Avail Care Design
By Dave Sayers, Baw Baw startup
Stylish bathroom safety rails & accessories that help prevent slips and falls in the bathroom
Dave Sayers, a founder and head designer of Avail Care, which designs stylish and sleek healthcare products such as grab rails and shower seats, has learnt about Startup Gippsland from an editorial at the Warragul Gazette.
He thought it would be a good opportunity to connect with other local startups at a similar stage to him. We interviewed Dave recently and this is what he said about his experience in the program:
Startup Gippsland: Why did you want to join the program? What was the problem you were trying to solve?
Dave: I wanted to learn from people who have already started a business in a regional area and faced similar challenges. I have struggled since starting the business to connect with locals and didn’t think there were many entrepreneurs outside of Melbourne.
Startup Gippsland: What was your experience like in the 12 weeks of the program?
Dave: It covered a huge amount of content, all relevant, was a bit overwhelming at times but did give me a good overview of the main things I needed to cover. The content at first was less relevant as I was already established and had done some of the content, but towards the end I learnt a lot and was able to really focus on tasks that would improve sales and exposure and created a strategy to help it grow. As I made connections through the program, I was able to use them to get advice rather than guessing the right direction on my own as I had done in the past.
Startup Gippsland: What are the biggest benefits of you undertaking the program? Can you provide an example of how it worked for you?
Dave: Making connections to help me employ and bring on help as I was at my limit of what I could handle on my own. I didn’t know how to find people to help, through the weekly Masterclasses and connections I made, my confidence has grown and allowed me to reach out and get people on board to help with production and marketing, two areas that took up most of my time and I couldn’t keep up with!
Startup Gippsland: Have you discovered new or different users for your product/service, compared with original expectations? Are you still pursuing your original startup idea?
Dave: Still same products and similar direction but now with clearer focus on what I need to do to grow and what resources are available. I now know who in Gippsland can help me as well as in Melbourne. I have a much better direction on which customers to focus on first.
Startup Gippsland: What was your biggest success after undertaking the program? Personal or professional (or both)!
Dave: Connecting with Latrobe Valley Enterprises in Morwell as their CEO, Wendy Bezzina was my mentor in the program. They (LVE) have since taken on the assembly of my main product line, allowing me to grow without worrying about production. They can scale as I do and they can supervise the whole production process. We have since been sending parts to them and they send back the packaged product, ready to send straight to my customers.
Startup Gippsland: what was the most important skill you’ve learnt, and a realisation you’ve had during/after the program?
Dave: My knowledge in the product and my customer is as good if not better than any of the large competitors, but I was nervous about speaking out and showing off my knowledge due to me being such a small business. Startup Gippsland showed me examples of so many other startups taking on the big companies and beating them because they knew their product and customer fit so well. I am now much more confident with my marketing and my message and have realised my product resonates extremely well with the end user.
Startup Gippsland: Anything else you’d like to add?
Dave: I have to thank The Herd Coworking space in Warragul, which has given me a place to work from and make connections. Before I would have avoided meetings because I worked from a small home office. I also felt that I had hit my limit in what I could do and didn’t know how to grow any more. Startup Gippsland Program showed me how and helped create the strategy to make it happen.
“As I made connections through the program, I was able to use them to get advice rather than guessing the right direction on my own as I had done in the past.”.
“The Herd Coworking space in Warragul has given me a place to work from and meet people. Before I would have avoided meetings because I worked from a small home office. I also felt that I had hit my limit in what I could do and didn’t know how to grow any more. Startup Gippsland Program showed me how and helped create the strategy to make it happen!”
Dave’s mentors said…
“The collaboration with LVE and Avail has evolved from Startup Gippsland’s mentoring program, with both the LVE CEO Wendy Bezzina and In2 Project Management Director Neil Betts being mentors and Neil having partnered with Dave Sayers as his mentor. Neil had worked with LVE on a lean process improvement project and so knew the capabilities of the organisation and the important work LVE do in providing meaningful employment for people with disabilities.As Dave’s mentor, Neil could see the need for Dave to work more on developing the business and increasing the uptake of his products, but also realised that Dave didn’t have the capacity to do both production and sales. Enter LVE ! Neil and Wendy realised there was an opportunity to have LVE’s teams take on the assembly and packaging freeing up Dave to work on the business instead of in it. So through careful planning with Suzanne Lewis, LVE General Manager Operations, Lauren Healand, Manager Business Support and Mark MacManus LVE Supervisor Recycling & Secure Document Destruction – the LVE teams worked together with the Signmaking team to produce the final product with assembly, packaging and labels all completed by our supported employees.It’s such an amazing partnership which has given our employees new skills and challenges and a sense of pride to see the finished product going out to customers homes. It’s a great success for both LVE and Avail!”Wendy Bezzina, Latrobe Valley Enterprises
Watch Dave’s Pitch
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