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Creating a product to solve a problem - with Laura Seago - Futliit
Episode 14613th January 2023 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
00:00:00 00:53:43

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This week my guest on the podcast is Laura Seago from Futliit. Futliit makes LED backpacks that use tech to make you properly visible. Our smart light-up backpacks are ideal for kids walking to school, commuters and in fact anyone who needs to be seen at night. 

Laura is a wonderful example of someone who saw a problem, and created a product to overcome this. Once she started looking into road safety stats she found that the majority of pedestrian accidents were between 3-6pm, when people are walking home from school and work. 

Laura worked with her family and carefully assembled team of teen testers and parents to develop the Futliit LED backpack. Laura shares the challenges and rewards of designing a product for teens, sourcing suppliers, dealing with covid delays, and marketing a new product that people do not know to look for.

We also cover the specific mindset challenges of setting up your own business in mid-life, and navigating new technology and marketing platforms.

Listen in to hear Laura share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:14)
  • The inspiration for creating Futliit (01:44)
  • The seriousness of the problem (04:31)
  • Researching the market to see if there was anything else that solved the problem (07:09)
  • Putting together a test group of teens and parents (09:01)
  • Finding a manufacturer (15:55)
  • Dealing with delays in getting hold of samples (18:36)
  • Teaching herself the skills to run the business (22:12)
  • The challenges and rewards of creating a product for teenagers (26:08)
  • Marketing a product which people don’t know to look for (31:06)
  • Learning about SEO (32:32)
  • Choosing the right social media platforms to be on  (33:56)
  • Using your network (39:11)
  • The importance of mindset and confidence when running your own product business (42:42)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (51:48)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Futliit Website

Futlitt Facebook

Futliit Instagram

Laura Seago Linked In

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Of Commerce

LET’S CONNECT

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Find me on Instagram

Work with me


Mentioned in this episode:

Get special offers on Junglescout here:

The best deals on bestselling tools for building and running a successful Amazon business. https://get.junglescout.com/vicki (Note this is an affiliate link - I recommend it because I use it and love it!)

Transcripts

Speaker:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice

Speaker:

and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Speaker:

Here's your host, Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hi, today I'm talking to Laura Seago from Futliit.

Vicki Weinberg:

Futliit makes LED backpacks that use tech to make you properly visible.

Vicki Weinberg:

Their smart light up backpacks are ideal for kids walking to school,

Vicki Weinberg:

commuters, and in fact anyone who needs to be seen at night.

Vicki Weinberg:

In this episode, Laura explains the problem that she had and the product

Vicki Weinberg:

that she created to overcome it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think many of us can probably relate to having a problem and thinking, I

Vicki Weinberg:

wish there was something out there.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and Laura did just that.

Vicki Weinberg:

She actually created it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, she tells us all about how she did that, all the people she involved.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, there were lots of, lots of teenagers that she spoke to, to find out exactly

Vicki Weinberg:

what they wanted from the product.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, I think Laura's story is fascinating.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um.

Vicki Weinberg:

Everything she's done I think is brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

She did so much research.

Vicki Weinberg:

She just put so much into her product, and in fact, I'm going to stop talking

Vicki Weinberg:

now and let Laura tell you all about it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, hi Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for being here.

Laura Seago:

Oh, thank you for having me.

Laura Seago:

It's really good to talk to you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can we please start if you give an introduction to yourself,

Vicki Weinberg:

your business, and what you sell?

Laura Seago:

Yeah, no problem.

Laura Seago:

So I launched Futliit this summer and we make LED backpacks that use

Laura Seago:

technology to make you properly visible when you're out and about.

Laura Seago:

So our backpacks light up with two strips of LEDs and they are ideal for

Laura Seago:

kids walking to school, for commuters and anybody really who needs to be a bit

Laura Seago:

more visible when they're out and about at nighttime or in low light conditions.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, thank you so much.

Vicki Weinberg:

And can you talk to us a bit about your inspiration for

Vicki Weinberg:

creating the Futliit please?

Laura Seago:

Yeah, so it all started when my elder daughter,

Laura Seago:

um, started at secondary school.

Laura Seago:

So she had to walk through the village to catch, um, a bus to go off into town.

Laura Seago:

We live in rural Warwickshire and our village, it is lovely, but we are

Laura Seago:

basically little lanes, single track road, no pavement, no street lights.

Laura Seago:

And very, very quickly after she'd started, of course the clocks changed and

Laura Seago:

I started to realize that she was pretty much invisible when she was walking.

Laura Seago:

She's got a dark Navy uniform on.

Laura Seago:

She's got dark tights, dark shoes.

Laura Seago:

You know, a dark coat, and as an adult, it's really obvious

Laura Seago:

what you do in that scenario.

Laura Seago:

You put on something luminous with lots of reflective strips on it,

Laura Seago:

and you put a light on your back and you carry a torch and you make

Laura Seago:

yourself as visible as possible.

Laura Seago:

Well, I'll tell you what, when you are 11, 12, 13, that is the last thing you

Laura Seago:

want to do, and the thought of actually having to wear something luminous, my

Laura Seago:

daughter was like, I can't do that.

Laura Seago:

I don't want to stand out.

Laura Seago:

I just want to merge into the background.

Laura Seago:

I'm a teenager.

Laura Seago:

So I started to look at what, what there might be out there and sort of

Laura Seago:

solutions that I could come up with.

Laura Seago:

So I thought, well, okay, well we've got lots of bike lights in the garage.

Laura Seago:

Maybe I can attach a bike light to her bag.

Laura Seago:

And that wasn't ideal.

Laura Seago:

It was fiddly and it needed to be taken off during the day, otherwise it

Laura Seago:

dropped off at school or it got broken.

Laura Seago:

Um, there are kind of backpack lights that you can get that attach.

Laura Seago:

Again, they're great if you're an adult, but when you are 11, 12, 13

Laura Seago:

and you spend your time chucking your bag around, they get caught on things.

Laura Seago:

They fall off.

Laura Seago:

You know, 11 year olds don't, don't take care of things in the way that adults do.

Laura Seago:

So I started to think, well, maybe I could find a bag that

Laura Seago:

had got lights already in it.

Laura Seago:

Well, there weren't that really that many out there.

Laura Seago:

Um, so that was where it really began, because I thought, maybe I could

Laura Seago:

design something, maybe I could come up with a, a solution to this problem.

Laura Seago:

Because I can't surely be the only mum, uh, or parent in the UK who

Laura Seago:

is looking, thinking, I really want my child to have independence.

Laura Seago:

I want them to be able to walk to school.

Laura Seago:

This is important.

Laura Seago:

But at the same time, thinking, oh my words, this is really the first

Laura Seago:

time she's been out without an adult.

Laura Seago:

With her I'm reasonably confident in her road sense.

Laura Seago:

But, you know, accidents happen.

Laura Seago:

Kids get distracted, kids do silly things, and drivers get distracted.

Laura Seago:

So may maybe there, maybe there's an opening here.

Laura Seago:

So that, that was really the kind of the, the start of it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for sharing all of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I've seen some of the stats on road safety that you shared on your Instagram,

Vicki Weinberg:

and they're actually really scary.

Laura Seago:

It's really frightening, isn't it?

Laura Seago:

I looked at an, um, office for National Statistics report the other

Laura Seago:

day, and this was from last year.

Laura Seago:

So they said that 361 pedestrians were killed.

Laura Seago:

5,032 were seriously injured.

Laura Seago:

And 11,261 had minor injuries.

Laura Seago:

You know, that's a huge amount of people who, who were being injured, pedestrians

Laura Seago:

being injured in, in road incidents.

Laura Seago:

The real killers for me were things like the peak time for pedestrians to be

Laura Seago:

killed or seriously injured was 3:00 PM till 6:00 PM prime time for walking home

Laura Seago:

from school or walking home from work.

Laura Seago:

30% of fatalities take place on rural roads.

Laura Seago:

And 13% of all accidents happen to those under 11.

Laura Seago:

And I just thought, that's really scary.

Laura Seago:

It's really scary and obviously, you know, the onus is really on drivers, but

Laura Seago:

you know, the, the changes to the, um, highway code make that really clear that,

Laura Seago:

you know, the drivers really need to take care of vulnerable pedestrians, vulnerable

Laura Seago:

road cyclists, horse riders, et cetera.

Laura Seago:

But again, the, the more I thought of that, the more you can do to

Laura Seago:

make your child visible, the better.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Or yourself as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, I don't know if there are any statistics about time of year when more

Vicki Weinberg:

accidents happen, but that probably more do happen in that three to six

Vicki Weinberg:

window in the winter, like now when it's dark, because I've had a few

Vicki Weinberg:

incidents where I've been driving and then suddenly someone's there because,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, and often it's an adult, not a child, you know, they may be

Vicki Weinberg:

walking back from somewhere, but they've got a rucksack on and dark clothes.

Vicki Weinberg:

They haven't got any kind of lights.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you don't honestly see them until you, you know, if you're driving with

Vicki Weinberg:

your headlights or you don't honestly see them until you're almost there.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it's really scary and I think you are right that pedestrians do.

Vicki Weinberg:

I know it's definitely on drivers, but I think anything a pedestrian

Vicki Weinberg:

can do to make themselves more visible just makes sense, doesn't it?

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

You're exactly right.

Laura Seago:

My husband came home the other day and he'd been driving home from

Laura Seago:

work and seen a lad who, who had, he'd sort of looked when he stepped

Laura Seago:

out into the road but didn't really clock what was coming and walked out.

Laura Seago:

And Richard said his heart was in his mouth thinking.

Laura Seago:

Oh my word.

Laura Seago:

The driver's not going to see him because again, as you say, he was dark,

Laura Seago:

dark rucksack, dark school uniform.

Laura Seago:

You know, the more you can be visible, the better.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so when you looked.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I know there are all sorts of, like you say things, I've got

Vicki Weinberg:

wristbands that I, you know, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

during my rounds to keep me visible.

Vicki Weinberg:

You can get lights and all kinds of things, but were there not, at that time,

Vicki Weinberg:

did you find any backpacks that had lights included or was there nothing out there?

Laura Seago:

Yeah, I found some.

Laura Seago:

Um, but again, that, there were quite a few aimed at cyclist.

Laura Seago:

But they are very luminous, so they were kind of out from a teen style perspective.

Laura Seago:

So that was the end of that.

Laura Seago:

Um, there were some that were kind of suitable and so we had a look

Laura Seago:

at those and kind of went through the kind of, do we like this one?

Laura Seago:

Do we not, what don't we like about it?

Laura Seago:

How bright actually are the lights, because some of them have,

Laura Seago:

there's stuff called EL wire.

Laura Seago:

So EL wire is a, um, is a type of wire that when you put a current through

Laura Seago:

it from a battery, it will glow.

Laura Seago:

And it's used in quite a lot in things like, um, dressing

Laura Seago:

up, dressing up costumes.

Laura Seago:

I think they use it for a lot of cosplay type, you know, those fancy costumes.

Laura Seago:

So we got ourselves a few strips of that, um, in various different colours.

Laura Seago:

And then we literally made a mock up of what we wanted and I made my poor

Laura Seago:

husband walk up and down in the dark in the streets and outside with me measuring

Laura Seago:

how far he could go before I lost sight of him, or he really wasn't visible.

Laura Seago:

And quite quickly did we realize that the bags with the EL wiring

Laura Seago:

just weren't bright enough.

Laura Seago:

They, they just didn't glow as clearly as we wanted them to.

Laura Seago:

And they've also got, when they've got like a, a little battery pack attached to

Laura Seago:

them, when the current goes through the wire it actually makes a humming sound.

Laura Seago:

So you can, it's just about audibe enough to be really annoying.

Laura Seago:

So I thought, right, that's out.

Laura Seago:

We don't want that.

Laura Seago:

So then we were down to the L E D, L E D lights.

Laura Seago:

So we sort of went through the same process again and then started to

Laura Seago:

look at what did we like about the backpacks and what didn't we, which

Laura Seago:

is where my lovely, lovely team of testers and parents came in.

Laura Seago:

So I got together a little group of teens, and they probably ranged in ages.

Laura Seago:

At that point I think, Alice is 16 now, so they were probably about 13, 14,

Laura Seago:

down to about five or six, and started to talk to them about what, what did

Laura Seago:

they like about their school bag?

Laura Seago:

Why did they like the things that they did?

Laura Seago:

Like what was really annoying?

Laura Seago:

What would be better?

Laura Seago:

And in the whole process of, um, no idea is a bad idea, wrote everything.

Laura Seago:

Then discounted some of the more bizarre ideas, like wouldn't it

Laura Seago:

be really good if it had a massive speaker on the back and then you

Laura Seago:

could play music like really loudly?

Laura Seago:

No.

Laura Seago:

As a parent, no, that's not a good idea.

Laura Seago:

But some of the things that they were really interested in were things that

Laura Seago:

sort of were quite surprising actually.

Laura Seago:

They took it really seriously.

Laura Seago:

So water bottle pockets, you know, the usual topic of conversation that

Laura Seago:

suddenly became a really big issue.

Laura Seago:

How deep should they be?

Laura Seago:

Because actually if they're not deep enough, it transpires when you chuck your

Laura Seago:

bag on the floor in the corner of the classroom, your water bottle comes out.

Laura Seago:

If they haven't got elastic round the top, if they're too loose at the top,

Laura Seago:

when you go through doors, there's a danger that they get caught on the

Laura Seago:

door handle and then get ripped off.

Laura Seago:

So actually the, the kids were really useful giving us a kind of

Laura Seago:

an insight into how they actually use their bag kind of day to day.

Laura Seago:

What sort of a handle did they want on it?

Laura Seago:

Did they just want a strap?

Laura Seago:

Did they want a grab handle?

Laura Seago:

Did they want a handle to hang it up?

Laura Seago:

Where are they kept during the day?

Laura Seago:

How, how big do they need to be?

Laura Seago:

Because if it's got to fit in a locker, you can't have

Laura Seago:

anything that's too enormous.

Laura Seago:

Um, and the parents were, were sort of useful as well.

Laura Seago:

People saying things like, we want a key holder.

Laura Seago:

It's got to have some method of keeping a house key safe, because actually if you're

Laura Seago:

going to come home on the bus or you're going to walk home and let yourself in.

Laura Seago:

You know, several parents were saying the number of door keys we've been

Laura Seago:

through, because he keeps losing them, you know, so, so all that kind of

Laura Seago:

input was, was really, really useful.

Laura Seago:

I did get through a lot of bars of chocolate though, bribing everyone.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing and I think that's so valuable.

Vicki Weinberg:

I just actually recorded a podcast episode yesterday just by myself talking

Vicki Weinberg:

about this sort of research exactly.

Vicki Weinberg:

And why it's just so important.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because yes, you could have sat down and asked your daughter, which I'm

Vicki Weinberg:

sure you did, but she's one person, and actually the more people you can

Vicki Weinberg:

speak to and get input from, just the more rich and valuable that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, they're, becomes, better.

Laura Seago:

And actually parents had had different views from kids

Laura Seago:

and their kids were quite open.

Laura Seago:

Actually what happened to their bags during the day?

Laura Seago:

I mean, one of the things that I decided I was going to do fairly quickly was to

Laura Seago:

make sure that the, um, there's a device sleeve in the bag, or the device sleeve

Laura Seago:

is padded all the way around, including the bottom, because I watched one lad and

Laura Seago:

he said, oh look, you know this, I like this because it's got a special sleeve.

Laura Seago:

I can put my laptop in, and he demonstrated by picking his laptop up

Laura Seago:

and dropping it into the sleeve, and there was an audible thud as it hit the

Laura Seago:

ground at the bottom and all the parents kind of winced and went, oh my word.

Laura Seago:

That's awful.

Laura Seago:

Winced.

Laura Seago:

That wasn't the immediate thing.

Laura Seago:

I was like, right, if my sleeves need to be padded on the bottom as well,

Laura Seago:

because again, when you're a young teen, you don't, you don't pay that

Laura Seago:

much attention to things and yeah, you know that your laptop's valuable,

Laura Seago:

but you've put it in your bag.

Laura Seago:

So what?

Laura Seago:

You know, so what if it went in with a bit of a clatter?

Laura Seago:

So, uh, so yeah, they were very helpful, all the kids.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think it is interesting that you said about talking

Vicki Weinberg:

to the parents as well, because I think their input's also valuable,

Vicki Weinberg:

because I'm assuming that parents are the ones paying for these school bags.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, their kids are still at an age where this isn't something

Vicki Weinberg:

that, they might be choosing it, but mum and dad has to endorse it

Vicki Weinberg:

because ultimately it's their money.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think it was really sensible to get everyone's input.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and so at this stage, were you also showing them sort of other LED backpacks

Vicki Weinberg:

or light up backpacks that were on the market to get their views on those?

Laura Seago:

Yeah, so I took a whole load of samples and I took a whole um, but.

Laura Seago:

You know, I, lots of this stuff, I don't have any experience of, so I've

Laura Seago:

just kind of used my common sense.

Laura Seago:

I printed out pictures that I got off the internet of all different styles

Laura Seago:

of backpacks, different colourways and you know, different, some of

Laura Seago:

them had massive branding on them.

Laura Seago:

Some of them had small branding on them.

Laura Seago:

Some of them had thin straps, some of them had fat straps, you know, and

Laura Seago:

we just sat and we talked through.

Laura Seago:

What do you like about these samples that I have got in front of me?

Laura Seago:

Assess them for me.

Laura Seago:

Tell me what you think.

Laura Seago:

Because actually what, you know, I think as a mid forties mother is not what

Laura Seago:

a 12 year old boy thinks, you know?

Laura Seago:

And, and I'm really conscious of that.

Laura Seago:

So actually that was really useful because they went, well, I don't like that colour.

Laura Seago:

And you think.

Laura Seago:

Okay.

Laura Seago:

It's red.

Laura Seago:

What, what, what's, what's wrong with red?

Laura Seago:

Oh, no, no, no.

Laura Seago:

I don't want red.

Laura Seago:

So at, you start to kind of refine what you, what you do and don't want, um, some

Laura Seago:

of them were interested in kind of how the branding was portrayed on the bag.

Laura Seago:

We talked about what was cool about cool brands.

Laura Seago:

What, what, what wasn't cool.

Laura Seago:

The youngest one, Tim, was absolutely delightful and he kept telling

Laura Seago:

me, he really loves the colours.

Laura Seago:

Green and blue, green and blue, green and blue, whilst pointing

Laura Seago:

at a red and black sample.

Laura Seago:

I really like that one . So, so some of it you kind of take with a pinch of salt, but

Laura Seago:

actually they've been, the kids have been quite interested in the ongoing process as

Laura Seago:

well of, of, of how you set up a business.

Laura Seago:

Because actually the kids who gave me all the advice are the models on the websites.

Laura Seago:

You know, are, are kind of my kind of advice team.

Laura Seago:

So it's been good for them as well to learn, you know, how do you

Laura Seago:

go about setting up a business?

Laura Seago:

What happens, what happens next to their advice that, you know?

Laura Seago:

What happened next was I found somebody in, in, um, China who was able to help

Laura Seago:

me translate my drawings and my kind of research into an actual sample,

Laura Seago:

and then you could bring the sample to the kids and to the parents and

Laura Seago:

go, well look, this is, this is the sum total of what we came up with.

Laura Seago:

What do we think now?

Laura Seago:

We can see it in reality.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

That was going to be my next question actually, was, was what next?

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's brilliant that you sort of, as you said, went into this

Vicki Weinberg:

never having set up a business before and just worked through the steps.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Laura Seago:

So I did.

Laura Seago:

I talked to loads of people.

Laura Seago:

I just talked to as many people as I could do.

Laura Seago:

I talked to brand manufacturers in the UK.

Laura Seago:

I talked to people who make kind of branded goods,

Laura Seago:

branded goods type agencies.

Laura Seago:

I talked to them.

Laura Seago:

I talked to backpack designers.

Laura Seago:

I talked to electronic type, engineer type people, designers, um, and

Laura Seago:

people were really, really helpful.

Laura Seago:

It just gave me kind of loads of, loads of advice and then found a guy

Laura Seago:

in China who was able to, um, translate my frankly, quite dodgy drawings into

Laura Seago:

something that, that he could work with.

Laura Seago:

And one of the things that I was really, really keen on, the sort of key point

Laura Seago:

for us was that once you put the backpack on your back, you should be able to turn

Laura Seago:

the lights on without taking the bag off.

Laura Seago:

So a lot of the samples that were on the market, they had got switches for the

Laura Seago:

lights, but the switches were inside a pocket or at the bottom of the bag, or you

Laura Seago:

know, just somewhere really inaccessible.

Laura Seago:

And my thinking was when you are 11 or 12 and you get off the bus and

Laura Seago:

it's raining, the last thing you are going to do is faf about trying to

Laura Seago:

put your hand in the bottom of the bag to find the little switch or take

Laura Seago:

your stuff out to get to the switch.

Laura Seago:

It's got to be somewhere really accessible.

Laura Seago:

So, you know, can you put the switch at the bottom of the straps?

Laura Seago:

Which is, which is what we've done in the end, but that, that turned into quite

Laura Seago:

an interesting kind of production issue.

Laura Seago:

How do you go about putting strips of LEDs into the fabric of the

Laura Seago:

bag in such a way that the switch is somewhere that's accessible.

Laura Seago:

And more, even more than accessible, just to be turned on and off.

Laura Seago:

You can actually get to it so that you can change the batteries when you need to.

Vicki Weinberg:

So the contact you found in China, is that,

Vicki Weinberg:

is he a bag manufacturer?

Laura Seago:

He is, yeah.

Laura Seago:

He's actually a guy.

Laura Seago:

He, he's from Halifax in, in the uk.

Laura Seago:

He's moved out to China.

Laura Seago:

Since I've first dealt with him, he's now moved his operations to Malaysia.

Laura Seago:

But he works with various different small, and I'm talking really small

Laura Seago:

family run businesses in China.

Laura Seago:

So they are very small, um, factories that are making small runs of, of, of things.

Laura Seago:

Because obviously you can go to Ali Baba and you can, you can kind

Laura Seago:

of find manufacturers that way.

Laura Seago:

But this way I'd got this chap's name is Rick.

Laura Seago:

And he's been utterly fantastic in helping to translate what was quite

Laura Seago:

an anurous idea in into something that that is a physical project.

Laura Seago:

So we worked through various different samples.

Laura Seago:

So we had a kind of an initial sample, which was.

Laura Seago:

As we suspected kind of way off, refine that into a second sample

Laura Seago:

where we thought, yeah, yeah, this, this is getting there.

Laura Seago:

Right.

Laura Seago:

What we need to do now is we need to tweak how the reflective panels are attached.

Laura Seago:

Because actually there are, there are three kind of triangular reflective

Laura Seago:

panels on the front, which, which add to the visibility of the bag.

Laura Seago:

How do you attach those in such a way that we were happy with them?

Laura Seago:

Were we happy with the switches?

Laura Seago:

Could we tweak the way that that works and the structure of the bag?

Laura Seago:

And, and sort of, we kind of refined it and refined it until we got to

Laura Seago:

the kind of final production sample where we were like, yeah, yeah.

Laura Seago:

We were all systems go.

Laura Seago:

But all of this was happening at the same time as Covid was happening, which

Laura Seago:

made for a bumpy ride in some ways.

Laura Seago:

So it took way longer than perhaps it might have done in ordinary times

Laura Seago:

to get to a point where we'd got a production sample and we could get on

Laura Seago:

with actually manufacturing the run.

Laura Seago:

Um, and by the time we got to I don't know, probably Christmas last

Laura Seago:

year we had been through several rounds of where, were all systems go?

Laura Seago:

No, no.

Laura Seago:

There's covid in the factory.

Laura Seago:

The factory's been shut down.

Laura Seago:

Um, yeah, we're all systems go.

Laura Seago:

No, there's covid in the factory again.

Laura Seago:

So we kind of went through this awful cycle, the, the, the Chinese way of

Laura Seago:

dealing with, with Covid was quite different to ours, so things just stop.

Laura Seago:

Then Rick got covid.

Laura Seago:

Then once we were back up and running again, then they had all sorts of

Laura Seago:

issues with, um, electricity supplies.

Laura Seago:

So the factory actually wasn't running because there wasn't

Laura Seago:

enough electricity to run it.

Laura Seago:

So sort of Christmas time last year, I started to think maybe, but

Laura Seago:

maybe this is just not meant to be.

Laura Seago:

Um, and then I got a call from Rick just before Christmas last year saying,

Laura Seago:

do you know, I think, oh, I don't want to, don't want to get your hopes

Laura Seago:

up, but I think we might be on here.

Laura Seago:

Um, and of course, you've got to bear in mind that what I

Laura Seago:

was asking for was one sample.

Laura Seago:

I, I wasn't running a major run of anything, so of course I was

Laura Seago:

down the bottom of the pile.

Laura Seago:

But between Christmas and Chinese New Year, beginning of this year, we managed

Laura Seago:

to get the sample out and then once after Chinese New Year was over, we

Laura Seago:

were kind of all systems go and we were, um, up and running and they finally

Laura Seago:

arrived, uh, just before the summer.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good timing isn't it as well for like parents getting bags or kids?

Laura Seago:

It was, it was.

Vicki Weinberg:

At school, going to secondary school.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's, wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's quite and well done for persevering as well because that must have been so

Vicki Weinberg:

disheartening because as you say, if you were just after the one sample, I can

Vicki Weinberg:

imagine that, you know, you were getting moved further and further down the que

Vicki Weinberg:

as these bigger orders were coming in.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And I think they had difficulties in getting the materials, you know,

Laura Seago:

that, that all of those issues all kind of wrapped together.

Laura Seago:

Including the whole kind of shipping fee.

Laura Seago:

At one point Rick was ringing me going, actually, even if you, if we do get the

Laura Seago:

go ahead, you don't want to be shipping from China yet because the prices for a

Laura Seago:

container have just gone through the roof.

Laura Seago:

So it's been a real kind of balancing act.

Laura Seago:

But sometimes I think you, you know, I think it's a really good product.

Laura Seago:

I think it's a really good idea.

Laura Seago:

I think there are people out there, there have got to be people out there

Laura Seago:

who are like me thinking I really want my child to be much more visible.

Laura Seago:

I've got to keep going.

Laura Seago:

I've got to keep going.

Laura Seago:

So that's, that was all I did.

Laura Seago:

Every, you know, you just got to keep putting one foot in front of the

Laura Seago:

other and, uh, and moving forward.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's amazing that you kept going.

Vicki Weinberg:

And how, were there any things that you were able to do to fill

Vicki Weinberg:

that time where you were waiting for new samples, for example?

Laura Seago:

Um, yeah, so I did a lot of, training courses actually.

Laura Seago:

So my background is in marketing and PR originally, but b2b, um,

Laura Seago:

sort of tech engineering stuff.

Laura Seago:

And then more lately, I'd worked in the family business.

Laura Seago:

So a lot of the things that I'm doing now, I just had no clue about.

Laura Seago:

So, you know, I've dealt with producing content for websites

Laura Seago:

before, but I'd never built a website.

Laura Seago:

Um, I'd never taken photographs, uh, of products.

Laura Seago:

I'd done a tiny bit of seo, but only following somebody else's instructions.

Laura Seago:

You know?

Laura Seago:

So all of those things actually, that time gave me the ability

Laura Seago:

to spend it doing that.

Laura Seago:

One of the things that happened quite early on was I got put in touch with

Laura Seago:

the, um, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who had a

Laura Seago:

fantastic scheme going where they, um, were able to give you some mentoring

Laura Seago:

time and also some, some courses.

Laura Seago:

So we used a lot of it to do that.

Laura Seago:

And we just went on as many courses as I could do and free trainings.

Laura Seago:

And, you know, a lot of these big players like, um, Meta, Facebook, have

Laura Seago:

a lot of training that, that you can do.

Laura Seago:

Um, and YouTube is a wonderful resource if you don't know how to

Laura Seago:

do something, how do I do whatever?

Laura Seago:

And, and you can, you know, get yourself going from there.

Laura Seago:

So a lot of the stuff that I've learnt has been entirely self taught.

Laura Seago:

I've never used Instagram before I set up Futliit.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, your Instagram's great.

Laura Seago:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I think it's, yeah, as you say, a lot of these

Vicki Weinberg:

things do take time to learn.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I guess in a way it was, you don't want to say it was a good thing, but I

Vicki Weinberg:

suppose the silver lining to all that time you did have to wait, was that you were

Vicki Weinberg:

able to put that time to really good use.

Laura Seago:

And, and sometimes you don't know that until afterwards do you.

Laura Seago:

You can look back at and you can think all, you know, I'm a big believer in

Laura Seago:

all these things happen for a reason.

Laura Seago:

You know, maybe it was just meant to be this way.

Laura Seago:

You've just gotta make the best of it.

Laura Seago:

And I can't, you know, I can't do anything about the, the covid situation in China.

Laura Seago:

I can't do anything about rising prices.

Laura Seago:

You know, I've just got to go with it.

Laura Seago:

So that's what we did.

Vicki Weinberg:

So the bags were ready this summer.

Vicki Weinberg:

So how have things gone from then?

Laura Seago:

Yeah, not too bad.

Laura Seago:

Thank you.

Laura Seago:

Not too bad.

Laura Seago:

It's, um, now that the, the clocks have changed, it's made it

Laura Seago:

much easier to film in the dark.

Laura Seago:

Because at one point in the summer we were having to stay up really, really late

Laura Seago:

to try and get, um, filming in the dark.

Laura Seago:

But that's been another learning curve, actually taking photographs,

Laura Seago:

um, how to, um, make the videos of actually filming in the dark.

Laura Seago:

So, so we've done a bit more of that, but yeah, everything's,

Laura Seago:

everything's going fine.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

And are your, your original testers, are they all using?

Laura Seago:

They are, yeah.

Laura Seago:

Even my husband has got one.

Laura Seago:

So, so yeah, so I think that, that, you know, the next, in terms of kind of

Laura Seago:

product development, the next round will be actually looking kind of a year on.

Laura Seago:

How have the bags stood up to the test?

Laura Seago:

How could we make them better?

Laura Seago:

What, what's, what's the next alteration going to be?

Laura Seago:

And, you know, we've got plenty of ideas in the pipeline.

Laura Seago:

Once we get kind of up and running and we've got a, um, you know, a bit

Laura Seago:

of bulk funding behind us, there are other things that we could be doing.

Laura Seago:

It's the more you talk to people, the more people say, oh, I'd

Laura Seago:

really like a you know, whatever.

Laura Seago:

So you know that that'll be kind of the next round of it.

Laura Seago:

And, um, and starting to get some new, new advisors on board.

Laura Seago:

Because obviously, my, my advisors are getting older every year and, um, you

Laura Seago:

know, I, I need, need some more who are kind of at the eleven, twelve age, which

Laura Seago:

is where my original intention was.

Laura Seago:

So.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And what other, I meant to ask this earlier on actually.

Vicki Weinberg:

What do the teenagers, um, think about like the LED aspects and about

Vicki Weinberg:

lighting up and being really visible?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because you mentioned your daughter wasn't keen on like, of clothing or whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

What do they feel about the bag, I'm just really curious.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, yeah.

Laura Seago:

They really liked it.

Laura Seago:

They, they, none of them have said, oh no, I don't like it.

Laura Seago:

I think that what they do like is the fact that you can turn it

Laura Seago:

on when you want it on, so you can, you know, take a few steps.

Laura Seago:

You can wave goodbye to everyone at the bus stop, or you can wave goodbye

Laura Seago:

to everyone at the school gate.

Laura Seago:

Take a few steps and then turn it on when you are ready for it.

Laura Seago:

Um, and I think they all understand, you know, they're all sensible

Laura Seago:

kids and they're, they're quite conscious of their own safety.

Laura Seago:

Interestingly, the younger children, when I first did it, the thought

Laura Seago:

of being lit up was delightful.

Laura Seago:

They, in fact, they wanted to be lit up in as many colours as possible

Laura Seago:

with as many different flashing light combinations as possible.

Laura Seago:

So there's obviously quite a, a change in attitude from moving from primary

Laura Seago:

where actually having lots of flashing lights in lots of different colours

Laura Seago:

is really cool and really exciting to secondary, where suddenly you,

Laura Seago:

you know, that there's, there's a definite intent to grow quite quickly.

Laura Seago:

Which is one of the reasons why the bag is kind of grey because

Laura Seago:

the kids said it's a, it's a fairly kind of neutral, neutral colour.

Laura Seago:

There's nothing that can really go wrong with it.

Laura Seago:

I mean, I'd, I'd like to introduce more colours once, once we're

Laura Seago:

sort of up and running a bit more.

Laura Seago:

So, uh, but, but yeah, they, they're all fine with it.

Vicki Weinberg:

That all, you know, makes total sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I've got six year old and a nine year old, and I would put money

Vicki Weinberg:

on the fact my six year old would want to be lit up like a Christmas tree

Vicki Weinberg:

and my nine year old just wouldn't.

Vicki Weinberg:

But what I really like about your bags and what I've seen, um, on your

Vicki Weinberg:

videos is they are lit up, but it's not garish or it's not like a Christmas

Vicki Weinberg:

tree for part of a better word.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's, it's really, I don't want to say subtle because it's really effective.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I've been watching your videos of your daughter, I believe it's

Vicki Weinberg:

your daughter, and she is walking and it's really, really visible.

Vicki Weinberg:

But it's not garish or like, I, I don't know, I'm not a teenager, but I

Vicki Weinberg:

wouldn't have, what am I trying to say?

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's, I think it's really, really well done because I can see that they

Vicki Weinberg:

might not want flashy lights and yeah, different colours and things like that.

Laura Seago:

I mean, I can remember back to being that age and I just,

Laura Seago:

uh, being very self-conscious and not wanting to stand out and not wanting any

Laura Seago:

opportunities for people to go, oh, look at you, you know, that sort of thing.

Laura Seago:

And I think that that was one of the reasons why we try to make it so once

Laura Seago:

the lights are off, you can't really tell that there are lights on the bag.

Laura Seago:

They're, they're pretty invisible.

Laura Seago:

They're in there in case some kind of a, a fairly thick piping.

Laura Seago:

Um, and that was one of the things that the kids had said, I don't

Laura Seago:

want to wear a safety product.

Laura Seago:

I don't want people thinking I'm a baby.

Laura Seago:

I don't want anything that looks really obvious in the daytime.

Laura Seago:

So that, that's kind of the end result.

Laura Seago:

What we've tried to go for is something that, that is useful and and visible

Laura Seago:

when you need it, rather than being kind of garish during the day.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think, yeah, I, I, I, as we talk, I could just see how valuable

Vicki Weinberg:

it must have been for you to get all of that input from the teenagers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because you, you just can't get inside their heads, can you?

Vicki Weinberg:

There's nothing like actually finding out what they actually think.

Laura Seago:

No.

Laura Seago:

And they, they come up with such hilarious things.

Laura Seago:

I don't want a bag that's got massive branding on it.

Laura Seago:

I, I really don't want a bag with massive branding on it.

Laura Seago:

Okay.

Laura Seago:

Could you go and get your bag and show me what you've got at the moment?

Laura Seago:

And I look at his bag and it got super dry all over the back of it.

Laura Seago:

And I was like, branding, you know, so, so it is harder to get

Laura Seago:

into, into their, into their heads, but they've just been brilliant.

Laura Seago:

In fact, one of the lads, Joshua, he made me a little video.

Laura Seago:

He, he started off using his bag in September, and as the clocks

Laura Seago:

changed, he said, right, I'm going to make a little video.

Laura Seago:

And I'm just astounded by their tech ability.

Laura Seago:

He's, you know, if you have a look on my, my Instagram or my Facebook,

Laura Seago:

it's on there and he's just made this, this really, really slick video.

Laura Seago:

He's cut various different bits of video together.

Laura Seago:

He's done a voiceover commentary and I just think well done, well done that man.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I guess that's also the kind of, it's kind of what you need to promote

Vicki Weinberg:

it as well, because I guess it's one of those products that, um, because it's,

Vicki Weinberg:

I guess parents may not know it exists.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, until I heard about you, I had no idea that this was a thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I mentioned that when my son goes to secondary school, this is

Vicki Weinberg:

something I'll be thinking about.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so I think it's one of those things where people are going to see a child

Vicki Weinberg:

with the bag, or parents are going to tell their friends oh my child uses this bag.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so it's great that, that he's doing that for you and saying,

Vicki Weinberg:

this is my bag and I love using it, and it makes me really visible.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, yeah.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And that's, that's one of the things that I'm finding quite interesting

Laura Seago:

with the whole kind of marketing of it, is that it is something that

Laura Seago:

people don't really know exists.

Laura Seago:

People have a problem.

Laura Seago:

But there isn't an obvious solution to search for necessarily.

Laura Seago:

So it's not, it's not quite like, I don't know, launching a new cosmetics brand or,

Laura Seago:

or a, um, you know, a, um, I don't know, a scented candle or something like a top

Laura Seago:

or a pair of trousers where, where it's kind of obvious, I want some dark blue

Laura Seago:

trousers and you can search for that.

Laura Seago:

This, this is more of an interesting sell.

Laura Seago:

So with my marketing head on, it's been quite kind of interesting

Laura Seago:

looking at how do you sell a product into kids when they're actually not

Laura Seago:

the ones who are buying it, it's their parents who are buying it.

Laura Seago:

And the parents and the kids have got quite different ideas about how to be

Laura Seago:

visible on the way home from school.

Laura Seago:

Because as I said before, as as an adult, it's really obvious you just

Laura Seago:

wear luminous stuff and you put lots of reflective panels on and, and as a

Laura Seago:

kid you're like, I'm not doing that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is a challenge.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think you're right that in a way it's, it's nice to be selling

Vicki Weinberg:

something that's so unique because if you were selling a top, for

Vicki Weinberg:

example, it's so hard to stand out amongst the millions of others.

Vicki Weinberg:

However, I guess it's hard because people, if they don't know your

Vicki Weinberg:

products exists, they might not necessarily be looking for it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I guess, I guess that's where things like SEO you know, really come into

Vicki Weinberg:

play and thinking about what people are.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Looking for.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um.

Laura Seago:

And SEO, oh, my word, that's a learning curve.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it all is, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

But I think that is a, that is a challenge when you're selling

Vicki Weinberg:

something so unique because if people don't know it exists, they might

Vicki Weinberg:

not necessarily be looking for it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I guess it's trying to get in people's heads, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

And thinking, what are people searching for?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, are they going into Google and searching how do I make my child visible?

Vicki Weinberg:

I, I don't know what people are searching, but.

Laura Seago:

Oh, all sorts of things so when you actually start to look, I mean,

Laura Seago:

there's so much information out there that, that you can, you can find on what

Laura Seago:

people are searching for, but I think it's just a very slow burn of matching.

Laura Seago:

And enabling Google to find you as a response to that kind of questioning.

Laura Seago:

Um, and I, I suppose I just keep thinking, you just got to keep

Laura Seago:

at it and show up every day.

Laura Seago:

The more you do, the more Google will, um, serve you up as a result.

Laura Seago:

So, the more I can do, the better.

Laura Seago:

And somebody said to me the other day, oh, you need to be on

Laura Seago:

TikTok, you need to be on TikTok.

Laura Seago:

You need to get kids making loads of videos and be on TikTok.

Laura Seago:

And I'm thinking blimey, I'm only just getting my head around Insta.

Laura Seago:

I think TikTok might be the next step.

Laura Seago:

So, you know, the socials are going to be really important.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, but I think I agree with you though.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think this is, this is my personal opinion, that actually you can spread

Vicki Weinberg:

yourself too thin and it's probably better to get your head really around

Vicki Weinberg:

Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is, and then go, okay, that's kind

Vicki Weinberg:

of going well and then moving on.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I think it can be a real, really tempting in the beginning to

Vicki Weinberg:

be like, I have to be everywhere.

Vicki Weinberg:

But yeah, I think, yeah, when you spread yourself that thin, often you're not seen.

Vicki Weinberg:

That, you know, it's the opposite, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

You're just not doing very well at the end.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, and that's you.

Laura Seago:

You're exactly right.

Laura Seago:

That's exactly what I decided in the end, that I would just

Laura Seago:

pick a couple of channels and I would try to do them really well.

Laura Seago:

So I went for Facebook because I thought actually a lot of parents are on Facebook

Laura Seago:

and a lot of grandparents are on Facebook.

Laura Seago:

And I went for Insta because I felt that that was a slightly

Laura Seago:

younger demographic and that way I'd kind of got them both covered.

Laura Seago:

And the fact that they're both connected makes it really easy to

Laura Seago:

deal with and I think, you know, do do something and do it well rather

Laura Seago:

than spreading yourself too thinly.

Laura Seago:

There's lots of talk of, go on Twitter, you know, you could be on Twitter and

Laura Seago:

I'm thinking, well, but I need to just do, do a couple and do them well, and

Laura Seago:

then think really hard about what the next demographic is that I want to

Laura Seago:

target, and maybe that will be TikTok.

Laura Seago:

I don't know.

Laura Seago:

But I think you've got to be able to create the content to keep the whole

Laura Seago:

thing going, because there's nothing worse than going onto somebody's

Laura Seago:

website, for example, or their, um, Facebook feed and saying that the

Laura Seago:

last blog post stroke photograph that was posted was from six months ago.

Laura Seago:

It doesn't, you know, it doesn't make you look like you're taking it seriously

Laura Seago:

and, and you know, I just wanted to be sure that people knew that, you know,

Laura Seago:

that this is really important to me.

Laura Seago:

I'm really keen to make it work.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

It just, especially when you are a brand that people haven't heard of when they

Vicki Weinberg:

land on your website, you know, I feel like if I'm going to buy something from

Vicki Weinberg:

someone I haven't heard of, I want to feel like this is a legitimate business.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, you know, you want to see like, they are keeping, like

Vicki Weinberg:

you said, they're keeping their blog up to date and everything looks, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

It just wants to look current because it's a bit nerve wracking.

Vicki Weinberg:

You're putting your card details in somewhere and you've

Vicki Weinberg:

never heard of them before.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, sort of keeping everything up to your website, your social media, as you've

Vicki Weinberg:

said, it just kind of goes, I am in business and I'm taking this seriously.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

It just gives off a much better impression because I think

Vicki Weinberg:

if you go to a website and you can, like you say, you see it hasn't been

Vicki Weinberg:

updated for six months, I definitely think twice about, you know, happy

Vicki Weinberg:

tapping my card details in, for example.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And that has been, in some ways, that's been one of the hardest things

Laura Seago:

to say, I'm actually selling me.

Laura Seago:

As well as the product because I'm, I'm the face of the company and you

Laura Seago:

know, but listening to yourself, being, making little reels and all

Laura Seago:

that sort of stuff is mortifying.

Laura Seago:

You know, I'm not from the social media generation.

Laura Seago:

I've really had to kind of get over my fear of doing these things, but I am a

Laura Seago:

mum in Warwickshire who had a problem, who thought, I can't be the only one.

Laura Seago:

I'm gonna see if I can do something about it.

Laura Seago:

So, you know, actually that's quite important to people that they,

Laura Seago:

that if they ring up, they get me.

Laura Seago:

If they email, they get me.

Laura Seago:

You know, we're not a faceless company with a, with a call centre, you know,

Laura Seago:

on the other side of the world, it's me.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think your story also helps make it really relatable

Vicki Weinberg:

to people because you say you are a parent, you did this to keep your child

Vicki Weinberg:

safe and other people's children safe.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think people can relate to that as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, and it also gives you, it gives you something to talk about, and I think it's

Vicki Weinberg:

brilliant that it's you talking on your reels and that you are really visible.

Vicki Weinberg:

And actually that's something I meant to ask at the beginning, but I

Vicki Weinberg:

completely forgot, is that when you had this, um, we'll call it a problem,

Vicki Weinberg:

and you were looking for solutions for your daughter, at what stage did

Vicki Weinberg:

you go, oh, actually I might make a product and turn into a business

Vicki Weinberg:

as opposed to looking for something just for the situation you were in.

Laura Seago:

I think it probably sat there.

Laura Seago:

The, the first time we had it, so was when my elder daughter started secondary.

Laura Seago:

She's now about to take her GCSEs, so it's, its been a bit of, a

Laura Seago:

bit of a burn and I think it sat there for a couple of years.

Laura Seago:

I wasn't really in a position where I could do anything about it.

Laura Seago:

And then, um, my position changed.

Laura Seago:

I'd stopped working for the family business and I thought,

Laura Seago:

what am I going to do now?

Laura Seago:

What, what, what do I want to do?

Laura Seago:

And I think the little gem of an idea that I'd had.

Laura Seago:

That had obviously been kind of percolating away in the background

Laura Seago:

kind of came to the fore.

Laura Seago:

And I thought, you know what?

Laura Seago:

I'm going to give it a go, which is sort of a brave thing when I look back on it,

Laura Seago:

it just seemed quite obvious at the time.

Laura Seago:

Do you know what I've had this idea?

Laura Seago:

I think I've, I've got a few contacts that I can ring.

Laura Seago:

I will, I will see if I can make something of it.

Laura Seago:

And actually that, that was something that I was going to say to anybody else

Laura Seago:

who, who's sort of in this position where they've had a bit of an idea

Laura Seago:

and thought, I wonder if I could.

Laura Seago:

Whether you know it or not, you've got a massive network out there and it it

Laura Seago:

not in the kind of sense of an old boys network of, you know, terribly fancy

Laura Seago:

people, but you, when you start to think about it, you know all sorts of people.

Laura Seago:

I've got a friend who's worked in product manufacturing, so I rang her.

Laura Seago:

I've got a friend who, um, was an electronic engineer, so I rang

Laura Seago:

him and the more people that I talked to, the more I found out.

Laura Seago:

And people are so kind, people are really rooting for you and

Laura Seago:

really willing to help you.

Laura Seago:

So my husband, for example, spoke to one of his colleagues at work and said,

Laura Seago:

oh look, we're thinking of doing this.

Laura Seago:

Have you got any advice?

Laura Seago:

And she said, well, do you know what my, um, my child's just about getting

Laura Seago:

to the age of secondary school.

Laura Seago:

If you give me a bit of a talk about how you applied for secondary schools

Laura Seago:

and how the process works, I'll put you in touch with so and soso.

Laura Seago:

There was a bit of a, sort of a quid pro quo.

Laura Seago:

And then even people that I didn't know when I was in the research stage, I rang

Laura Seago:

a, my original plan was I really wanted the bags to be made in the uk and for

Laura Seago:

various reasons that wasn't possible.

Laura Seago:

But I rang a bag manufacturer in the UK, um, up in Wrexham I think

Laura Seago:

they are, and I left a message.

Laura Seago:

And the managing director rang me back and he spent a good half an hour on

Laura Seago:

the phone after he'd said, I don't think we can help you and this is why.

Laura Seago:

Giving me advice, talking me through things that were important, talking

Laura Seago:

me through things that, that, um, I should really sort of consider

Laura Seago:

how the bag was manufactured.

Laura Seago:

How, how I was going to get it off the ground.

Laura Seago:

No, he didn't have to do that.

Laura Seago:

He was just a really nice bloke who thought, yeah, okay, I'm going

Laura Seago:

to give you some advice there.

Laura Seago:

There have been people who I haven't spoken to in years on my Facebook who

Laura Seago:

have shared my posts, who have sent it out to their friends saying, oh,

Laura Seago:

this is a lady I used to work with.

Laura Seago:

She set up this business.

Laura Seago:

Don't you think it's a great idea?

Laura Seago:

You know, so actually everybody does have a network of people.

Laura Seago:

Even if you haven't worked at the, the, the, the top light of business and you,

Laura Seago:

you know, you haven't been a fashion director of a major brand, we've all

Laura Seago:

got people out there who will help us.

Laura Seago:

And sometimes if you believe in what you're doing and you talk to people

Laura Seago:

about it, they really will help you.

Vicki Weinberg:

People are nice, aren't they?

Laura Seago:

They are.

Vicki Weinberg:

I like hearing stories like that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also I think it's worth remembering that the worst that can happen is someone

Vicki Weinberg:

says, no, or I don't have time right now.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, most people don't.

Vicki Weinberg:

But that's the very, very worst that can happen.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'm with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've, I think that reaching out and asking people, can you help me?

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you know someone who can help me?

Vicki Weinberg:

It just beats spending hours trolling YouTube or whatever it is, you can

Vicki Weinberg:

find a person that can help you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you're right, most of us are better connected than we think we are.

Vicki Weinberg:

We might think we don't know anybody, but when you start talking, um, I had

Vicki Weinberg:

something last year actually where I was at a kids' birthday party and

Vicki Weinberg:

a lady was talking to her friend and she was saying, oh, and I'm,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, I want to start selling my products and I'm not really sure what

Vicki Weinberg:

to do and I don't know who to ask.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I sort of had to put my hand up and go, I can help you with that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it's really funny, we were just standing a metre away from each other

Vicki Weinberg:

and she had no idea what I was doing and I had no idea what she was doing,

Vicki Weinberg:

but it turned out we could, yeah, we could really help each other.

Vicki Weinberg:

So yeah.

Laura Seago:

People have been absolutely fabulous and it's a

Laura Seago:

small world and people are really willing, you've just got to ask.

Laura Seago:

Um, and people, people do want it to work and the number of people that

Laura Seago:

have said to me, I think it's a pants idea and it's not going to come off

Laura Seago:

and you'll never manage it, is zero because actually everybody's gone.

Laura Seago:

There are a couple of people that I've spoken to who I can

Laura Seago:

tell, have thought, not really sure about that, but that's fine.

Laura Seago:

I'm not trying to sell it to everybody.

Laura Seago:

There.

Laura Seago:

There is a market out there of people who need this.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, and that's who I want to talk to.

Vicki Weinberg:

And sometimes I think that says more about those

Vicki Weinberg:

people than it does about you as well, if you know what I mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

Plus, as you've just said, it's, your product is not going to be for everyone.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's advice I give people all the time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Like an example I give loads is if you were creating something for

Vicki Weinberg:

new mums and your grandad didn't like it, well, no disrespect, but

Vicki Weinberg:

actually does that really matter?

Vicki Weinberg:

Probably not.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so yeah, and equally, you know, if you were making something for pensioners

Vicki Weinberg:

that you wouldn't really be that worried if your teenager didn't like it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think knowing who, and it sounds like you've been so clear about knowing

Vicki Weinberg:

who you're selling your product to, who it's for that yeah, that, I think

Vicki Weinberg:

that's, I think that's really, really helpful because then, you know, you sort

Vicki Weinberg:

of know whose advice to take on board and who you can go, well, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I respect your opinion, but actually yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, I'll put that to one side and won't worry about that.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And, and I think you do have to have that ability.

Laura Seago:

Sometimes it's, it's quite easy particularly when you are a woman and

Laura Seago:

you've got to the age, I'm mid forties, you've got to the age that I am.

Laura Seago:

You, you, it is easy to kind of lose your confidence a bit, especially

Laura Seago:

if you've been out of the kind of mainstream job world for, for a

Laura Seago:

while through children or whatever.

Laura Seago:

And, and get a bit kind of buffeted by other people's opinions of what you

Laura Seago:

should do and how you should do it.

Laura Seago:

Well, I've decided, it's not to say that it I won't change my mind, but

Laura Seago:

for the time being, I'm going to concentrate on doing this and this.

Laura Seago:

I'm going to do my Facebook, I'm going to do my Instagram, and

Laura Seago:

this is the way I want it to be.

Laura Seago:

You know?

Laura Seago:

That's the joy of running your own business, isn't it?

Laura Seago:

It is your own business and you can do it the way you want to.

Vicki Weinberg:

And good for you as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also, as you said, um, you've also, this is also something that's

Vicki Weinberg:

totally new for you, so I also think it's great that you have the

Vicki Weinberg:

confidence to go, do you know what?

Vicki Weinberg:

I might not know exactly what I'm doing, but I'll figure

Vicki Weinberg:

it out and I'll do it my way.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah, I don't, you possibly don't realize, Laura, how much

Vicki Weinberg:

confidence you must, you've got.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and how much it's probably given you as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

No, I mean, it's probably given you a lot as well, because I think when we

Vicki Weinberg:

prove to ourselves, well, actually I can do this, it kind of, I think it impacts

Vicki Weinberg:

other parts of your life as well when you go, actually, I have built a business so

Vicki Weinberg:

I have, you know, created this product.

Vicki Weinberg:

I honestly think that has a knock on effect.

Laura Seago:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Laura Seago:

Oh, well, you know, anybody who's out there who's thinking about it, do it.

Laura Seago:

Just have a go and, and as you say, what is the worst that can happen?

Laura Seago:

The worst that can happen is nobody buys them.

Laura Seago:

Really?

Laura Seago:

Is that the end of the world?

Laura Seago:

No.

Laura Seago:

You know, there are a lot worse things that could happen, you know?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also will say, um, that when you put in the amount of work you do, you you've

Vicki Weinberg:

done on researching, I actually think it's fairly unlikely that nobody will buy it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'm so big.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mentioned I, I recorded something about this yesterday because I'm so

Vicki Weinberg:

big on people doing the research.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I do honestly think if you do the research and you take lots of time

Vicki Weinberg:

and you speak to the right people, obviously you speak to the right people

Vicki Weinberg:

and you find out what they want and you find out, you know what they're after,

Vicki Weinberg:

you are so much more likely to create something that people do want to buy.

Laura Seago:

Mm-hmm.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that just, it doesn't take the risk away entirely,

Vicki Weinberg:

but it massively reduces it because you've made the best, it sounds like,

Vicki Weinberg:

to me, that you have made the best bag that you could at this stage.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

By speaking to the people who want it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so I think it's really unlikely that it's not going to sell because of

Vicki Weinberg:

all that work you've put in up front.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I know it's hard and I know it takes time, but um, I'm such a massive

Vicki Weinberg:

fan of actually doing that work.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And I think it will stand me in, in, in good stead and, and maybe looking

Laura Seago:

back on it, that that was an advantage of the whole Covid situation where

Laura Seago:

things were at a bit of a standstill.

Laura Seago:

But I had lots of time available when I, when I was, wasn't trying to help my

Laura Seago:

younger daughter get through her primary school, locked down homework, but you

Laura Seago:

know, that, that time I don't think can ever be badly spent because I just

Laura Seago:

kept looking at different options and researching and, and, and you've got,

Laura Seago:

you know, that that's a luxury, that, that time to be able to, to put it in.

Laura Seago:

Um.

Laura Seago:

You know, it's not to say that there won't be alterations of the product in

Laura Seago:

the future, because obviously the, the more people use it, the more feedback you

Laura Seago:

get, the, the more there will be common threads of things that you think, yeah, I

Laura Seago:

could do something about that, or, I had no idea that that was what they wanted,

Laura Seago:

but several people have asked for that.

Laura Seago:

How can I incorporate that into, into the next version going.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also what you said I really liked earlier about, you know, when people

Vicki Weinberg:

have been using the bag for a year, are there things that a year on aren't

Vicki Weinberg:

working as they should or whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

I feel that was, I thought I really, um, that really stuck out, stood out

Vicki Weinberg:

to me when you said that because I've never heard anyone say that before.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sounds really silly, but I spoke to so many people.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't recall anyone saying that.

Vicki Weinberg:

But it is such a good point of a product like yours.

Vicki Weinberg:

It should last.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know how long it should, but it should last, let's say, it's not

Vicki Weinberg:

something you're going to buy new every six months or every year necessarily.

Vicki Weinberg:

I, I think it's a really good point to say, actually, let's see what

Vicki Weinberg:

they look like after a year of use and, you know, have they held up?

Vicki Weinberg:

Are they durable enough?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I just, I really like that you said that, that really stuck with me.

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And I don't, I would like to be able to make them more

Laura Seago:

environmentally friendly as we go on.

Laura Seago:

So are there materials that we could make them out of that would be, um,

Laura Seago:

you know, durable enough, they would have the waterproof, sort of the water

Laura Seago:

resistant capabilities that they've got, um, but, but perhaps could be,

Laura Seago:

I don't know, made out of recycled PET bottles or something like that.

Laura Seago:

You know, I look at my daughter's blazers and they're actually, they are made out

Laura Seago:

of recycled PET blazers, um, bottles.

Laura Seago:

Could, could, could we do something like that?

Laura Seago:

But I think there's a danger and I had to stop myself at one point from trying

Laura Seago:

to make it perfect before it launched.

Laura Seago:

Actually I needed to get it to a point where I thought,

Laura Seago:

not that this is good enough.

Laura Seago:

This is fab.

Laura Seago:

I've made something.

Laura Seago:

Yes, I might be able to make it even better in the future, but I

Laura Seago:

think if you're on a search for perfection from the start, you're,

Laura Seago:

you are never going to get anywhere.

Laura Seago:

Because what?

Laura Seago:

What's perfection?

Laura Seago:

Perfection to one user is one thing.

Laura Seago:

Perfection to somebody else is something different, you know?

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

I really like that saying done is better than perfect.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, and I'm not saying that, not, obviously not for this, but I think in

Vicki Weinberg:

there are lots of instances where actually it's things don't have to be perfect.

Vicki Weinberg:

They can be good enough, not maybe the sense for products, but also I think that

Vicki Weinberg:

can be a form of procrastination as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

You spend so long designing and refining and tweaking that you

Vicki Weinberg:

just delay launching your product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Fish further and further back.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I do think, I don't know if it's a bit of fear or or what it is, but I see

Vicki Weinberg:

this a lot where people go, oh, I'm just going to go through one more round of

Vicki Weinberg:

sampling, or I'm just going to go through one more round of re whatever it is.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it just gets delayed and delayed and delayed.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think you do have to come to a point where you have to go, yep.

Vicki Weinberg:

They're going to put it out there, see what people think.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And even if it doesn't sell well enough, that also tells you something

Vicki Weinberg:

and then you can go, okay, why?

Vicki Weinberg:

What is it that people, what is it that aren't appealing to people?

Vicki Weinberg:

Or whatever it is.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you can improve.

Vicki Weinberg:

And as you say, even if it does sell really well, there still will

Vicki Weinberg:

be things that you want to do that your customers tell you they want.

Vicki Weinberg:

There's always room for new effort.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know if effort is the right word, but.

Laura Seago:

Well, there's certainly new alterations, isn't it?

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Laura Seago:

And you know, you can, there, there are plenty of ways that, that we can kind

Laura Seago:

of take the kind of classic bag that we've produced and either produce a,

Laura Seago:

a slightly newer version or a smaller version or a slightly different product

Laura Seago:

for a slightly different market.

Laura Seago:

You know, may, maybe there are sort of year six kids out there who really

Laura Seago:

are starting to walk to school on their own, perhaps being able to

Laura Seago:

walk from a drop off point and their parents are getting them ready to go.

Laura Seago:

Maybe they want something slightly different.

Laura Seago:

They don't have to carry the vast quantity of books.

Laura Seago:

Or a device in the same way that secondary school kids do.

Laura Seago:

So, so there's plenty of options for kind of building the business up.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's exciting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, it's really exciting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, uh, thank you so much for all that you shared, Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

I just, I've taken a lot from it and I hope that everyone else is as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I have one final question before we wrap up, if that's okay?

Laura Seago:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Which is, what is your number one piece of

Vicki Weinberg:

advice for other product creator?

Vicki Weinberg:

I know it's a big question.

Laura Seago:

I think it would, it really would be to ask for help, and

Laura Seago:

the more you ask, the more you will find out the, you know, there are

Laura Seago:

people out there who will help you.

Laura Seago:

Don't try and do it on your own.

Laura Seago:

Ring people up and ask them even if you don't know them, because the, the

Laura Seago:

response that I had was fantastic.

Laura Seago:

And yeah, you're right.

Laura Seago:

Sometimes people will go, no, I'm too busy to help you, or

Laura Seago:

they won't get back to you.

Laura Seago:

Well, that, that, that gives you your answer.

Laura Seago:

But there will be people out there who've got the information that you

Laura Seago:

need and they, they will help you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, thank you so much, Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, it's been really nice to talk to you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode.

Vicki Weinberg:

Do remember that you can get the full back catalogues and lots of free resources

Vicki Weinberg:

on my website, vicki weinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it,

Vicki Weinberg:

and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful.