My Story: 1980-1999

 

1980

My daughter, Emily, is born with Stickler Syndrome (www.stickler.org.uk), a congenital condition where the child is born with, among other things, an abnormally small lower jaw, posterior cleft palate, and an abnormally set back or posterially placed tongue);

1984

I begin working on designing a feeder for babies with sucking problems.  The first prototypes of the Haberman Feeder (which is the subject of a UK Patents 2169210 and 2131301) are produced with the help of a private company. Testing begins on six healthy babies followed by successful testing on babies with feeding problems. I sets up my own company and The Haberman Feeder goes into production and is sold throughout the world to specialist units, hospitals and clinics.

1990

Visiting the home of another parent and watching their children spill juice over the carpet, inspires me into action once again to solve the problem of leaky toddler's beakers. I set about designing a leak-proof trainer cup that seals between sips. The Anywayup Cup is born.

1992

The first of many patents is filed and granted (patent no. GB-B-2266045). It protects my idea that uses a slit valve to control the flow of liquid through the spout of a trainer cup. Additional patents both for the UK and overseas are later filed and granted

1993

Prototypes are offered for a license to 18 companies, mostly British, concerned with the manufacture of products for infants. Among them is Jackel International Limited. Although the response is enthusiastic, for various reasons, no license is issued.

1995

I join forces with a small Cardiff-based company V&A Marketing Ltd who specialise in marketing innovative products. The company employs five people. They produce prototypes for showing at two baby and toddler fairs. £10,000 advance orders are secured.

1996

The Anywayup Cup starts to sell in unprecedented numbers (a rate of 60,000 per week). An audacious ploy of sending the chief buyer of a supermarket chain an Anywayup Cup filled with juice through the post, sees the product onto the shelves.  Sales soar.

US Company "The First Years Inc" are signed up as exclusive USA licensees, selling trainer cups under the Tumble Mates brand.

1997

Sebastian Conran Associates (now Conran & Partners) is appointed to redesign the Anywayup Cup.

1998

The Anywayup Cup is stocked by all major supermarkets and chemists and is sold in Australia, South Africa, America and most of Europe. Sales are approaching four million.

V&A take a license and invest in their own factory to manage increasing production. MAPA, a key distributor is appointed to sell the Anywayup Cup under its own brand name NUK Magic Cup in Europe, and beyond.

We take legal action against Jackel International Limited when we spot a Tommee Tippee cup on sale that is like my early prototype.

1999

World sales of my invention total seven million per annum - still rising. Sebastian Conran Associates designs the Anywayup Smiley Cup - a new version of the same technology - developed in conjunction with the UK Health Education Authority to coincide with its dental health campaign "Smile".

I successfully win the legal battle over my invention after suing Jackel International, the firm that copied my idea. An injunction preventing further infringement of the patent lifts the threat of lay-offs for the workers in Cardiff. Jackel International take leave to appeal.

The Anywayup Cup is awarded the accolade of "Millennium Product" and exhibited in the Spiral of Invention at The O2, London and the ongoing travelling exhibition. The tour schedule includes: Poland, France, Hungary, Norway, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

 


 

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