Inventor Case Study – Lockabox

Just 12 months after the initiation of the project, the first batch of product was delivered to retailers.


Introduction to Hillside Product Design

The client, Peter, was introduced to Hillside Product Design by an injection moulding company in order to discuss the design and manufacture of a product concept he had been developing. Peter was a music student tired with his housemates stealing his food and drink, so he had developed an idea for a locking box he could put inside the shared fridge. Peter had developed his idea as a proof-of-concept prototype and the feedback from friends and potential retailers told him this was a viable product concept. Peter realised that if his business idea was to succeed he would need help to make his product manufacturable at a cost that would provide him with the profit margin required.

After discussion between Hillside Product Design, the injection moulding company and Peter (who had spent many months previously refining his understanding of the market and his product), a formal brief was written listing the design criteria.

Product Design Process

After numerous iterations, including flat pack options, a box was designed which used two identical box halves clipped together with a pivot-hinged door and slide in shelves. This met all of the criteria set out in the brief, and was developed using a series of 3D printed and CNC machined prototypes. Due to the large investment in tooling for injection moulding required, prototypes were produced in materials which were as close to those that the product would be manufactured from. This gave the stake holders confidence that the design was viable and that tooling was a smart investment.

Once all parties were confident in the product concept, and there were several fully functioning and cosmetically correct prototypes, Peter developed his pitch and presented to numerous retailers. He secured an agreement with John Lewis to take his product and they offered to use their marketing power to help him raise awareness of Lockabox. Peter was then able to make commercial decisions about his margins, engage distributors (who also wanted a cut), and design and source packaging. It was at this stage that the design was registered in order to protect Peter’s intellectual property and ensure that the unique features of his design weren’t copied by competitors or opportunists.

Once feedback from all of the stakeholders (end users, retailers, manufacturers and distributors) was taken into account the tooling for the product was commissioned with full support during tool design, tool making and tool trials by Hillside Product Design. Then followed a period of testing.

Once all elements of the design were settled, the retailer required the product to be certified for use with foods. This is because some plastics will leech chemicals into food or drink that come into contact with them, so certification was required to prove that the material would not cause consumers any health concerns, or lead the retailer into costly legal action.

Product design sketch to shelf 

Just 12 months after the initiation of the project, the first batch of product was delivered to retailers. In order to maintain momentum, and to give his business the time and energy required, Peter took the decision to postpone his university studies. With the help of investors, business associates and friends Peter took control of on-the-ground marketing, and order fulfilment from his newly created online store. 

Latest News on Lockabox Invention

Lockabox continues to grow, due to Peter’s determination to make his product a success with Hillside Product Design’s help and guidance. As well as support from Theo Paphitis of Dragon’s Den, Peter has exhibited at the Gadget Show Live exhibition and even won the South Devon Business Excellence Awards for Young Entrepreneur and Business of the Year – testament to his hard work!

It was chosen as one of five products to be represented by the Made in Britain campaign at the Going Global Event at London Olympia, and Peter was the main guest speaker at the Junior Chamber of Commerce event in Hampshire.

Peter is a great supporter of the Made in Britain campaign and proud to be endorsed by them.

 As a small entrepreneurial start-up business that’s moving fast, Peter is now looking for affiliates to become part of his team and help him take Lockabox to the next level.

Peter has other ideas that he is now progressing following on Lockabox’s success – watch this space!


Peoples elbow test

Rubber bullet v Lockabox


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