Family Business of the Year 2018

Phelps Innovations (Doddl)

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  • Henry Williams

Start-up name: Phelps Innovations (t/a Doddl)
Founders: Catherine Dodd and Rosie Phelps-Goggin
Started in: March 2016
Based in: Gloucestershire
Business description: Ergonomic children’s cutlery

The winner of Family Business of the Year at the Startups Awards 2018, Doddl was founded in 2013 by sisters Catherine Dodd and Rosie Phelps-Goggin.

With a significant proportion of school-aged children unable to use a knife and fork properly, Dodd came up with the idea of completely redesigning children’s cutlery to make it easier to use.

The sisters created the innovative Doddl knife, fork and spoon – perfectly shaped for a child’s hand to promote the development of the pincer grip – a key fine motor skill.

The product is helping children around the world the world improve control and coordination, whilst developing skills and confidence that make mealtimes more enjoyable for the whole family.

Despite some manufacturing issues, sales took off in mid-2017, and the brand went from turning over approximately £1,000 per month to 10 times that. Doddl is now available through its website, Amazon, Boots and Kidly. It is an Amazon bestseller and holds a five-star rating.

It’s also been endorsed by child healthcare experts including NHS occupational therapists, nutritionists and child development specialists.

This family-focused business is still only four strong and outsources everything from social media and PR, to graphic design, accounting and manufacturing.

It now has a “comprehensive product development programme” in conjunction with the University of Gloucestershire and plans to introduce three new product lines in 2019 and more planned for 2020.

Optiat, the skincare brand that uses waste coffee grounds and was founded by siblings Anna and William Brightman was Highly Commended. And H2O hygiene, the water hygiene specialist founded by Tom and Louise Davenport was Commended.

Henry Williams
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