PRODUCT designers are the unsung heroes of the high street.
Their hard work and designs ensure the products that fill our homes work without a hitch.
And there are two designers hiding out in the hills of Mytholmroyd.
Mike Wilshaw and Pete Klymczuk met while working for another company. Three years ago they decided to set up on their own.
Their office in Topland Country Business Park is littered with sketches, prototypes and products. And if variety is the spice of life, this office is on fire. There are kids armbands, bike clamps, sketches for secret cookware products on the wall, there’s an inocuous piece of metal work I am assured is revolutionary and even a portable pink pole for pole dancers in the corner.
So, what is it they do? They’re a little bit like Dragon’s Den, they tell me.
“We work with entreupeneurs and inventors and people with design ideas,” says Mike.
“Someone comes to us with an idea and we work with it and try make it a reality,” adds business partner Pete.
“We turn ideas into products and help get it onto the market,” finishes Mike.
The pair work with big companies and with small single-owner businesses.
Many of their current products are top secret because of intellectual property and patent laws but there are plenty of success stories to share.
They range from the cute to the practical. They teamed up with Harrogate author Donna Heaton to make “Monkey Swimmers.” They are best described as foam armbands which help kids swim as they are made up of several rings of foam, each can be “popped” off as the child’s buoyancy improves. Their first look at the finished product arrived from Amazon as we spoke.
They were first approached to work on that product 18 months ago, now it is for sale in shops across the country for £19.99.
They have recently completed a project for an Oldham company making card readers for Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia the water systems aren’t centralised. Drivers take tankers to collection points to collect their water which they sell on. But the existing system was an unattended lever - leaving it open to abuse.
So imagine a “pay at the pump” petrol system. The pair have developed a system where drivers use swipe cards instead. But the heat of the desert added its own problems, it had to be durable to high temperatures and sand.
The project had a quick turnaround of nine months but took hours of 3D Computer Aided Design software to produce.
They then had to test the product in a shed heated to 50C.
“As technical products go it was a fun one, it shows we get to do all sorts,” said Mike.
For them the buzz comes from seeing people using a product they’ve helped get to the shelves, and the variety of what they do that gives them their kicks.
“It’s definitely eclectic,” said Mike. To find out more about Radius Creative visit www.radiuscreative.co.uk.