Here’s the story of the design & invention of the Safety Food Peeler
After starting out with the Kiddies Food Kutter in 2000, the most common feedback I received up until 2014 from customers was unanimous.
“Gee if only we could buy a safe peeler also”.
“WOW this knife is great, if only they could peel as well“.
“My left-hander cannot peel, if only…..”.
“I could teach so much more in my cooking classes if we had a safe peeler!”.
It was undeniable that a Safety Food Peeler would sell, so the venture started.
Creating anything plastic in Australia was a no-no, and manufacturing anything in Australia was more costly (or was it?).
Sourcing a manufacturer
There were not too many manufacturers left in Melbourne so this was not that difficult, however, the importance was more with the longevity of the company ie what if they fold and I have the tooling created but not an ongoing place to keep producing them?
3D CAD drawings created
These were created in-house at the manufacturers I chose from my drawings and ideas, so from there through to Prototype through to production, it was all completed under the one roof.
Above is a picture of the one-and-only prototype that we produced, with no colour and of course it didn’t peel at this stage! From there I decided on a fingerprint circle at the forefront of the peeler (originally intended for vision impaired individuals). Also the back was strengthened for Adult use also.
Note ~ this fingerprint circle has been an outstanding feature for children, as a guideline to pop their forefinger on for guidance to slide along what they are peeling.
Cavity Pressed Tool
Always thinking ahead and having my usual grandiose ideas, instead of having a two cavity pressed tool, I opted for four cavity pressed tool. This allowed me to produce double the amount if required. I was thinking when I launch throughout the USA, would I be able to deliver the quantities that may be required into say WalMart?
Costing in China vs Australia Made & Owned
Well, most importantly I will highlight at this stage I had NO cashflow………. I mean zilch!
I priced the Cavity Pressed Tooling in China at 1/5 of the price in Melbourne. On the upside though, per piece to produce in Melbourne was comparable. But it was the minimum order quantities that made the decision for me.
In China the minimum quantity was 200,000 pieces – 50,000 of each colour Arggghhh then shipping and where would I store them?
Also how would I monitor the full process, and what would the integrity of the product I received at the end actually be?
In Melbourne, I could manufacture just 9,000 at a time on an as-required basis. I negotiated in the price of shipping also to my destination each time I purchased. So what I would save on shipping would reduce overall cost.
Financing the Venture
So the tooling cost was excessive, but the production costs per piece were comparable. No shipping. It was the lower minimum order quantities required in Melbourne that made that decision for me.
The fact that it would then be accredited Australian Made & Owned was a driving factor! To my delight, there was a case study written about my venture.
A dinner proceeded with my best male friend (whom I always liked discussing ideas with) and the summary was
yes, I want it to be made in Australia to create jobs within the manufacturing industry.
Yes, I was concerned at 200,000 pieces upfront from China (especially when I didn’t know if I will sell 1 peeler).
To my utter disbelief, he wrote me a cheque – with no conditions or timeframes – for the cost of the 3D CAD design drawings and the production of the four Cavity Press Tool. I was on my way!
I repaid this loan within 12 months.
To have someone believe in you to this degree just spurs you on to achieve and to work harder to succeed.
Branding and naming the tool
It started as Kiddies Food Peeler, but it was soon obvious I was limiting my market scope to just children.
It was identified that a high percentage of left handlers had difficulty using any peeler currently available.
My mother, who was 84 at that time with twisted arthritic hands (that could not unscrew even a simple jar or bottle) and diabetes, suggested that she have a try. I jokingly commented, “Mum you don’t peel any more you have meals on wheels.” Her reply “ Sure but that’s not always the case with the older generation”.
Mum had used my Kiddies Food Kutter for 14 years by now. Each time she was out of the house and her blood sugar was low she could saw through an apple on her hand anywhere she was.
The decision was made to scrap the branding name Kiddies and define it as “Safety Food Peeler”. The branding was marked into tooling and when the peeler was approved by Australian Made, the logo was placed on the front beside the wording.
Launching in November 2014,
I sold close to 1,000 Safety Food Peelers in the first week on Facebook and my website.
The Farmers Markets had commenced for the Spring Season and I attended every weekend, demonstrating the peeler on my market stand along with my Kiddies Food Kutter. I now had 2 incredible safety tools!
These were initially sold just in a thin clear bag with my business card inside, a far cry from the designed and branded packaging with skill card and barcoding for retail shops that I produce today!
5 years later…
I am so proud to say that I have produced and sold 93,000 Safety Food Peelers to date, worldwide.
What I have learned
You can follow a dream.
You can change careers at 50 years old (from corporate accounting) – it couldn’t be more of an obscure change either.
Run your business with no debt – my policy has always been payment before goods posted. No exceptions.
Purchase only what you can make payment on immediately.
Hard work does pay off if you are persistent, stay focused, are versatile, and take risks.