The Herald profiles G-Hold inventor and CEO, Alison Grieve


Alison, our CEO and inventor, was profiled by The Herald newspaper. Read the full story here.

Here are some of our favourite bits:

"What does [your company] produce?

We design and manufacture ergonomic handholds for iPads, tablets and any other handheld devices. We also produce Safetrays, a more mature product range, which are non-toppling trays for the foodservice industry.

To whom does it sell?

We sell the G-Holds to a real mixture of tablet users. Our biggest customer is the Home Shopping Network in the USA, but we're now on the Scottish Government Framework for schools across Scotland. We also sell to global banks, healthcare services and thousands of other users who need their tablets in everyday life and work. Our celebrity users include Suzi Perry.

What is its turnover?

We have forecast £400,000 this year and we're on track to be ahead of that target.

...

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

I'm meeting with the Deputy First Minister to discuss an idea I have for an import/export project for twelve year olds. We have organisations in California who would like to get involved. Creating a culture of international entrepreneurship is something I believe could and should begin at school.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

I learned to be grateful for what I have when things go wrong, and grateful for what I have when things go right. I also learned that the greatest advantage in business is to be underestimated.

I always get a lot out of meeting business people who have achieved significant success.

I felt honoured to have had the opportunity to meet the dragons when I appeared on the Dragons Den television show recently. You're in the Den for over two hours so there's a lot which has to be cut for the final airing. Many of the comments I felt were best and most useful didn't make it onto the show but the overall result has been a fantastic boost to our online sales and exposure to many people we would not have otherwise reached. I've also been so touched by the many messages of support following the show.

How do you relax?

I love anytime I spend just hanging out with my twin boys and my partner Denny. A good walk up a Munro is also fantastic to clear the mind. And music is the very best of medicines for the soul."

Read the full story on the Herald website here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Global success story slips through Dragons' grasp

A Scottish entrepreneur who entered the Dragons' Den (Sunday, Sept 4th) has joined the ranks of success stories that got away.

Alison Grieve, from Edinburgh, is a multi award-winning inventor on a mission to change the way the world holds things. On Sunday night she presented the Dragons with her most recent product, the G-Hold: an ergonomic holder that attaches to tablets and other devices, enabling users to comfortably and securely hold their mobile technology.

The Dragons declared themselves 'out', but Alison has watched the sales flood in, bringing in revenue of £150,000 since filming took place, double the amount she had looked to raise in the Den. Her company has scaled up rapidly, moving to larger premises in August and increasing its assembly team, based in Scotland, to produce the 10,000 G-Holds required monthly to meet demand. The growth stems partly from the product's success on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in the US, but also from large tablet rollouts in education, healthcare and corporate sectors.

"I am very grateful to have experienced the Den and would do it all again," Alison said. "Of course, it's much easier to say that from the context of our recent successes but having been on this journey for seven years, I knew I would take positives away from meeting the Dragons regardless of what happened next."

Alison first started developing patented 'handholding' technology in 2010 for the foodservice industry, launching a range of non-toppling trays, branded Safetray. A former waitress, Alison came up with her first invention after witnessing a spectacular accident involving a tray of champagne glasses toppling over at an important function.

"Our mission has always been to broaden the use of our handholding technology across multiple industries and applications. Once we had proven our concept, we saw a massive opportunity to develop new technology for mobile devices. And with almost a billion tablets having shipped since the launch of the first iPad, we are now reaping the rewards of that decision."

The ergonomic benefits of the G-Hold have been validated by various muscular skeletal experts:

"The last few years have seen a significant rise in the number of kids with neck and back pain, which clinicians increasingly put down to the use of hand-held devices," explains Gavin Routledge, Vice Patron of the British School of Osteopathy. "The G-Hold design ensures that it massively reduces the strain on neck, shoulder, arm and hand; making for pain-free use of tablets."

The G-Hold is already being used across 100 schools in Aberdeenshire, Apple Distinguished Programme CalStateTEACH and most recently tech solution company XMA, feeding into the Scottish Government National Framework for Tablet Devices in Education. The company anticipates G-Holds fast becoming a standard part of the tablet tool kits provided across Scottish schools and further afield.

Aside from its health benefits, the brand has also been growing in 'cool factor' with celebrity users including former Gadget Show presenter Suzi Perry, Grammy award winning Gregory Porter, Scotland’s rugby team coaches and physios and sports presenter Lee McKenzie.

Alison is currently in Berlin at the IFA consumer electronics trade fair and intends to capitalise on the rise of augmented reality (AR), with games such as Pokémon Go and 360 degree videos creating greater need for handholding technology.

"My prediction is that AR will soon be a part of everyday tablet usage, particularly in education where traditional text books can come alive, engaging children in learning like never before. The G-Hold supports that experience physically, comfortably placing the whole world in your hand."

The G-Hold is available for sale online and in various retail outlets in the UK, Europe and the US. More information about Alison and the product can be found at www.g-hold.com.

Issued by Pagoda Porter Novelli on behalf of G-Hold. Media Contact: Barbara Fraser on 0131 556 0770, Barbara.fraser@pagodapr.com

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Revolutionary tablet holder grabs grip on market - G-Hold featured in The Herald newspaper


G-Hold inventor Alison Grieve features in an article about G-Hold in today's Herald newspaper. You can read the full article on their website, but here are some highlights:

"A space themed-range of G-Holds is now available to buy at the Glasgow Science Centre and at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, while other versions are on sale in the Scottish Parliament shop and through Amazon.

"This month a version of the hold emblazoned with the Glasgow University logo has been put on sale, in honour of the 50th anniversary of Ms Grieve’s knighted grandfather – Sir Robert Grieve – taking up the university’s first professorship of town and regional planning.

“'There is still a dissertation prize at the university that bears my grandfather's name,' said Ms Grieve. 'I'm sure he would like to see the Grieve family's connection to the university continue through the generations.'"

 

 

 

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold inventor Alison Grieve interviewed by The Sun


sun article 250216.png

G-Hold's inventor Alison was interviewed by The Sun newspaper, who have dubbed her "Scotland's answer to Joy," after Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop played on screen by Jennifer Lawrence.

Alison talked really honestly about difficult times with the business and overcoming challenges as an inventor and as a mum, to see G-Hold used by Suzi Perry on Formula 1 and about to be featured on the Home Shopping Network in the USA. You can read the full article on the Sun's website.

 

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold simplifies travel - good thing, since the G-Holders are off around the world again


Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, aka US wine and travel experts the World Wine Guys, have chosen G-Hold as one of their favourite 'small things that simplify travel' in their latest Huffington Post article. 

Mike and Jeff write:
"In the search for the perfect intersection of size and functionality, we have located some pint-sized pieces that overcompensate for their diminutive dimensions.

"Whether you are taking a photo, reading in transit, or presenting in a board room, you can keep a firm hand on your tablet ... It rotates 360° to change viewing angles, and folds flat to fit in a case or sleeve."

Read the full article over at the Huffington Post here.

G-Holder Alison is in the USA at the moment and sent us back this brilliant image of Lady Liberty herself (next to her sister - Duchess of Liberty?) holding a G-Hold in New York. 

 

 Checking the ferry schedule

Checking the ferry schedule

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Get a grip on your tablet with G-Hold at TechRepublic


Greg Shultz at TechRepublic has written a fantastic review of G-Hold, which you can read on their site here. He tried out the G-Hold on two different tablets, the HP Stream 7, below, and the Dell Venue 11 Pro, and liked it on both devices.

It's a really in-depth, great read, so please do check out his article as soon as you get the chance. 

I attached the G-Hold to my HP Stream 7, which is a small tablet, and found it to be a great combination (Figure C). Up to this point, I rarely used this tablet out of its folio case because its small size made it easy for the tablet to slip out of my hands. However, the folio case isn’t perfect in all situations—it can easily fold down or close as I’m handling the tablet. With the G-Hold, I get the best of both worlds. Out of the folio case, I can easily hold and maneuver the small tablet. With the clip folded down, the HP still fits perfectly in its folio case.
— Greg Shultz, TechRepublic
Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold inventor Alison Grieve in conversation with the Financial Times and other inventors


Alison Grieve joined a Twitter panel to discuss the challenges faced by inventors when getting their product to market. Some interesting points were raised for budding innovators - see the full discussion on the Financial Times website here: 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/eb079bfe-1071-11e5-b4dc-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3cxOBG1mK

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

WHY WE MANUFACTURE G-HOLD LOCALLY


Alison with G-Hold in the Daily Record

Alison Grieve wrote a comment piece for the Daily Record, explaining why we decided to make the G-Hold locally.

"But perhaps more than anything it is the strong relationships that you form when working so closely with a manufacturer. I have laughed, pondered, learned, invented, almost cried and drunk numerous cups of tea with McLaren Plastics.

Walking into the factory and breathing in the scent of hot steel and molten plastic feels like you’re connecting with the very soul of a product.

The establishment of Safetray production took us around 18 months. With the G-Hold, units started shipping just five months after the first bit of aluminium tooling was cut."

Read the full article here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold Gives You Comfortable, 360° Control of Your Tablet


Fantastic review of G-Hold by Melissa Popp on TechNorms:

"I’m still amazed at how a simple piece of plastic can give this much comfort and functionality for a tablet. If you’re looking for an accessory to make it easier to carry around your tablet, the G-Hold might just surprise you. It surprised me."

Read the full review here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Five star review for G-Hold


G-Hold customer Vicky took to her blog to give G-Hold a five-star review, and we couldn't be happier.

"I wanted to try the G-Hold as I thought it would be good for disabled and/or elderly, and it hasn’t been marketed towards these groups. My hand grip is fine but for someone with arthritis in their hands or fingers this would be a godsend as your fingers won’t lock, bent. The main use I thought it would help me with is when I fall, I am always paranoid that I will drop my iPad and break it. Since having the G-Hold I have fell twice when using it and each time was able to raise my arm without paying any attention to what position the iPad was in. When I fell before I got this I had to concentrate on what was happening with my pad to make sure I didn’t  drop it or knock it into something like a door or table, but now I have more time to find something to grab onto with my free hand to prevent me falling to the ground, knowing that my iPad is safe."

Read VIcky's full review on her blog, Vicky and her Staffies, here: https://vickyandherdogs.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/g-hold-review/

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Chatting with BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive about G-Hold and ScotEDGE


Alison spoke to Mhairi Stuart on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive program last month, ahead of winning the ScotEDGE Award. Mhairi also spoke to Sir Tom Hunter, who headed up the judging panel, and Kevin Harvie of Hectares Crisps, who joined G-Hold in winning an award later that evening. Click here or on the picture above to listen to the full feature.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Stocking stuffers for men who love travel


Raymond Walsh picked G-Hold as one of his top stocking stuffers for men who love travel, on the rather marvellous blog Man on the Lam.

"This neat and unique Christmas gift sticks to the back of any tablet. It rotates 360 degrees, folds-flat for easy storage in any iPad or tablet sleeve, and is removable leaving no residue behind. Great for keeping a firm grip on your tablet in public or business presentations on the road. Their motto? We wanna hold your hand."

See the full list here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Get a Grip


New Design magazine profiled G-Hold's inventor, Alison Grieve, and gives some exciting insight into how the design and production processes worked.

Alistair Welch speaks to inventor and entrepreneur Alison Grieve about what’s involved in taking a product from idea through to manufacture

There is no doubting the popularity of tablet computers. In work, rest, and play the tablet has reached the mainstream. However, inventor and entrepreneur Alison Grieve believes that she has spotted a gap in the market. Whilst we might love watching Netflix on our iPad or reading a bestseller on our Kindle, holding these devices comfortably for any length of time can be problematic. Grieve’s suspicions that there was a need for a product that improved the experience of holding a tablet was backed up by some ‘Google market research’. When she entered ‘awkward to hold’ into the search engine both ‘iPad’ and ‘Kindle’ were amongst the top four suggestions.

This was the origin of the ‘G-Hold’ – a multi-purpose hand-hold that can be placed onto any type of tablet or reader to improve the user’s comfort when holding the device. The G-Hold is available in a ‘Megastick’ version that attaches permanently to a tablet and a ‘Micro Suction’ version that uses nanosuction technology to allow the device to be removed and re-used again and again. Leather cases for the iPad and iPad Mini featuring an integrated G-Hold are also available.

Read More

 

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold inventor's search for woman who saved takeout pizza


Boo Paterson covers G-Hold's New York launch and CEO Alison Grieve's fascination with fellow inventor Carmela Vitale on her site Boo York City.

"An award-winning inventor is on the hunt for the mysterious New Yorker whose brilliant idea stops your takeout pizza from being ruined before it’s delivered.

Secretive Carmela Vitale invented the pizza saver – the little white plastic tripod that sits in the middle of pizzas to stop the box from sticking to the toppings.

And though Alison Grieve – who invented the G-Hold and the Safetray – has been searching for Vitale for two years in her spare time, she has yet to even find a photograph of the secretive creator.

Grieve said: “I started researching the inventors of the products we use on a day-to-day basis for a TV series idea that I had.

“Carmela’s takeout pizza saver is used literally billions of times per year. I remember the days of having to scrape half of my pizza toppings from the cardboard and refashion them in a sludgy mess back on to the half-naked base.

“It was a small, yet widespread, problem, answered by a simple solution. And yet, despite its ubiquity, its inventor is entirely unknown. Who is Carmela Vitale? Where is she now? Why did she let the patent expire after just a couple of years? I love the mystery and intrigue. And I want her to receive some of the kudos she deserves.”

Read the full story here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Finalists for John Lewis’ ‘PitchUp’ initiative announced


by Megan Dunsby

High street retailer John Lewis has revealed the 12 finalists of its 2014 ‘PitchUp’ competition; an annual initiative which offers retail entrepreneurs the opportunity to get their products stocked on its shelves.

Backed by national pop-up shop campaign PopUp Britain, the 12 start-ups will now receive retail mentoring in order to get them ready to pitch their products to a panel of John Lewis buyers at the chain’s head office on August 1.

Intended to support British innovation and give retailers their “first taste of the high street”, the finalists include lightweight luggage solution Gate 8, children’s board game Blank, and cycle safety light specialist Veglo.

Ranging from sportstwear to wrapping paper, the 12 ‘PitchUp’ retail finalists are:
    Gate 8
    Identity Papers
    Veglo
    Lexie Sport
    G-Hold
    Smoo
    Pretty Athletic
    Squidkids
    Popcord
    Daniel Harkin
    Fiendishly Fabulous
    Bildy

John Lewis’ head of brand innovation, Matt Hully, said:

“We are delighted with the initial response to this year’s PitchUp, with a record number of applicants. We have a very exciting set of finalists, and look forward to welcoming them [...] and hearing their pitches.”

PopUp Britain manager, Becky Jones, added:

“Getting a chance to pitch your product to a panel of John Lewis buyers is every entrepreneur’s dream – a fact reflected in the number of applicants we had this year – almost 700.”

Read more here.

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

Crowdfunding: Six Lessons Learned from a Successful Business Project


Our CEO and inventor Alison Grieve was interviewed for this great case study about crowdfunding on Ideas Cafe. Here is a brief extract, but you can read the whole story here.

"Crowdfunding is no longer purely a means for new startups to get off the ground. Nowadays, already-established companies are taking to sites like Kickstarter to launch new products that, in turn, can produce tons of advantages -- including an intense learning experience -- beyond the up-front capital.

We recently spoke with Alison Grieve, CEO and founder of Scotland-based Safetray Products, to get first-hand insight into her successful recent Kickstarter campaign that raised funds to manufacture her new invention, the G-Hold (grips and cases for iPad, tablets, and iPhone).

She learned several valuable lessons from the Kickstarter venture:

Connections are Key 
Giving anyone a chance to be a part of a production process opens up the lines of communication between the producer and those interested in donating. That feedback can be essential. The key is in the connection with the backers.

"You can really lose that connection if you have a business model of selling through distribution, wholesale or even retail," Grieve tells us. "Crowdsourcing gives you invaluable insight into the wants, needs and desires of your ultimate end user. It really is an unparalleled method of funding."

Be Genuine and Receive Genuine Support 
Hearing someone's story firsthand can be the kicker. Think about it: who doesn't love to support the little guy? A crowdsourcing page can give businesses the chance to open up about their ambitions. It also can help potential backers understand businesses' perspectives and why they need the backers' support.

"I got the sense that many backers are actually motivated by the desire to help in somebody's journey toward achieving their dreams- not just in the product itself," Grieve says. "It was a hugely emotional experience, and both myself and the team felt such gratitude for the kindness extended by friends and strangers alike."

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold profiled by Young Company Finance


Young Company Finance profiles G-Hold and its parent company, Safetray Products Ltd, in the latest issue. Visit their website here to subscribe and see the full article.

Here are a couple of brief extracts:

"G-Hold is the latest brainchild of Edinburgh-based hand-holding technologists Safetray Products Ltd, and is used to hold tablet computers and other mobile devices securely whilst on the move. "

"US retailer Adorama will be launching the G-Holds at its NYC store this summer, and a non-exclusive distribution deal has been agreed for both West and East Coast USA with distributors SBC Global. In addition to consumer sales, the company intends to focus on professional tablet users in the areas of education, healthcare, retail and foodservice."

Posted by Caroline Whitham.

G-Hold inventor interviewed by Informed Edinburgh


Spotlight On: Alison Grieve, Safetray Products Inventor and Entrepreneur

We catch up with local inventor and entrepreneur, Alison Grieve. She explains how one simple idea led her to create her revolutionary range of Safetray Products which are now available all over the world.

How long have you lived in Edinburgh and what brought you here?

I was Glasgow-born, but moved here when I was seven. I lived here until leaving school when I scooted off for the best part of a decade. I returned in 2004 to have my twin boys because there really is no place like home when you become a mama.

Tell me more about your business, Safetray Products
I used to run an events business.  I invented the Safetray after witnessing a spectacular accident at one of our high-end events. A waitress lost control of her tray and dropped dozens of full champagne glasses all over the floor, smashing everywhere and causing embarrassment and expense. I started wondering why we still use the same old, dangerous design for carrying glasses and that’s when the idea for a discreet, retractable clip on the underside of the tray came to me. It slips between the server’s fingers and allows them to use their knuckles to help to control the tray, preventing it from overbalancing.

After patenting the invention and enlisting the help of Glasgow product designers, Fearsomengine, to source the manufacturer, we commenced production initially in China but then moved it to Scotland. The Safetray is now exported to 17 countries worldwide and is used in venues such as the Sofitel in Lyon, the Hyatt Regency in Dubai and Sodexo, USA.

We now have a few more products in development, including a mirror tray which looks as if stemmed glasses are magically floating through the air, and a disco tray with embedded LEDs.

Tell me more about the new G-Hold
Establishing Safetray internationally meant I needed to travel extensively. I bought a tablet to make working on the move easier but I found myself wishing that I could hold it single-handedly, like I could hold the Safetray. I searched for the phrase, ‘awkward to hold’ on Google, and the first thing that came up was ‘iPad awkward to hold’, the third was ‘Kindle awkward to hold’.

Having spent four years studying hands and the way that people hold objects, I realised that our expertise would be crucially valuable in the field of mobile technology. Although the G-Hold serves a very different purpose to the Safetray, and functions in its own way  (it rotates and can come as a removable device) our experience has served us well and sparked interest from several of the biggest household names in tablet computers.

We took to the crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter to finance development and, after a successful campaign raising 130% of our goal, we are now entering into production. It was quite an emotional journey, being so connected to our backers and experiencing such overwhelming support from friends and strangers alike. We received orders from all over the world, with our removable Micro Suction G-Hold proving the most popular. The G-Hold Micro Suction uses a very funky, futuristic material which sticks onto flat surfaces using thousands of tiny little suckers, smaller than the eye can see, enabling the device to be peeled off again, leaving no marks.

Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
I did try employment in corporates but found that I always wanted to change things. I’m not much good at being a cog in a wheel but have a lot of respect for those who can be. It requires all types to make a wheel turn round.

My parents have a cassette tape recording of me when I was seven, being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied that I wanted to be an inventor. It may have taken me 25 years to get there but better late than never…

It seems to run in the family – a couple of years ago my son (who was seven at that time) announced one Saturday morning that he was going to set up a stall outside our flat and sell his old toys. He sat out there every Saturday from that day onwards, come rain or shine, until we moved last year. He is currently planning his next venture.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the diversity of the role, from building prototypes and witnessing them become real-life products to seeing them serve customers in venues all over the world, from setting up internship programmes for students to negotiating at board level with household name brands. It’s an incomparable adventure.

What has been your career highlight so far?
There are many moments, of which I am very proud, that are far too boring to mention in an article – moments where I have been forced through painful, frustrating, laborious, seemingly never-ending periods of time but ultimately coming out on top through sheer perseverance and determination.

However, in terms of utterly thrilling pinnacles, nothing can beat the eureka moments, when the ideas for Safetray and G-Hold struck me, with my first hashed together prototypes turning something from my brain into something I could hold. It’s always a special moment.

When you were starting out, was it easy to find business support in Edinburgh?
We were put on the High-Growth Pipeline of Business Gateway, providing access to financial and advisory support. Having consulted at Scottish-based business network, Thrive for Business I was fortunate enough to have access to a brilliant network of business owners and advisors. I wrote about the start-up phase in a blog over the first few months which can still be read here.

What advice would you give someone considering striking out on their own?
I am a big believer in knocking on doors to be heard when you’re starting out. I didn’t get onto the High Growth Pipeline initially but I kept going back until I met the criteria. I had a few funding applications turned down but I just kept applying. The Angel Syndicate that I first presented to for equity funding turned me down to begin with but I spent time understanding what would make them invest and, six months later, I returned with a revised plan and the deal was successful. For fear of sounding cheesy, I don’t believe in the word ‘no’ being absolute – just part of the journey towards a ‘yes’. Of course, there’s a fine line between persistence and stupidity and you have to be careful not to cross that border.

I would always advise sticking to an industry that you know and understand, and to ensure that you’re solving a real-life problem in a planned and meaningful way. It’s also crucial that you surround yourself with the best team of professional advisors, in my case Johnson Carmichael as accountants and MBM Commercial as lawyers. In both cases it’s the individuals that you work with that make the difference.

It’s important to remember that it is your own choice to start a business, nobody is forcing you into it. You have to take responsibility for that decision and for its consequences. It will not be an easy adventure but, if you really believe in what you’re doing, that will not put you off. I admit to having had a couple of days when, at the worst points of the journey, I just hid under the duvet in fear. But I had to get up, brush myself off and keep on trucking. It’s truly amazing what we can all achieve when we take away the option to give up.

A start-up feels like a love affair – or it should do – and that passion is infectious when you are communicating it in the early stages. As the company progresses, it feels a bit more like a marriage, requiring a whole new level of commitment and you have to work hard to keep that passion alive. New products and new territories really help to keep that passion alive for me.

Quickfire Questions

Describe Edinburgh in three words
Enchanting, eclectic, home.

When you’re not working, where in Edinburgh do you head to relax and unwind?
Dynamic Earth is always fun to visit with my boys and in the summer we can be found playing keepy-uppies in Bruntsfield Links. For grown-up time I like catching up with friends at The Fountain in Fountainbridge. I’m excited to see that area transform. My default after-hours venue would be the Jazz Bar.

What’s your mantra when it comes to work?
As Coco Chanel said: ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.’

See the full article here

Posted by Caroline Whitham.