Laura Birrell and Sticky Heelz
An entrepreneur who has already secured a deal to sell her products in nearly 500 Superdrug stores, is set to break into the American market after signing a distribution deal with a New York sales agent.
Laura Birrell launched Sticky Heelz, a line of heel and arch pads for shoes, in 2015, and now believes that a targeted sales and marketing campaign by TSB Sales Service in the USA will see her products hit the shelves of leading American stores by the end of the year.
Since launching the business with support from Business Gateway, Laura has had her products listed in stores and online at Boots and Superdrug. She has already had 20,000 units of her foot care products shipped across the Atlantic in advance of an American e-commerce website going live this month.
She said: “Having been part of a trade mission to Manhattan last year, I knew I needed to secure a sales agent that American buyers could talk directly to. I’m delighted to be working with TSB Sales Service, as the firm has inroads with the home shopping network as well as Walmart and Walgreens. Already Sonja Morgan of The Real Housewives of New York has contacted me asking to test my range. Her endorsement would significantly raise the profile of Sticky Heelz with our target market in the US.”
She added: “Securing listings with Boots and Superdrug were two of my main aims when I first started; the third was to break into America. To be able to say I’ve achieved those goals in three years feels surreal. When I initially came up with the idea for my heel pad I went to Business Gateway Lanarkshire and with their help I received Financial Readiness support to secure my initial investment deal and an IP Audit, ensuring I was able to safeguard my brand and product designs.
“Now, my adviser is connecting me with Scottish Enterprise through its Growth Pipeline for innovation support and Scottish Development International for exporting advice that will help me grow the business further.”
Tom Pettigrew, Business Gateway Lanarkshire, said: “Sticky Heelz has steadily grown since bringing its first product to market three years ago. By accessing our support Laura was able to confidently launch her range and cement her reputation as an innovative designer of foot care products.”
The inspiration for her two-part heel product arose after Laura, a former corporate development director of the building research establishment, bought a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes that were half a size too big.
Working with a product design company, the Great British Entrepreneur GoDo Entrepreneur of the year 2017 for Scotland and Northern Ireland, turned her initial prototype, made out of sticky back plasters and Velcro, into the unique system sold today.
The product ensures shoes stay firmly in place, reducing friction and keeping painful blisters at bay.
Developing further products with the help of a podiatrist, Dr Vicki Cameron, Laura launched her teardrop arch pads last year and aims to bring a further product to market in September.
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