New Innovator: KiddiDry
Spotting a gap in the market Maria Bray designed a waterproof child seat protector
KiddiDry products are being made in Ireland and Maria Bray says costs to date are at about €25,000
Necessity is the mother of invention as Maria Bray discovered when her second child was born some time after her first. “I suddenly had a deja vu moment where I remembered struggling with child car seat belts to take off a wet child seat cover,” she says. “I immediately went online to buy a removable waterproof cover to save myself the hassle of having to wrestle with the child seat belts at some point. I quickly discovered that the options available were ineffective as they only covered the centre of the seat – a bit like a place mat. This was my ‘light-bulb’ moment.”
Bray, who had previously worked in recruitment and property, had always wanted to start her own business. She felt this gap in the market was her opportunity and began working on a design for a waterproof child seat protector. She had prototypes made in China and applied for a patent on the product. She then approached Meath County Enterprise Board for support. “They put me in touch with the Discovery Zone Programme and with their help my company, KiddiDry, was born almost a year ago with our waterproof no-mess, less-stress solutions for parents of young children,” Bray says.
Bray has just completed the Enterprise Ireland-backed New Frontiers programme at the learning and innovation centre in Blanchardstown IT and there are now four products in the line-up including bed mats and potty and toilet training mats.
“Our products are made from a soft durable fabric with a rubber non-slip base. They are machine washable and dry in roughly 20 minutes,” Bray says.
“We have gone for cool designs that appeal to kids and the products can be personalised. Each product is different to what’s already available which gives us the edge. I am also a very driven person and intend to make the most of my first mover advantage.”
According to Bray it can take well over an hour to remove and replace the cover on a child’s car seat. Removing and replacing the seat belts may also have safety implications if not done correctly. “KiddiDry covers literally take 30 seconds to put on and take off and they cover the entire seat. If something gets spilt or a child gets sick the whole seat is protected,” Bray says.
KiddiDry products are being made in Ireland and Bray estimates the costs involved to date at about €25,000.
Meath County Enterprise Board made a small contribution towards packaging design. The rest came from personal resources. The company’s target market is major high street stores while the products will also be available online. KiddiDry will have its full commercial launch shortly and is in discussion with two major retailers here and with a large car rental company in the UK.