Throughout June and July we are celebrating the county’s buoyant manufacturing industry. Coverage will be found in print and online. This is our second instalment profiling GripIt.
Jordan Daykin has just turned 20 and is well on his way to becoming a leading light in Wiltshire’s manufacturing landscape.
His company GripIt, based in Trowbridge, manufactures and distributes the world’s ultimate plasterboard fixing – allowing heavy objects to be secured on modern walls.
It’s almost a year since Jordan appeared on BBC TV’s business series Dragons’ Den to pitch for a substantial cash injection for the GripIt .
Jordan was 18 at the time and he pitched to the Dragons for two hours – with only a fraction of that pitch being seen on the transmitted show. He captivated Deborah Meaden who invested £80,000, allowing GripIt to invest in growing and developing a distribution network nationally and internationally.
For Jordan, and his grandfather Stan, this moment was a long time coming. The pair first invented the GripIt when Jordan was just 13 – and it was not the teenager’s first business. He’d been dreaming up money-making opportunities from an even earlier age.
However in 2008, Jordan’s father Nigel, also a businessman, was moving overseas and Jordan had chosen to move in with his grandparents Stan and Wendy.
Jordan said: “Grandad converted his garage into a bedroom for me and I was being really fussy and wanted a curtain rail and a black-out blind. I was trying to fit the blind, I was up there drilling and kept breaking drill bits. Grandad tried and had the same problem.
“We bought every fixing to try and secure it, we visited all of the usual DIY places and nothing worked. So we ended up going into the garage and mocking something up which did work.
“We didn’t think much of it immediately but over the following weeks, Grandad made the mechanism out of cardboard to prove that it did work and I did some research and found many, many people were having the same problems we had.”
The difference for Jordan and Stan was they were both business-minded. Stan, now 81, was an engineer by trade and had run his own businesses, Jordan had been brought up ‘playing’ at business ideas with his grandad. Turning the idea of the GripIt into a product, then into a business was a natural transition for them both.
“We took our time though,” Jordan said. “We wanted to do our research and get our patents sorted before we really started pushing the business forward.”
In 2012, GripIt was ready for launch. Early on Jordan sent samples to more than 400 companies and the orders starting to come in. The GripIts were being assembled on the family’s dining room table, packed overnight and sent out the next day.
With support from his family, Jordan was later able to invest in new machinery to enable more GripIts to be created per impression and by December 2013, the company had two vans, two demo teams, was working from two industrial units.
Jordan also saw another opportunity for both great support and great publicity.
“I’d always loved the show Dragons’ Den and had learned from my granddad that you learn from those who are successful in business – so I’d read the books of many of the Dragons. I decided to enter for the series, thinking it was a long shot but it could give us the money and, more importantly, the expertise take GripIt to the next level.
“To my amazement, we got through to the filming. We travelled to Manchester. I remember getting out of the lift and it all felt surreal, but after first three minutes of speaking, it was fine.”
Almost a year on, Deborah Meaden has proved to be a hands-on business partner, mentoring Jordan as he moves forward with the GripIt. In May, came Jordan’s proudest business moment.
“I can honestly say that this has been, to date, my proudest business moment. Signing the deal with our first global distributor RS, has been momentous for us.”
GripIt’s signing with RS Components is a big deal. RS is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. With operations in 32 countries, Electrocomponents plc offers around 500,000 products online, through catalogues and at trade counters, shipping more than 44,000 parcels a day.
The announcement also marked the launch of the second generation GripIt which is even more user-friendly. RS has exclusivity to distribute the new GripIt for two months. Jordan is already in talks to take the GripIt to the USA.
To find out more about the GripIt visit: www.gripitfixings.co.uk/new-gripit-2015/