The Ultimate Buggy Hook is an innovative design which primarily carries scooters when attached to your child’s buggy, yet also holds bags and coats. The success of this product has led the client, Claire Burley, to set up Scoot, a company dedicated to producing scooter accessories such as Scooter Hooters, Scooter Deck Grips and more.
Claire originally approached D2M to help protect and patent her product, however quickly realised that we could help her produce and develop her product as well.
After the initial meeting, D2M created a series of concepts that focused on improving various aspects of the product. One of these designs was centred on the profile of the metal hook: we looked at creating the best shape for the hook to fit and hold a scooter. In this design we also used the shape and natural flexibility of the metal to secure the scooter, rather than a rubber strap as in the other designs. Another focused on replacing the metal hook for a moulded plastic hook.
During this stage, D2M researched and measured a range of scooter handles and looked at the issue of the Velcro strap slipping along the hook, and how to secure this to the scooter would prove to still be an issue later with the manufacturer. The culmination of this stage was an improved design ready to be further developed in a CAD design stage.
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Computer Aided Design involves using industry standard software to develop a virtual model of the concept. D2M uses SolidWorks as the 3D files can be exported directly for production. Create a dimensionally accurate, virtual 3D model of the scooter hook was crucial as it allowed the designer to look at all angles of the model and acquire a realistic idea of the final product and how it would function. This essential stage of the design of the product, allowed for the production of prototypes, as well as the data and specifications required for the future manufacture of the product.
In this instance CAD was particularly useful in designing the rubber strap to hold the handle in place in the hook, as the strap needed to be small and compact yet have enough elasticity to stretch when in use.
The next stage was the production of a sintered prototype: sintering is the process of heating particles to an extremely high temperature, at which point the atoms move across the boundaries of the particles, fusing the particles together. In product prototyping metal powder is used; this is the most cost effective way to produce a prototype which gives us and the client the most authentic example of the finished product and how it will function, without the expense and time of setting up production tooling. From this sintered prototype both Claire and the designer could review the product, tweak the CAD model and further improve the product prior to production.
Our in-house textile designer was able to produce the strap element, and several iterations were made to find the most secure attachment method to the buggy. Another important factor was that the badge should be visible when in use.
To protect Claire’s concept our partner attorney firm looked at numerous options for intellectual property protection and reached the conclusion that finding a patent was the most appropriate route. The trademark on Scoot was filed and two designs registered in the EU on the shape of The Ultimate Buggy Hook. Our attorneys also filed a registered design in the US, and did a GB patent which is now being continued into an EU and US application.
The normal route at this stage would be to:
- Produce a manufacturing specification; detailing the various components of the product and their material and size etc. For example: the stitching techniques and grade of polypropylene webbing.
- Approach various Far East and UK manufacturers and sourcing agents to get comparative quotes
- Finalise a report to enable and accurate comparison of quotes
- Select a manufacturing consultation with client and put them directly in touch
However, due to time limitations this was not an option and we had to use a number of different suppliers in the UK to fulfil initial orders of 1,000 units. Unfortunately this created a difficult situation in which we had to use four different suppliers to produce different components of the product.
The CAD model and prototypes were used to create a full manufacturing specification, This specification was then sent to the various suppliers to quote for the manufacture of the components.
- The metal hook shape was cut, formed and welded by a metal fabrication company; who in turn used a different company to coat the metal.
- The badge was manufactured by a company in the West Midlands and proved to be very straight forward. The client used a separate branding company to produce the design and D2M produced a CAD model, including a suitable sewing channel so the badge could be stitched neatly to the webbing.
- The Velcro strap needed to be sewn in a particular way, and the problem which arose was that the fabric couldn’t be stitched close enough to the hook, resulting in the strap slipping along the hook. To resolve this problem D2M developed the design to include a rubber pad between the strap and the hook. However the company being used to manufacture the strap was unable to complete this consistently to the required standard and D2M had to source an alternative supplier.
Next, the decision was made to remove the silicon strap from the product as the redesigned metal profile had solved the issue of the scooter falling out the hook. This reduced the cost of manufacturing each unit to the delight of Claire Burley
Once the initial order was fulfilled, which allowed Claire to get her product to market; we directly contacted a manufacturing partner in China who could make the entire product in-house, on time and for a lower price.
Although time scales are important, it is imperative to spend time finding the right manufacturer for the product as soon as possible as this is vital in producing a good quality product on time.
Product to Market
Before and during the prototyping stage Claire had to decide on the packaging of the product and how she would get the product to market i.e. whether she sold it direct or to shops. Furthermore, once production costs had been finalised she established how much she would need to make and how much each unit would sell for.
Initially Claire did attempt to sell it direct, using full branding, local press coverage, Twitter and so on, however finding sales too slow she decided to begin approaching retailers to bring in bigger orders. This resulted in receiving orders from JoJo Maman Bébé and Micro-Scooters. From here, she used the fact that she was selling to stores such as JoJo Maman Bébé to interest lots of smaller stores, and also retailers such as Amazon. Once these buyers had placed orders, manufacturing deadlines had to be brought forward.
Currently Claire is receiving regular orders from Amazon, and monthly orders from JoJo Maman Bébé, while selling direct through Micro –Scooters. Claire has sold approximately 4,000 hooks and this number is increasing monthly. She is about to sign a deal with a Singapore distributor and is advertising through trade press. In addition she is soon to do a trade show called Top Drawer in London, which takes place on the 16th – 18th of September, in which 700 carefully selected British suppliers showcase their newest product launches.
The impressive success Claire has found through The Ultimate Buggy Hook has encouraged her to develop two more products through D2M Innovation: one is due to be launched at the end of this year and the other next summer. What started with a Scooter Hook ended with a range of funky and inventive scooter accessories.
Please use the links below to purchase the various products in the Scoot range:
D2M developed the scooter hook and the scooter deck lite as well as some exciting products that are on the way to market. Contact us
to get your product patented, developed and manufactured.