In 2014 GIMA launched an exciting new Innovators’ Seed Corn fund designed to encourage new businesses, designers and innovators to enter the market. The lucky winner of the £5,000 fund, as well as developmental and marketing support, was SteadyPost, suppliers of the innovative FenceFin™ – an easy-to-use alternative to spikes or concrete, usually employed to anchor wooden fence posts in the ground.
Seven months since the win, we catch up with SteadyPost’s Suzanne Pinnock to find out how the win has helped shape the business, and to learn more about how SteadyPost has been thriving during its first full season in the garden retail industry.
Tell us more about your experience of winning the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund in 2014
We were, and remain, so proud of our award. We’d worked hard on developing the product, our marketing materials and customer research. But to get an industry award at our official launch was a real confidence boost, especially as one of the factors cited for choosing FenceFins™ was their potential for volume sales for retailers.
At Glee the certificate had pride of place on our stand and “Come and see our award-winning product!” was a frequently heard cry and a great way to get people talking to us!
How has business been since Glee 2014? Any milestones you can mention?
The time immediately after Glee was a bit slow. We were on a high and wanted to get moving. But buyers from the multiples, who’d been incredibly positive, weren’t yet buying for their 2016 fencing ranges, and the independents – who we hoped would buy for their 2015 season – were hunkering down for Christmas.
The new year came and things got moving. A number of independent garden centres, including Otter Nurseries, now stock FenceFins™ and they are available nationwide from several online retailers – eDecks, Waltons/Fence-supermarket and YouGarden. We’re seeing repeat orders already from UK customers, with interest from overseas steadily increasing.
How has the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund helped your business develop; do you think this development would have been possible without it?
Possible yes, but certainly more difficult. The cash element of the award paid for our Glee stand costs and has allowed us to invest in high quality marketing materials. GIMA membership has also helped us make valuable contacts and benefit from cost savings on key events such as the Garden Press Event in February 2015. Aside from this, the award itself continues to open conversational doors for us.
What are your overall plans/ objectives for the coming year? Any product development plans?
For us the next twelve months are mostly about getting to volume with FenceFins™. We had such positive feedback from some of the major buyers at Glee and, naturally, we want to turn that into sales.
We do have a new product in development too. PostPlate™ is an easy-to-use, reusable support that helps prevent posts and stakes from being pulled towards each other when wires are under tension between them. We’re undertaking trials at the moment – so watch this space!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about entering the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund in 2015?
Put simply – go for it! But if you are a new business, or a business entering this market for the first time, I’d also recommend being prepared to be asked about more than the product you are entering. I was struck by the judges’ interest in us as a business, including such questions as what was our business/industry experience, how balanced was our team, what were our longer term plans.
If you are thinking about entering the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund we’d be very happy to share our experiences over a coffee or a phone call too, if it would help anyone.
Find out more
Entry to the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund 2015 is open now. All small business, designers, students, inventors and start-ups interested in entering have until July 10th to submit their entry. Full details about the fund, entry process and eligibility can be found at www.gima.org.uk/seed-corn-fund/
To keep up to date with GIMA news, visit the GIMA website, get in touch with the GIMA office on 01959 565885 or email email@example.com.
See more from SteadyPost by visiting www.steadypost.co.uk