Vicky Hamilton, 25, a product design engineering graduate from the University of Strathclyde, originally developed Recoil Kneepads as part of her final year project.
She was inspired to create the product by her dad, Gordon Hamilton, 48 who suffers from osteoarthritis, which he believes has been caused by his lifelong career as a joiner.
Vicky’s design incorporates a double layer system that absorbs impact and reduces pressure across the entire knee joint.
With the annual rate of musculoskeletal injuries in the construction sector around 2% higher than all other industries, the kneepads are designed specifically to protect manual workers’ knees.
With support and encouragement from organisations such as the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, she decided to start her own business. In June 2015 she secured £65k from the Scottish EDGE fund to bring Recoil to life.
Vicky said: “The idea for Recoil came about one evening when I was listening to my dad complain about his sore knees at the dinner table.
“None of the kneepads he had tried were helping and it suddenly clicked that I could create something that would improve life for him and other tradespeople.”
The kneepads have been put through their paces at the University of Strathclyde, with tests finding they decrease pressure by 76%, making them more effective at reducing pain than the major competitor brands. The nearest competitor reduces pressure by 60.7%.
Vicky’s dad, Gordon, said: “I am extremely proud of what Vicky has achieved, she has certainly found a solution to a problem myself and many others in the trade suffer from.
“I find Recoil Kneepads extremely comfortable and they make prolonged kneeling a lot more bearable - I never thought my complaining would have resulted in such a fantastic product!"
Vicky added: “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the support of organisations with a wealth of entrepreneurial experience. Starting my own business has been rewarding and exciting with Recoil going from strength to strength.
“I urge others with a great idea up their sleeve to seek out professional guidance and discover what they can achieve.
“I want Recoil to have a positive impact within the UK business community. We manufacture the kneepads locally, in Edinburgh, and I plan to invest in job creation over the next year. I’m also very interested in connecting with potential stockists over the next few months.”
Vicky now delivers talks to budding entrepreneurs across the country, encouraging them to take the leap and start their own business or consider a career in STEM, within which a significant gender gap still exists. She has also travelled to promote the product internationally, recently returning from her second year exhibiting at The National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.