Continuing Collingwood’s Q&A series with people from the FMCG and Retail sector, Chris Barker caught up with the founder and designer of Lockabox, Peter Morris. With the product now launched in the market, Peter has received some fantastic support, already gained listings in UK retail and is up for a number of awards.
Chris: So how did you come up with the idea for Lockabox?
Peter: Lockabox was born out of frustration in 2012 when I was a student. I had to find a way to stop fellow housemates stealing my food from the shared fridge!
After working on my idea alongside my studies for two years, I entered a grant funding competition at my university. That was the moment when a ‘bedroom idea’ suddenly became real, and the next 12 months I refined the design and secured intellectual property ready to demonstrate to potential buyers and customers.
Chris: Describe the concept of the product?
Peter: Lockabox is a hygienic, secure lockable storage box for food in shared fridges, keeping medicines safe and securing household items. Being exceptionally versatile and made to a very high standard, Lockabox is ideal for a number of uses and market sectors, such as retail, medical, healthcare, military and the student accommodation market.
Chris: You recently gained success by getting the product listed with John Lewis. How did that opportunity come about?
Peter: Through a contact I managed to get an initial meeting set up with a John Lewis Buyer. Armed with no more than a prototype and head full of ideas, I presented the product to the buyers at John Lewis HQ in London and they went for it! I was even asked to return the next day to present Lockabox at a group meeting with the Head Buyer to get the product pushed through straight away.
The next phase was extremely testing. I had to raise finances and develop further product designs and prototypes. I also designed the website, patented the product, sourced parts from China, develop the injection mould and finally found a manufacturer who would work with a new business, a young entrepreneur and new, unproven product!
In September 2015, 12 months after the initiation of the project, the initial production run of 2000 units took place and we have not looked back since!
Chris: It is great to see a British entrepreneur achieving so much in such a short space of time. I notice you have an association with the Made in Britain Campaign. What does this entail?
Peter: The Made in Britain Campaign is hugely important in terms of supporting and promoting British manufacturing. We are incredibly proud that our product is made in Britain, and to be a member of such an important campaign. During a recent visit to 10 Downing Street, John Pearce the CEO of Made In Britain, hand delivered David Cameron one of our lockable storage boxes. We were wondering what he’s going to use it for? Maybe to keep his lunch safe in the shared fridge at the Houses of Parliament!
Chris: We both recently attended the Spring Fair at the NEC. How did the show go for you?
Peter: It was a last minute decision to attend to be honest. It was certainly a large show and was an exhausting week! Unsure of what to expect we were inundated with enquiries. We worked hard to ensure we brought the multi-use lock box to the attention of as many influential people as possible, and as a consequence we came back to our office in Devon with a book full of mouth-watering sales leads. We are excited by potential collaborations and although we can’t reveal the details just yet, we have a major supermarket reviewing the portable, lockable storage solution with a view to placing it within its stores in March.
Chris: What future plans do you have for Lockabox?
Peter: It’s only February and 2016 is already looking like an amazing year for the Lockabox team. My plan is to look to gain some traction with the Export markets, in particular in the U.S., where I see a lot of potential. We will continue to exhibit at trade fairs as well as look to gain further traction with UK Retailers. I have a few more ideas and concepts up my sleeve as well, so watch this space!
For more information on the product feel free to get in contact with Peter Morris directly.
Since 2005 Collingwood has supported a number of SME and start-ups in the FMCG sector to headhunt senior level expertise to help them gain traction in their market, develop a strong marketing plan as well as expand into Europe.
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