Diary of a Young Entrepreneur – Filaments and Fame

In the fifth of her monthly blog posts charting her journey towards taking an invention to market, young entrepreneur Rowena Mead gets a call from the BBC and drives herself mad …

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26th October 2007 at 10:35 pm

In the fifth of her monthly blog posts charting her journey towards taking an invention to market, young entrepreneur Rowena Mead gets a call from the BBC and drives herself mad completing here own prototype.

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And so at last I had found prototype help – my meeting with Richard Hall shed light on why I had so much difficulty in finding assistance; my toothbrush could not be made using rapid prototyping technology, it was too complicated.

The only solution was to hand insert the filaments into the toothbrush stem, which they could produce using rapid prototyping technology. To pay someone to hand insert these filaments (all 25,000 of them) would have cost my entire budget, and so I agreed to the challenge! A great opportunity to save money, and also drive me insane as I soon found out.

The main reason behind needing a prototype was so I could pitch to interested companies. Richard suggested that because of my intentions, I should look at spending my budget wisely to create more of a 360° pitch – imagery, animations, and even a prototype of the sterilising unit I had designed for the product. Great advice, so I gave the go-ahead after discussing the finer details with my business mentor.

The best thing about finding Pd-m, was not just their professionalism, but their location. Only 40 minutes drive from my house, it was very easy for me to have frequent meetings to make sure the project was on schedule. I would recommend to anyone that they need a prototyping company close to home.

Only one week after finding Pd-m, I received an unexpected call from the BBC. They were making a documentary on inventors, and wanted to film me for it. My gut instinct was uncertainty – I didn’t know whether being on TV was wise, even though my patent applications were in place. My attorney suggested the benefits of exposure were greater than any dangers associated with that level of publicity, so I agreed. Filming was to start in five weeks, which meant that I and Pd-m would be working day and night to get my prototypes finished in time.

It took me over 70 hours to insert all the bristles into my product, but I got it finished in time. My sterilising unit looks fantastic, as does my 10 second animation. My next challenge, which is the biggest yet, is to find a company interested enough to take on these two products.

I know inventors generally get rejected from the big companies, it’s a pattern that I can’t see changing soon; James Dyson, Ron Hickman and Trevor Baylis all had tough times in the beginning. I hope I’m tough enough to pull through the rejections and achieve my dream – to see my products being used by kids worldwide.

Next month sees funding approval from Business Link, and meetings with some big names!

Rowena Mead

Rowena Mead is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur with ambitious plans to bring a new type of children's toothbrush to market. Married with a 20 month old mischievous daughter named Saskia who was the inspiration behind her invention, Rowena shares her business trials, tribulations and successes with SmallBizPod readers. http://www.subservientcopy.com

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