ROOFARACK – A Common Problem Solved?
Have you ever been sat there with a problem you face all the time and wished you could create something that would solve it? Well, Gary Knight and his business partner, Richard Ottaway, did exactly just that. Gary is co-founder of Roof Box Systems, and their ROOFARACK™ system has attracted interest from across the globe.
We caught up with Gary to find out what gave them the idea, and to tell us about the challenges they faced taking an idea and getting it to market….
What is ROOFARACK™?
“ROOFARACK is a specialised product that was made as a maintenance roof-rack , we didn’t just invent it, it was a much-needed product. ROOFARACK is not about how much you can get in it, it’s about how practical and useful it is, and just what a time-saver it can be.”
So how did ROOFARACK™ come about?
“I am a painter and decorator by trade. It was during a conversation about plasterboards with my now-business partner Richard (who was an estate agent at the time) that there was a bit of a lightbulb moment.”
What makes it unique?
“There is nothing out there that offers you a waterproof, lockable, all-in-one fitted system that you can load, lock and go. So we thought, “why don’t we create one?”
We wanted to make sure it was easy to install, easy to load for one or two people, and extremely secure so we designed it to be secured by 4 u-bolts and supports, plus metal plates, inside.
It’s also been designed so that when travelling on motorways you don’t get any horrible noises. When it’s empty it also has very little impact on fuel consumption as well.”
How did you go about taking the idea and turning it into a product and then taking it to market?
“Getting it to market was very hard.
There’s so much to consider.
Not only did we have to design it but we then had to find manufacturers to put it together for us to meet our requirements…
…Then there’s things like getting it patented and trademarked. Then there’s all the other considerations like meeting the correct safety requirements. I already mentioned how much we focussed on making sure ROOFARACK™ was safe and secure, but it also has been ISO standard city crash tested by one of the UKs leading test centres.
Once you have a product to take to market, you then have to fund it. Luckily we managed to get help from a couple of investors.”
Once it went to market, how did things go?
“The funding has made it much easier than it would’ve been, and to be honest, it’s been brilliant from the get-go really. Sales have doubled year-on-year.
We’re now getting interest from across the world including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, across Europe – even Iceland. We now just need to find more overseas manufacturers to help meet the interest.
We were also finalists in the 2018 Plastics Industry Awards – and obviously we were really proud to be recognised for the product we’ve create.”
What have been the biggest challenges since you launched?
“Finding manufacturers has been one of the main issues. As the interest increases, we have to turn the orders around quickly enough, so we’re always looking for more manufacturers.”
If there are people out there who have an idea for a solution to an issue in their work, what advice would you give them?
“I’d advise anyone to contact others who have done something similar and get their advice really.
Also, your research will tell you whether you have a good product or not. If you have, stick with it. We’ve been making ROOFARACK™ for 10 years+ and it’s now paying off.”
And finally, what are your plans for the future?
“Well we have 3 other products that are based around the ROOFARACK™ product which we’re really excited about – so if people give us a follow we’ll be happy to keep people informed as and when we can on these.”
Thanks to Gary for taking the time to speak to us.
To find out more about the fantastic ROOFARACK™ fill in the form below for more details.