Gabe & Enid

Growing spurts of newborn babies can mean new shoes every three to four months, making the first years of life incredibly expensive.

Even with the quick turnover in size, children comprise 8% of the global shoe market. In response, Lizy White developed Grow: a child’s plastic sandal that can be lengthened and widened to accommodate for the development of the foot.

Speaking about the Co-Innovate experience, brand owner Andrew Dobson said, “I think you’ve got to be prepared to go in open minded. Certain things change. The idea or the investment level might change so you’ve got to be flexible and prepared to potentially go in a different direction to where you set out and adapt your plans along the way. Co-Innovate gives you skills and learning to do that.”

Press and an evolving brand identity were some of the benefits that came with the inventive Grow product. Lizy was awarded £1,000 and a two-week placement in the Mars Design Studio at the 2014 New Designers exhibition, an annual graduate exhibition show.

After awarding Lizy, the judges said, “This design solves a genuine problem through a clear demonstration of design thinking and deeper exploration of potential solutions. There is great potential for this design to go into production, as well as mass customisation.”

Lizy now works as a Product Developer for Flair Leisure Products, making toys and managing a variety of brands. Co-Innovate helped prepare her. “Working with a company provides you with an instant ‘get go’,” she said. “You have a customer you are working for who provides valuable feedback and direction to your work. The amount of support I received was exceptional.”

Brunel University London is widely recognised for its design programmes and fostering industry standard skills. It is also ranked 33rd in the UK for research power by the Research Excellence Framework 2014, so linking this resource to SMEs is a natural step.

66-258275-dav0014-10“Small businesses are under pressure. I think Co-Innovate is a very good link for support.”
Andrew Dobson, Gabe & Enid brand owner.