Wondering what to do with wet Marigolds? This Enterprise Nation member can help

Wondering what to do with wet Marigolds? This Enterprise Nation member can help
Helen Robbins
Helen RobbinsCharacter Lines Ltd

Posted: Fri 12th Apr 2024

Some of the best ideas are the simplest and Enterprise Nation member, Helen Robbins, has come up with one. She's the co-inventor of The Glove Poppit, a drying stand for wet washing up and gardening gloves.

The Glove Poppit has been sold in Lakeland and is now sold on Amazon and eBay across the world. It is a versatile household product and can be used to dry all sorts of items all sizes of gloves, washed bags, reusable drinking bottles and even gardening gloves.

How did you come up with the idea?

The Glove Poppit was developed in our small flat in Aberdeen. We had a tiny kitchen with very limited surface area. One day, after washing up, we got fed up with wet gloves hanging around the sink and having nowhere to store or dry them. I said to my partner: "Can you not make something to put them on?"

After discussing the idea and a few designs later, the initial version was made out of wood that we had in our storage shed.

We then used the Glove Poppit ourselves in the kitchen and gradually realised how useful it was. Our gloves had a home, they were dry on the inside when we next put them on and we could dry other things on the frame such as bottles and bags.

We made several versions and family members queued up to receive versions to try out in their homes. We then thought about making it on a more commercial scale and had one made out of acrylic. A family member also made some acrylic versions, which meant we had more to try at home but also helped us realise some of the crucial design points.

Acrylic was fine for making a small number but there was no way we could use this method to make a large number for the retail market.

We then approached a professional designer to prepare the Glove Poppit for large-scale production as a plastic version. This process involved several refinements to the design.

The Glove Poppit is a simple concept but proved a design challenge to get it just how we wanted, so that it is multi-functional for gloves, bottles and bags!

We went on to design and produce a drying plate to use with the Glove Poppit, as well as a couple of prototypes for different versions.

We now sell the Glove Poppit ourselves and have several by our sink, in the bathroom for my swimming cap and in the garden shed for our gardening gloves.

What start-up challenges did you face?

From product design to selling, we had a steep learning curve as the whole process was completely new to us. Our designer was fantastic in helping us with the design process, sourcing a manufacturer and advice on selling.

Our Business Gateway advisers were fantastic and we had several experts working with us on digital aspects and business support. Their workshops have also assisted with the general business, accounting, selling and social media expertise we tried to gain. We read widely, joined several forums, attended national free events and also connected with like-minded business people.

We had several challenges with our design, tested numerous prototypes ourselves and used feedback from customers.

We found approaching retailers difficult and had a whole range of successes and failures.

What is your next big business goal?

To expand our product range and sell additional items. We are constantly trying to expand our online sales.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?

Sourcing the right other items. Also, time and expertise to expand our range within online selling.

How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?

I attended one of the Amazon Academy events which was useful. I am also finding the information, blog posts and resources very valuable.

Watch this webinar for tips on how to prioritise, increase your output and find balance and focus:

What are your three tips for business success?

  • No doesn't always mean no. Keep trying, try different angles and try again at a later time

  • Listen to your gut instinct

  • Use all the free resources you can as there are loads but then focus on those that assist with the priorities and try not to get sidetracked

Want to be part of the Enterprise Nation community like Helen? Sign up for free or upgrade to adviser membership.

Helen Robbins
Helen RobbinsCharacter Lines Ltd
We invented the Glove Poppit, a drying rack to dry gloves, bags and bottles. We designed it in our kitchen, found it worked and then went through full design and manufacturing process. The Glove Poppit has been for sale in Lakeland and we now sell it ourselves on Amazon and ebay across the world. The Glove Poppit is unique household product and can be used to dry all sorts of items, all sizes of gloves, washed bags, reuseable drinking bottles etc. We also use one in our shed to dry gardening gloves.

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