Neil Ewins, as featured in TradieExchange and The Tradie Magazine Feb 2015, distributed across Trade Stores and Construction Sites throughout Australia.

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If you are considering making a switch and getting off the tools, we have some tips from Sterling Interiors’ Neil Ewins, who spoke to Tradie Exchange’s Aroha Blake about his transition from carpenter to business entrepreneur.

After working as a carpenter and builder for 30 years, Neil Ewins felt the need for an improvement in the way traditional tool belts and pouches are fitted and worn. “Uncomfortable industry standard tool belts with their fixed pouches meant I was constantly carrying excessive weight, thus putting unnecessary strain on my back and shoulders”. Neil said.

Inspired by frustration – and one too many trips to the chiropractor – the Sydney-based tradie teamed up with long-time friend and designer, Simon Harris, and together they created a tool pouch system named Flip‘N’Grip. The unique, patented system makes it easy to attach, remove and reposition pouches without having to remove your tool belt, meaning you only ever wear the pouches you need.

Since then, Neil and Simon have been trying to get the products to market. They feel there is a place in the market for Flip‘N’Grip, but they need to break down a few ‘barriers’ before they can make their mark.

Having learnt a thing or two along the way, Neil shared his top five tips for launching a new product.

1. If you think you have a great, original idea, apply for a “provisional patent” before showing anyone

2. Try to commercialise your idea within the first 18 months, as the provisional patent is only valid for 18 months and is relatively cheap. Once this provisional patent expires, it starts getting really expensive – trust me!

3. Do not buy stock until you have a firm order.

4. If you are unsure how to commercialise your idea, find a mentor (could be a family member or friend) who will come on board for a small percentage. This will save you time, effort and money in the long run.

5. If you get knocked back, dust yourself off and try another angle. Getting knocked back hasn’t stopped me from trying to realise my dream of having Flip‘N’Grip sold worldwide. Enjoy the journey!