Enterprising mum Claire Bradwell is targeting exports with her invention to keep young children amused when they are being treated for a condition commonly known as “clicky hip”.
Claire, aged 29, came up with the idea for her Hip Rocker when daughter, Daisy, had to spend three months in a plaster cast stretching from her toes to her chest because she was born with hip dysplasia.
The cast keeps the ball of the hip in the socket of the pelvis while the two develop, but means the young child cannot move about.
That’s where the Hip Rocker – a jellybean-shaped rocking chair incorporating a table for toys – came in.
Claire started making the chairs at Rotherham Investment and Development Office’s Century Business Centre in Manvers, after taking part in a Prince’s Trust Exploring Enterprise Course.
She went on to win a Prince’s Trust/RBS Enterprise Award and discovered that the Hip Rocker is also ideal for children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and lower limb problems.
Now, new markets are opening up in Australia, Ireland and Norway and Claire has moved to a cottage in Wadsley, Sheffield, with a large stable and hayloft that has become a workshop for making Hip Rockers.
When Claire got her first enquiry from Australia, she contacted Bob Langley from Rotherham Investment and Development Office’s Soft Landing Zone, a European Union-backed initiative that helps Rotherham companies to sell abroad.
“I didn’t have any idea how to go about arranging payment for overseas customers or what to do about things like charging VAT. I hadn’t expected to begin trading overseas so quickly,” says Claire.
“Bob helped me to understand more about the export side of the business and trading internationally, which was a great help and gave me the confidence to approach business overseas professionally and correctly.”
Bob Langley said: “Claire has done exceptionally well in establishing and growing a business not just in the UK, but in a number of other countries.”