Jo Bradford, Holidoze Ltd.

The Polymer Cluster is pleased to be helping an innovative mother-of-three in the production of an inspirational inflatable cot, to be officially launched at the International Baby and Child Fair at the NEC, Birmingham, in October 2004 and on sale at independent retailers at the beginning of April this year.

Funded by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund, the Polymer Cluster is a Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor project that offers access to packages of free, practical support and collaborative opportunities for eligible companies in the polymer and related industries.

Jo Bradford, a former accountant who returned to complete a BSc in Computer Aided Design at the University of Wolverhampton, was looking for inspiration for her final year project. While waiting to pick up her eldest daughter from work, she watched as a mother struggled from a nearby hotel with a young baby plus all the paraphernalia she needed – and an idea was borne.

Jo carried out much direct research in the street to find out what mums with babies really wanted. She found that 89% were unhappy with their present travel cot. The priorities she established were safety features, ease of assembly, quality, weight, folded size and cost. Jo set out to bring the inflatable cot concept to reality, using her newly-acquired design skills alongside her established business expertise, and set up her own company, Holidoze Ltd., in summer 2003.

Already the holder of several business awards, Joanne also received the 2003 Lord Stafford Award for the Best Student Business Plan and won both the Bizcom competition organised by the Mercia Institute of Enterprise and the Caparo Engineering Prize for the Best Product Design.

The Holidoze cot weighs just four kilos, half the weight of alternatives, and can be tightly packed away. Ten of the cots are currently being tested by mums and nurses and their responses have been very positive. “People already want to buy the cots and one of the mums said her baby wouldn’t sleep in anything else now”, says Jo.

Jo approached the Polymer Cluster for help with safety testing to ensure her product met required regulations. She found that the current standards set applied to travel cots with wooden frames and, as a newly invented product, her inflatable cot would need an additional set of specific requirements as yet not covered by the current Standards. The Polymer Cluster was able to offer support through its partner Rapra Technology, Europe's leading independent plastics and rubber consultancy. Rapra developed analytical and physical test protocol against which the Holidoze could be evaluated to demonstrate that the cot’s safety had been established. "I really appreciated the opportunity to take advantage of Rapra's expertise" says Jo.  "The Polymer Cluster team have all been very encouraging and supportive."

"Although the cot is being manufactured in China, Jo will manage production, distribution and marketing operations from premises in Haybrook Industrial Estate, Telford, and hopes that this will provide an opportunity to create new jobs."

Jo’s future plans also include an environmental element; she intends to offer a recycling facility to mums who won’t be passing on their cots when their children are grown. Holidoze will take back outgrown cots to send them to the Red Cross for distribution in areas of need or recycle them into repair kits. Jo is also working on designs for new products – a seaside snoozer and slumber bumper.

For further information please contact:

Jill McCallum

Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor

University of Wolverhampton

Telford Campus

Priorslee

Telford TF2 9NT

Tel: 01902 321748

Fax: 01902 321652

Email: Jill@technology-corridor.co.uk

Web: www.polymercluster.co.uk www.ae-cluster.co.uk