Finalist Updates #4: Nimble - We're excited to see what lies ahead in 2016
BHS Trial a Success
After being stocked in four BHS outlets over Christmas (top left in picture), the feedback we got was brilliant. We learnt how different product displays worked when compared against one another and we were also able to test two different price points to see how that affected the sales of Nimble too. Perhaps most useful of all, though, was the feedback the individual store managers gave us about Nimble: the price point, the packaging and customers’ initial thoughts and comments on Nimble as a whole.
BHS have expressed interest in stocking Nimble and other Version 22 products in the future, once we are able to achieve the scale and the retail prices that would best serve their customers. So watch this space!
Dr Alaster Yoxall Accessibility Review
In January this year Dr Alaster Yoxall, a world-renowned expert in accessible design, carried out an evaluation of Nimble and its packaging with several disabled and elderly volunteers (bottom right in picture).
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive for both Nimble and its packaging, with only a few small suggestions on ways to improve the packaging. These will be addressed by updating the graphics and product information during the next production run.
The Version 22 Trade Store
Earlier this year we officially launched the Version 22 Trade Store. The Trade Store is an access-only section of the Version 22 website where select trade partners, such as high street retailers, can place bulk orders electronically 24/7 (top right in picture). Retailers from Europe and even New Zealand have already started using this store to place their first orders with us! As well as making it easier for trade customers to do business with us, this store also frees us up to focus more on getting Nimble into the hands of more people.
RNIB (the Royal National Institute of Blind People) first got in touch with us at Rehacare in Dusseldorf last year where we were exhibiting Nimble. We have been having ongoing discussions since then and last month RNIB expressed their intent to place a large trial order of Nimble when it enters mass production in a few months’ time. To show how serious they are about placing this order they’ve set us up as a supplier already! During discussions with a key decision maker at RNIB they communicated that they believe Nimble could become a “star seller” product in RNIB’s range, meaning potential sales of 20,000-40,000 units annually… exciting stuff!
Nimble in the Press
Lee Barguss, who joined the Version 22 team late last year, has done a great job helping Nimble get noticed. In January alone Nimble was featured in TradePoint Magazine, The OT Magazine and Gizmodo (bottom left in picture)! This press generated interest from both trade and end-users alike.
Highlights from the last year
There are many events and milestones to choose from when picking the highlights of the last year as part of the Inclusive Technology Prize, but here are our favourites:
From Prototype to Production
Since March last year Nimble has gone from a handmade prototype to a short pre-production run of 200 Nimbles for testing, to a production run of 1,000 units in retail packaging to sell to the public and to trade. Without the support of the Prize there is no way things would have happened this quickly!
Usage and Attitude Study
August last year marked the start of a month-long usage and attitude study involving 160 volunteers around the UK. Over the course of this month the volunteers used Nimble on a day-to-day basis and fed back to us their experiences and opinions of Nimble. The feedback was insightful and, most importantly, very positive. This study helped us to measure the impact of Nimble and inform any final changes necessary before Nimble enters mass production in the coming months.
We exhibited Nimble at 4 tradeshows last year: The Mobility Roadshow, Naidex, Rehacare and The OT Show. Each was a valuable experience for different reasons, be it meeting potential distributors, speaking directly to end users, or getting the expert opinions of healthcare professionals. These events were a lot of work but also a lot of fun and well worth the effort!
We delivered on our first few trade orders with the stock we had to hand in January and are currently taking pre-orders to be fulfilled using the mass production run scheduled for March.
Over the next few months we will begin large scale manufacture of Nimble, funded in part by a crowdfunding campaign planned for Nimble over February/ March. Once the first large batch of Nimbles lands in the UK we will begin working with a local warehousing and fulfilment centre to help us manage the orders to both customers and trade partners.
Later on in the year two more product are planned for release. Development of both is currently underway, albeit in the early stages... one is a Nimble accessory!
We’ve got high hopes for 2016. If you’re interested in following us on our journey, head on over to our Facebook page here now and give us a like. We hope to see you there!