For the past seven years, the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund has helped emerging brands break into the UK garden retail market; with the most recent winners, Pot-mate™ scooping the award in September 2021 during a special ceremony at the annual Glee exhibition. Here, we find out more about how the brand has progressed and worked to grab itself a slice of the thriving gardening industry pie.
Pot-mate™ is a simple, yet highly efficient solution to a common problem associated with container gardening. So often, pots – whether on a patio or deck – suffer from drainage issues or leave unsightly marks and rings where dirt and mould has been able to go undetected underneath the pot. However, with Pot-mate™’s innovative, UK-manufactured design, these issues are a thing of the past. Made from 100% recycled and recyclable polymer, the Pot-mate™ is a simple tripod ‘ring’ that lifts pots off the ground, allowing for better air flow and drainage to the base of the pot, as well as allowing for better manoeuvrability of pots. Pot-mate™ is currently available in three sizes to suit containers with base diameters of up to 36cm and is supported by recycled material waterproof labelling and video instructions, available via a QR code.
Talking at the time of receiving 2021 GISCF, Pot-mate™’s creator, Phil Wilson said: “The Pot-mate™ is the result of 10 long months of product development, as well as a significant personal investment. So, to be recognised by such a valued industry award is truly amazing! I am so humbled and honoured to follow in the footsteps of previous winners and have no doubt that the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund will help spread the word of Pot-mate™. I am excited for the future.”
Since winning, Pot-mate™ has garnered a strong response from garden retail buyers; with one of the country’s largest garden centre chains, Blue Diamond, securing stock. In fact, Pot-mate™ is now available in 55 garden centres, from Manchester to the south coast.
Phil added: “One of the biggest challenges for us following the win was being able to react quickly enough to meet demand. We went from zero to a hundred miles an hour and had to learn quickly about all aspects of delivering product to market. From ensuring our product facility could maintain volume, to developing our website and merchandising support, and sourcing supply partners for our packaging and distribution, it was a baptism of fire – but we got there! The help we received from GIMA and its partners, as part of our GISCF winners’ package, has been incredible and far beyond anything we could have achieved on our own.”
In more recent times, Pot-Mate™ has also expanded its consumer reach, following a successful Garden Press Event. Phil added: “Gaining consumer coverage and creating new relationships with influential members of the press has been another aspect of our brand development that we did not expect to achieve in our fledgling years. At the Garden Press Event we met with the national newspapers and leading consumer gardening titles and are now able to provide them with product and information for their future features. We’ve also built relationships with influencers and gardening personalities, with Pot-mate™ already being showcased on TV. It’s been amazing.”
Looking ahead, Phil and the Pot-mate™ brand will be returning to Glee 2022 in June with high hopes of securing more stockists ahead of the 2023 season. “For us, Glee cannot come quickly enough! We are keen to start talking to more garden centre buyers about our new product introduction and to showcase the hard work we have undertaken since September 2021. Pot-mate™ is already so different to what it was just seven months ago, so we’re excited to see people’s reaction.”
Find out more
Any businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators interested in entering the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund in 2022 are invited to do so by visiting http://gima.org.uk/innovators-seed-corn-fund/ and completing the online application form ahead of the late May deadline.
Further details about GIMA can also be found at www.gima.org.uk or by calling 01959 564947.
Further details regarding Pot-mate™ can be found at www.pot-mate.co.uk