere.
As we create innovative original products, we needed to get the word out as people would not be aware of the existence of these products. To help explain our first product the UStop Pee Stopper, we got a short animation video made and we made our website which shows our products and a host of services.
We started the company in 2018, but our growth has been exponential since August/September 2019 which only dimmed briefly earlier this year but has taken off again since March 2020 with up to 50 percent increase in sales each month.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I work in a demanding job and this started as a side hustle. In 2018, I was inspired by a video of a simple everyday product idea that a company had commercialized to great success. I considered the possibility of using my design acumen.
About 10 years back, I had designed about 8 products none of which came to fruition due to high prototype and patent costs. However, in 2018, I resurrected an idea for a product, a Urine Deflector. This has now come to be known as UStop Pee Stopper. I had conceptualized this some years back from observation of a rampant problem. The problem it solves is to stop the spillage of urine through the gap under the toilet seat when one sits on the commode to relieve oneself. The product is unique in that it is a universal fit single piece product. It requires no assembly and is easily washable.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I made a simple prototype myself. Once I found that the prototype was effective, along with protecting the intellectual property, I got a few products made, I listed them on Amazon to understand the demand. I was pleasantly surprised when I got my first order without any marketing or promotion. I also found that there was a continual demand for more of the product. I also started getting orders for modifications to the product to meet specific customer needs.
We found that the cost of production of smaller numbers was expensive and that if we ordered larger quantities, our per piece costs would be much less. The only downside of this was the initial investment which required thousands of pounds.
As mentioned, we found that we would be able to make any profit only if we got the product made in larger numbers. However, this was an expensive proposition. I was convinced that I should not borrow any money but self-fund the project at least at this point. And that is what we did. This initial investment is only now just starting to get recouped, but it has meant that we can work at our leisure.
It was felt that had we decided to take out a loan we would have been under constant pressure to repay it and we would have the feeling that someone was constantly looking over our shoulder and dictating what we should be doing in the company.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Once we started manufacturing on a large scale, for a couple of months, we paid a lot to advertise our products using Google Adwords and the like and found that there was hardly any effect other than that our finances were heavily drained by advertising.
When we realized this, we completely stopped paying to advertise and shifted our focus to creating other products all the while protecting the IP for these as well. This has been our observation that for innovative products, as people do not know that such products exist, marketing can be challenging. Our sales started picking up as mentioned earlier since August/September 2019 purely by divine intervention. People have written saying they just searched for the problem and were taken straight to our product.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The demand for our initial product the UStop Pee Stopper (Patent pending) has far exceeded our expectations. We continue to develop a range of new products including, the fit anywhere Cell Phone Holder (Patent pending).
We continue to develop more and more products and these get added regularly onto our Website and various sales channels. In the last 2 years, we have designed and prototyped upwards of 15 new products. We currently have few products listed on our website but there are more in various stages of development. We also offer services including FREE Website development, (Computer-Aided Design) drawings, Professional prototypes, etc. We see our company growing well in the next few years.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
We discovered that it is possible to have an alternate source of income that can be built on and help on the journey to financial freedom. We found that one has to be very vigilant about expenses like paid advertising otherwise things could easily go out of hand leading to huge expenses especially if one does not keep a tight rein on it.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Our products are available mainly through our website where we can offer them at the most reasonable prices. They are also available on most online marketplaces.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The popular program Shark Tank has been a great source of inspiration.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
For most people, launching your own business may appear scary, but once you start you find that along with challenges, there are rewards along the way.
We are happy to provide services to help entrepreneurs and have helped entrepreneurs on their way to achieving their goals. Our services include FREE website development, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) drawings, professional prototypes, etc. The full range of our services can be found on our website.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are hiring and have a range of opportunities that are available on our website.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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