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A young entrepreneur from Gourock has reimagined the traditional kneepad design to launch a product aimed at tradespeople which reduces pressure on the knee by 76%.
Vicky Hamilton, 27, a product design engineering graduate from the University of Strathclyde, originally developed Recoil Kneepads as part of her final year project. She was inspired to help her dad, Gordon Hamilton, 48 who suffers from osteoarthritis, which he believes has been caused by his lifelong career as a joiner. Vicky’s design incorporates a double layer system that absorbs impact and reduces pressure across the entire knee joint, rather than focusing on one small area. The result is Recoil Protective Kneepads, which she is now launching to the public.
The product is aimed at manual workers with the annual rate of musculoskeletal injuries in the construction sector statistically significantly higher (approx. 2%) than all other industries (1.3%), according to HSE (2014/2015).
From design to reality
After university, Vicky had secured a ‘safe’ graduate job in the energy industry, but with support and encouragement from entrepreneurial organisations including the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, she decided to turn Recoil into a reality and start her own business. In June 2015 she secured the necessary £65k to bring Recoil to life from the Scottish EDGE fund.
Vicky said: “The idea for Recoil came about one evening when I was listening to my dad complain about his sore knees at the dinner table. None of the kneepads he had tried were helping and it suddenly clicked that I could create something that would improve life for him and other tradespeople. A huge amount of research has gone into the development of Recoil Kneepads over the last four years to create a product that outperforms those already available on the market.”
The kneepads have been put through their paces at the University of Strathclyde, with tests finding they decrease pressure by 76%, making them more effective at reducing pain than the major competitor brands. The nearest competitor reduces pressure by 60.7%.
Vicky’s dad, Gordon, says: “I am extremely proud of what Vicky has achieved. She has certainly found a solution to a problem myself and many others in the trade suffer from. I find Recoil Kneepads extremely comfortable and they make prolonged kneeling a lot more bearable. I never thought my complaining would have resulted in such a fantastic product!”
Vicky adds: “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the support of organisations with a wealth of entrepreneurial experience. Starting my own business has been rewarding and exciting with Recoil going from strength to strength. I urge others with a great idea up their sleeve to seek out professional guidance and discover what they can achieve. I want Recoil to have a positive impact within the UK business community. We manufacture the kneepads locally, in Edinburgh, and I plan to invest in job creation over the next year. I’m also very interested in connecting with potential stockists over the next few months.”
Aside from managing the day-to-day running of the business, Vicky delivers talks to budding entrepreneurs across the country, encouraging them to take the leap and start their own business or consider a career in STEM, within which a significant gender gap still exists. She has also travelled to promote the product internationally at The National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
The kneepads are available to purchase at http://recoilkneepads.com/ at a price of £49.99 (VAT included) and are also available from Amazon.
Top Picture: Vicky Hamilton, inventor of the Recoil kneepads, with her father Gordon.