Time passes so quickly, especially when you are running a small business, so many different deadlines and places to be. Its hard to believe that The Scratch Shield was first introduced to the market in January 2012. It was this realisation that inspired this blog post. A few milestones, a brief insight of how it started and the journey since.
July 2011- Two British entrepreneurs discussed the idea and decided to take the plunge. The formalities concluded the various operations began. Design, Patent application, tool making, packaging design. Say it quickly it doesn't sound like much, but each of these takes a considerable amount of time and effort, none without frustrations and challenges that every small business face on a daily business, not to mention the fact that the economy was still on its knees and small business owners were pretty much the outcast of society, especially as far as banks were concerned. But persistence, tenacity and sheer hard work got a finished item ready to market. Designed, manufactured and packaged in the UK,  as mentioned in previous blog posts.
January 2012- An amount of "Pre launch marketing" had gone on within the trade, but this was low key, prototype basis, officially the world still didn't know about The Scratch Shield and nobody had seen the finished product in the flesh. One week before the "Autosport International Show" at the N.E.C, Birmingham, (the venue for the official launch), we still didn't have a finished product. Literally the day before (and well into the evening), the first few Scratch Shields were being packaged ready to be revealed to the world for the first time. The analogy of the duck swimming on a pond fits us for this period. On the surface (hopefully) appearing calm and relaxed, absorbing the excitement and energy, but under the surface our legs were going ten to the dozen. But overall a successful launch.
2012-2013- The following couple of years were a whirlwind, our feet really didn't touch the ground, new customers, international and domestic interest, our forecast sales expectations blown out of the water and what an incredible learning curve. One of the things we were constantly asked for was a substantial lid for the buckets. The observant reader will have picked up on the fact that we have only mentioned the Scratch Shield and at no point mentioned buckets. The reason for this is, we don't make buckets! We do sell them and in numbers much higher that we expected. Our low expectations (regarding bucket sales) was simply because the market is saturated with cheap buckets of all shapes, sizes and prices. We designed The Scratch Shield to be versatile and fit the majority of these buckets, which brought the added advantage of it coming flat packed, which makes it easy and cheap to store and post. But we included buckets to compliment the Scratch Shield and sales continue to be strong. So it seemed logical to design and manufacture our versatile (ish) "Seat Lid". It was designed to be easily customised, as this was something a lot of business were asking us about with regards The Scratch Shield, but due to tooling changes and patent issues the volumes required were off putting to a lot of businesses. So a fully customisable "seat lid" was launched. Truth be told its an over engineered product, but we had built a reputation for quality and were not willing to lose it.
2014-2016- The Scratch Shield, Seat Lid and buckets continue to grow, a few takers for the custom option on the seat lid, everything flowing smoothly and then in June 2016 The UK voted to leave the EU. Brexit! As a small manufacturer, with a solid export business, we feared the worst, but our fears were unfounded, the opposite happened, we couldn't manufacture quickly enough. Existing customers were selling more than ever, new customers, new international markets and the growth continued.We also managed to create a new look website, with fresh, up to date photographs during this period.

2017- 2019- Take over attempts, spotlight on "single use plastics", Patent news and Brexit. We often receive emails and speculative letters asking "if we wanted to sell?". The answer has always been "No". We were to remain under the ownership of the founders, who had not planned on an exit and hadn't considered selling. But during 2017, one persistent prospective buyer insisted "name your price" kind of approach. Our reply was, "submit your best proposal", inevitably that didn't happen, but for a while we had dreams of exotic holidays and sports cars. The rest would be squandered. October 2018, seven years after the initial application The Scratch Shield patent was granted, probably one of the most significant milestones in our brief history. The spotlight on single use plastics is something that we all have a responsibility for. Strictly speaking The Scratch Shield is not a single use product it is also made from recycled plastics as is the packaging, as well as having the ability to be fully recycled. Now that we have a granted patent we are changing to a more environmentally friendly packaging as well as a new design, we will continue to do as much as we can on this matter. As we leave the EU after three and a half years of speculation, we have the next 11 months to fully understand the impact. We believe we have our "ducks in a row", but there is still some uncertainty about the cost of materials, duties and admin. But nothing we cant adapt to.

2020- We continue to explore new ideas and products that will make a difference, so watch this space for updates. We shall indulge in a small celebration as we pass eight years and hope, you too will join us for the rest of the journey.