CLEVER sports invention, FItSip® , has been developed by Christine Manson, based in Edinburgh, and Belinda Goldsmith, from Glasgow.
The two keen recreational runners were frustrated by having to carry water bottles to keep hydrated when out running.
The entrepreneurs worked together before FitSip®, setting up and running the organic food business, ‘Simply Organic’, in 1998. A firm which went on to employ over 40 people before they sold out in 2007.
“Christine and I met each other at a Scottish business conference in the 1990s. We were both running our own businesses. From that meeting, we formed a business friendship which has been very successful.
“Thanks to support from Scotland’s Sporting Chance Initiative, we had the funds to do some research into creating the first prototype for FitSip®, in2010, a comfortable lightweight sports armband carrying a 200ml hydration pack for runners.
“We would have struggled to get our business idea off the ground without Sporting Chance Initiative.”
Sporting Chance Initiative is a Stirling-based company which specialise in sports business innovation through helping Scottish SME’s develop new sports products and services.
FitSip® has just celebrated its first birthday in February 2014, and has done extremely well in international markets.
Continues Belinda: “Our international sales in this first year have been staggering, over half of our total sales… 45 per cent of what we sold was into the UK market, 25 per cent of our products were sold to countries in the rest of Europe, and 30 per cent of sales were to the rest of the world, including 26 different states within the USA.
“This demonstrates the massive global potential our product has.
“It took over 100 prototypes before the product was ready to market and, since the launch of the original FitSip one year ago; a second-generation model has already been developed, incorporating improvements suggested by customers, bloggers and other product testers.
“Creating networks of specialist running contacts via social media has been particularly useful.”
FitSip® has recently been made available to retailers, starting with the specialist running shop, Achilles Heel, in Glasgow. Although the main components of FitSip are currently made overseas, the product is designed, assembled and packaged in Scotland.
The pair continue their running interests and are keen sponsors of many race events, including a number of charity races run by Chest Heart Stroke Scotland and Jog Scotland’s One Big Weekend of 5Ks in early August.
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