Seasons Greetings

The team at Sated Design would like to wish all our past, present and future clients, suppliers and friends a very warm and joyous Christmas.  May your festive season be everything you hope for.

We are looking forward to a nice break away from the office, with much eating, drinking and laughing with family and friends over the festive season.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Let’s create something great together

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Product Safety Consultation

Last week, the Department for Business and Trade launched a product safety consultation, in a bid to reform the current regulatory framework for product safety. The consultation, open until 24th October, is being announced as part of the Government’s Smarter Regulation Programme.

This news came shortly after the announcement that the UKCA marking deadline was to be extended by a further two years

While we commend a review into the current framework around standards, we would question whether it is possible to make such reforms, when resources such as Trading Standards and Third-Party Test Houses are already overstretched. Derogation and e-labelling reforms are all well and good, so long as there are robust policies and organisations in place to ensure these are not exploited. Take for example the problems of cyber security we all encounter day by day with spurious websites and hacking, let alone the lies told as supposed facts.

Dodgy products are a scourge to our collective safety, and we would like greater scrutiny of any product coming in from offshore, not less. In all honesty we must expect unscrupulous manufacturers and importers to take every advantage, and to exploit every vulnerability and loop- hole they can. Being offshore is a great way to hide things, especially if an e-certificate says it is compliant. The earlier point about cyber security should ring alarm bells.

Back to the marking of products. It would be ideal if all territories could come on board with this proposal within a unified framework agreement. The proposal does not mention the problems of products carrying multiple territory compliance markings and how to accommodate different languages.

The consultation document includes several questions, and it urges us to respond to these via the online survey. This is not something you can do during a quick break. It is a big survey to do correctly, and the submission of proof will put many people off. Rather than kick the issues of deadlines down the road and tie business up in consultations they don’t have time to deal with, might we offer two suggestions for HM Gov to think about.

  • Get to grips with UKCA and get on with it or bin it within the term of this parliament because the UK needs to know one way or the other and not watch the can being kicked down the road to land in someone else’s back yard to deal with.
  • Level the playing field for UK businesses who are making good products by getting tough on those who evade their compliance responsibility.

These suggestions will clarify the situation post Brexit and give the UK a robust mechanism to deter products coming onto the market that have no right to be there.

Let’s create something great together

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Funding Your New Product Development

April sees the start of a new financial year for most businesses. Once the year end is out of the way, it’s a good time to start planning your future activity and look at any new product development opportunities you might have been considering for a while.

Taking a great product to manufacture takes time and money, however there are funding opportunities in existence to help with this process. In this article we’ll look at ways of supporting and funding fledgling businesses.

The Business Support Finder and Find a Grant platforms are really useful for identifying any possible sources of Government funding for your business. There are also companies out there like Fund Onion and Fin point who run business finance platforms that match small business owners to their most suitable lenders for free. You can also make use of Grant Writers, like Grant Up to help you plan and write your application.

However, you can investigate and apply for funding yourself and if you fit the criteria, you can use these grants to help you on your way to getting your product manufactured whether you are an individual or a business.

Below are a few options to help point you in the right direction:

Barclays Eagle Labs
The Eagle Labs can help whether you are a start up or scale up business. The Digital Growth Grant will fund training resources and opportunities for entrepreneurs, including a Learning Management System providing virtual training to over 10,000 businesses and training modules created for young people to inspire the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies. Businesses can receive up to £150,000 through the scheme.

British Design Fund
The British Design Fund is an early stage investment fund that specifically invests in, and provides support for early stage UK product design and manufacturing companies.

Syndicate Room
Syndicate Room is an organisation that enables members of the public to invest in the same projects as professional “lead” investors, while providing everyone with the same economic terms and legal protections. Lead investors will conduct their own valuations and due diligence before investing, and members of the public will benefit from the reassurance that their money is being invested in a promising project.

South West Enterprise Fund (SWEF)
If you are aged between 18-30 and based in the South West region, this fund offers start up businesses grants up to £2,000 to start or grow your new business venture.

Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding has revolutionised the way businesses and projects are funded, allowing small start-ups to use the power of the internet, social media and engagement to raise funds from a number of investors.
You can read Hillside Product Design’s Crowdfunding article to find out more detail about how to best utilise these platforms.

Sated Design have further financial advice partners to get you set-up from the outset and help you fund getting your product to market. Just contact us for the most up to date information.
Please reference Sated Design and/or Hillside Product Design Limited if you contact any of these parties.

And then when you’re ready, we can help to make your new product idea a reality!

One final tip is to check with HMRC or an Accountant that you are doing things in the right order. For example, a start-up company would need to consider things like VAT and R&D tax credits but if these aren’t done at the right time, you might find that you are not able to claim everything you are entitled to.

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World IP Day

Intellectual Property Protection (IPP) legally identifies the originator and owner of your idea and gives you exclusive rights to exploit it. In the simplest terms, if you are unable to legally protect your new product or choose not to protect it, then competitors could not be prevented from copying all your hard work!

The adult toy industry is notorious for unscrupulously copying great ideas. Both securing effective IPP and taking swift and aggressive action to stomp out copy cats are both crucial to maintaining your competitive edge.

Tuesday 26th April marks World IP Day so in celebration of this fact, we have compiled a list of our Top 5 Tips for protecting your New Product Development (NPD).

  1. Keep the secret
    It is important that the early stages of a project are kept as secret as possible, until you have suitable Intellectual Property (IP) measures in place. Releasing details of your idea into the public domain (which includes your friends) without protection may jeopardise the chances of your IPP applications being granted.
  2. Non-Disclosure
    If you need to discuss your idea with anyone, such as a supplier, use a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) document to ensure that all parties understand their obligations to keep the discussions secret.
  3. Research, Research, Research
    Research existing product and patents using internet search engines and patent databases. There are many free patent databases that you can use to carry out your own searching, but professional patent searches and patent attorneys who specialise in such services will almost certainly dig deeper and could find documents that are more relevant than those found by a novice searcher.
  4. Utilise the expertise of others
    A design consultancy team like Sated Design will help you explore the idea and identify where the novel elements of the design might be. The designers can help with providing descriptions of claims and supporting illustrations which will reduce your search and filing fees significantly.
  5. Get professional help
    When you are confident you have established what the main strengths of your idea are then you should investigate the best form of IPP. Attempting a DIY IPP is not the best approach and can do more harm than good. There are a number of ways to protect the intellectual property of your idea and we recommend that you speak with an IPP expert such as a Patent Attorney.

At Sated Design we have excellent links with trusted and experienced IP attorneys in several specialisms who can help you to gain the right protection. We have established clear working protocols that enable them to offer our clients favourable, fixed cost structures by keeping their involvement focused in key areas and at key stages in the NPD process. It has been our experience that even when allowing for the costs attributed to these services, our clients still save themselves time and money in the long run.

You can find out more in our company Information Pack. Contact us now to get your copy.

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A long time coming – The adult toy industry finally gets a set of quality standards

Sated Design’s mission has always been to bring legitimate product design into the ‘wild west’ of adult toys. News of the new ISO 3533: Sex toys design and safety standards is music to our ears when so many products in the marketplace are badly designed, poorly made and risk harming the end users.

Considering how and where adult toys are used, a lack of safety and quality standards particularly with regards to materials has posed huge risks to the professionalism and reputation of the industry. The disregards of some for even the most basic diligence in materials and design has caused medical related problems for end users; so much so that the formation of the new ISO 3533 was reported as being initially proposed by medical professionals, concerned by the number of sex toy related surgical procedures and ailments they were seeing.

In our opinion there is no excuse for producing a product that risks harming its user and there are many safety standards which are sidestepped by crafty use of product descriptions. It is common knowledge that adult toy products can still fall in the “novelty product” category which means a set of tight industry standards are not applied. And yet, as the adult toy industry grows strongly (some estimate that its value will reach more than $36.1 billion by 2027), the industry is still struggling to be taken seriously.

Many resellers and a great many more consumers remain ignorant to the risks a badly designed adult toy can cause. Adoption of the voluntary ISO 3533 by designers and manufacturers with support from marketing could prove to be a great mechanism to raise awareness and use market forces to drive away those few who spoil it for everyone else. The certification will mean recognition for those who are producing best in class, high quality products. This will raise the bar for the quality of adult toys and the longer term hope is that this will percolate down to the consumers via the retailers so consumers will understand how to make the right product choices.

Sated Design is a company of product designers who are working on the cutting edge of new materials, processes and technologies in an incredibly diverse range of disciplines. It is our ethos that every adult toy product we design will be safe and fit for purpose. We welcome any standard, voluntary or otherwise that supports the work we do.

If you have an idea for a new adult toy or wish to review a current one we’d be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us today.

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The ElectraStim project.

We were delighted to work once again with our client ElectraStim on a brand-new electro-stimulation device to celebrate their 20 years in the SexTech industry.

Our services can be easily tailored to suit the client and, in this instance we were commissioned to create an external case for the internal electronic components of the new product. ElectraStim had already produced their internal electronic components and had a well-defined specification for the size, shape, style and construction of the case that they wanted so we were able to take their specification and quickly interpret what was required. Read more in our portfolio.

The new KIX product looks great, and we wish ElectraStim every success with launching it into the marketplace.

If you’ve got an idea for a new adult toy product or need a bit of help with refreshing a current one, we can help you on your journey. We understand the drive you have to satisfy the desires of your customers and it’s our aim to satisfy your needs for quality, innovation and product design.
Contact us today.

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The Power of Prototyping

Why use prototypes in your new Adult Toy development?

Providing a link between a world of virtual design and real life, a prototype is a vital way of testing designs. 2D images do have a place in the designing process but there is no substitute for holding something real in your hand, no more so than when developing an adult toy. Our prototypes offer extremely high levels of accuracy and intricacy resulting from the application of modern prototyping techniques such as high resolution 3D printing, computer controlled machining and casting of medical grade elastomers. Our prototyping techniques can provide stunning results.

For a Sex Toy developer, a prototype is a preliminary version of the intended product and can be used not only for user testing but also to sign-off on important factors such as the form and feel of the product, or to inform the designer of necessary adjustments to mechanisms or tolerances of parts for performance and assembly. The prototype can also help the project stake-holders to make the best decisions for the project and optimise the development journey leading up to manufacture and launch. It is therefore vital to clearly define the purpose for the prototype as this is key to how a prototype should be prepared and can save unwarranted work.

Naturally, the final product will be a part of an intimate human interaction, but the sooner that user/product experience is evaluated, then the better that interaction can be. It is impossible to overstate how important prototyping is to ensuring an effective product design and development process, delivering the optimum results and ultimately a great end-user experience.

Here at Sated Design we have in-house prototyping capabilities alongside a large catalogue of external suppliers for all manner of prototyping services, enabling our expert model-makers to produce competitively priced, high-quality prototypes for the Adult-Toy Industry within tight deadlines.

Do you have an idea for an adult toy?

If you do, or if you want to compliment one of your current designs, or are even just looking for a fresh perspective on a current product, please contact the team here at Sated Design.

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