Young inventor goes from strength to strength

Southampton-based micro company Zinch Designs has developed a simple yet innovative SafeSip; a tight-fitting silicone cover that makes glasses, mugs, cups and cans spill-free in any position.

Despite having no manufacturing or design experience, Melissa Edmunds is the managing director and inventor, and left her job to pursue the idea.

She collaborated with the Manufacturing Advisory Service for funding for product development, design, manufacturing and marketing.

SafeSip has gained multiple design awards, in the UK and abroad; Melissa was recently awarded British Female Inventor of Year 2014 and Best Consumer Product Platinum 2014 at the British Invention Show at a prestigious ceremony at the Savoy Hotel. She has previously won three major awards at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva and Silver Winner at The European Women’s Inventor Awards 2014.

SafeSip was launched in 2012 and kept the manufacturing within the UK for control over the quality of tooling, delivery times and ease of communications.

The business has grown quickly and clients range from the general public, specialist retailers and ecommerce merchants to medical organisations and trusts. It is now exported to Germany, France, Canada and Australia, with exports currently 20% of the business.

Zinch Designs has applied for a further grant from MAS for a revised version of the product which is launching now with eight new colours. The company is working on other related products within the family, that are set to launch in spring 2015.

Melissa says: “We expect to double turnover this year and I have employed two staff with another planned later this year. Our UK manufacturer of SafeSip is now running at near full capacity on their machines and they are currently recruiting so jobs have been safeguarded and created there. The tool maker’s business also in the UK is thriving with a full order book and Zinch Designs is now booking their next tool as there is a waiting list.

“The success of SafeSip has been a tremendous journey for me and the help and funding from MAS was invaluable. I couldn’t have achieved all of this without having at my disposal the technology and tools that I need to run my business.

“I’d urge other entrepreneurs out there to put real thought into exactly what they opt for. Implementing technology that is affordable and easy to use and manage could be the difference between success and failure.”