Years of intracity, intercity and international commuting and travel gave me the idea for a rucksack to make city travel and commuting safe, calm and positive. Three months ago I left my 9 to 5 office job and set up the company to make it happen. The last three months flew by a little like this: idea > failure to act > conviction to act > search for textile prototyping company > engage one > share idea with them > market research > first professional design sketches > produce prototype one. The day to view the first prototype was suddenly upon us. I could barely believe it.
Leaving your job and beginning to work in earnest on what you think is a world-changing idea is a big step. Sadly, it does nothing to make reality of an idea. In fact, it's a counter-productive, if necessary, step. You stop earning, have too much time to consider the enormity of what you're doing and still you're no closer to making the idea a reality. Without some other intervention, the idea remains just that: an idea.
Added to this, every new idea in its first few stages looks puny in comparison to the creations of established companies in the market and elsewhere. It cannot be helped. And every new idea could die of thousand cuts through the neigh sayers, the disinterested and those who impose big business strategies at a stage when life is first being breathed into a product or a company.
I jumped on the train from Reading to Cheltenham to see the prototype on Tuesday 10th June 2014. When I arrived it was a stunning day. Rather than taxi, I chose to walk to my prototype designers - D2M Innovation - via the pedestrianised Honeybourne Railway Line. I had the time, so I walked along this disused railway track path and admired the luscious green around me. It kept my nerves in order until the meeting, let me stretch my legs and saved a few pounds.
On arrival, the designers were calm and happy. I was nervous and exhilarated. We walked into the workshop and there it was: the idea that has existed only in my mind and on napkin corners. The Riut bag. My fears subsided and my curiosity took over. It exists. It has straps. It looks, as it should: like a rucksack. Seeing it in front of me, and not in my idealised imaginary version, gives me the real problems I'm facing. And those are the ones I need to tackle to get it right.
As I walked back to Cheltenham Spa station I thought: I could be at home right now working on a less important aspect of this company. There are infinite market research studies I could have paid for, courses to go on, suppliers to consider and books to read about how to do this. I could still be preparing to do this never and never quite get round to making my core product! But ending the strategising and acting is what has brought me to this point.
You might think leaving a job, drawing sketches, or telling someone about an idea is the first step to making a successful product and company. But, in my mind, they aren't. It's executing the idea that counts. Stop thinking and start doing. Make choices and push for completion at each stage. It's only the first step of many, but it's a vital one. Action, not thinking, has taken an idea out of my head. And now it is pinned to a very real mannequin in Cheltenham.
The Riut bag will be unveiled and available this autumn for 30 days only via Kickstarter, crowdfunding website. Give your views on rucksacks and register to find out about the Riut bag when it is released.