The story - how I came to design Plinth
Royal Fleet Auxiliary Navigator
My first career was as a Navigating Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, where I spent 8 happy years working with the Royal Navy all over the world.
In 1986 I left the sea to study for a degree in Industrial Design in London.
Then came 2 years in consultancy and a year in Industry, before starting my own Design company in 1991.
Product design engineer
John Bull Design Ltd grew to a team of eight, based in West Sussex. We designed some amazing products, from children’s nursery equipment, sports gear, laboratory test appuratus to Insustrial safety equipment.
In 2000 we won a presitgious Millenium Product Design Award.
The impact of iPad
As a designer, I had always dreamed of being able to draw and paint directly onto the screens I was using every day. To interact directly with fingers and pens, not a mouse.
So, it would seem, were others!
Frustration with stands and cases
I loved my first iPad – but could I find a stable, portable, adjustable stand which was easy to keep with me, and fast to set up? No.
I started to play with ideas for a handy pocket stand which would do all I wanted a stand to do.
Crowdfunding my new design
With no money to afford the £23,000 needed to get my idea into production, a friend introduced me to the crowdfunding world of Kickstarter.
It took me 3 times to get a campaign to cross the winning line, but in February 2014 I did it, and Plinth went into production (in the UK, of course).
In early 2016, I had a call from the BBC; they’d seen my website, loved Plinth, and wondered if I’d like to appear on Dragons’ Den.
I said ‘No’, of course.
Then my friends told me to get a grip.
(To watch the episode, click the picture)