Hello! And Welcome!
My name is Vicky and I am the founder of Recoil Knee Pads and VH Innovation Ltd. When I started VH Innovation Ltd back in September 2013 I started writing a blog about the adventures of starting a business as a young, nieve, uni grad, with no experience in business start-up whatsoever. As VH Innovation has grown, and now become known as Recoil Knee Pads, we moved to a new website and my old blogs became a distant memory. However, in recent months, I have had a lot of other entrepreneurs come to me looking for insight and advice on what life was like in the early days of Recoil.
I love to help people. I spend a lot of time volunteering and supporting charity initiatives such as SmartSTEMs and Young Enterprise. In response to the requests I've had, I've added this section to our website, which shares some of the early blogs and stories. I have two aims for this part of our site:
- To encourage others with their entrepreneurial journey
- To share our stories and provide valuable insight into the highs and lows
Life hasn't always been rosy on the entrepreneurial journey, it's been filled of exhilarating highs and also devastating lows. These blogs provide my insights and share some of the experiences I have had so that others can hopefully learn from them and be spurred on in their entrepreneurial journey.
So, please enjoy! I hope they are of benefit!
Vicky :) x
Taken from May 2015
''Tuesday 5th May was one of the busiest days so far for VH Innovation and The Recoil Kneepad. Kicking off the day bright and early, I was on the train headed to The Scottish EDGE semi-finals (a funding competition for up to £100K investment) for my pitch in Glasgow. Arriving at Glasgow central I stumbled off the train with two suitcases –one weighing in at 22kg and the other weighing in at 17kg. Wearing a suit and carting two cases (one of which was nearly the same size as me) I did get some strange looks at 8am from other commuters on a miserable Tuesday morning in May – who must have thought I was carrying about my entire life in the two abnormally large cases. Like those commuters, you’re probably thinking, what a strange thing to take to a pitch….but these cases weren’t destined for the pitch, they were destined for LAS VEGAS! Because, as soon as the pitch was done, it was straight out and into a taxi to Buchannan bus station and off to Edinburgh airport for an afternoon flight to attend The National Hardware Show in Las Vegas!
Unluckily, the timing of the show, had fallen at the same time as The Scottish EDGE semi-finals. Not wanting to miss out on either opportunity, I had asked EDGE to give me as early a slot as possible, so that I could get on my way to Las Vegas as soon as the pitch was over. A request, which the organisers of EDGE very kindly agreed to.
I arrived in plenty of time to pitch arriving at 8.15 for a 9am pitch, which meant I had plenty of time to gather my thoughts, before walking into the room ready to deliver my 3 minute pitch. A couple of friendly faces from my previous 2 attempts at the EDGE semi’s helped keep me calm as I delivered a pitch detailing who I was, what investment I needed, and why I needed it. I held my nerve, and delivered the pitch without forgetting my words (although a dry throat didn’t help mid-way when my voice started to sound like I was speaking through a megaphone). But the voice held out, and I breathed a sigh of relief when we moved onto Q&A’s. Answering every question as best as I could, the nerves were constant as I remembered the importance of the outcome. Pitching for a total of £92,000, this investment could scale the business in ways unimaginable. The investment would allow VH Innovation to set up manufacture in Edinburgh and launch Recoil by the end of 2015. After 7 minutes of gruelling questions, I left the room feeling as though I had done all I could and the fate of VH Innovation and Recoil was now in the hands of the judges. A quick change of clothes in the toilets (where I unfortunately smashed my phone on the floor) and I was on my way again!
With one thing on my to do list now ticked off, I recollected my 39kg of promotional materials from reception and headed back out into the rain and onto the bus station. Once comfortably on the bus and headed to the airport I checked the damage to my now smashed phone, and started to relax and allow the adrenalin levels to return to normal following the pitch.
A smooth check in (where I was so glad to get rid of those suitcases), through security, and into the departure lounge, where I settled down at the window with some food, all set for the short flight to Heathrow, before the 10 hour flight to Vegas.
However…luck was not on my side. Due to the bad weather, the flight was delayed! With a new flight time and arrival time of 3.45pm, the stress levels started to rise again as I realised I would be cutting it fine to make my 5pm Las Vegas flight.
3.30pm came…and the captain put out an announcement we were now approaching London but due to the weather would have to circle until a slot became available to land.
3.40pm came… we were still doing figure of 8’s in the sky’s above London
3.50pm came…and we were still doing the same
4.00pm came…and by this point I was getting very stressed, then, an announcement! We were now making our final approach!
4.10pm – we were now on the ground and I now had 20 minutes before the gate closed for my flight to Vegas. Luckily it was in the same terminal, but at Heathrow airport that can still mean a train ride to the right part of terminal 5!
At 4.15pm I was off the plane and doing a ‘Home Alone’ effort as I sprinted through Heathrow to make it to the gate in time. No idea how I did it, but I made it!
At 4.35pm I was getting my breath back and making myself comfy all set for take-off.
But again. Luck was not on my side.
5pm came….and we still hadn’t pushed back from the gate. An announcement from the captain came saying not to be alarmed by the fire engines that had now arrived at the side of the plane. Due to the wind (again) there had been a problem when fuelling up the plane, meaning the fuel was now spilling out the wing and all over the tarmac.
After an hour sitting on the plane, we were all asked to transfer to an alternative plane. Unfortunately for us, the alternative plane never came and at 8pm we were told the flight was being delayed until tomorrow afternoon!
Sadly it would mean missing a whole day of the trade show. After transferring to a hotel for the night, I accepted there wasn’t anything else I could do today, I went to bed, and had a good night’s sleep ready to attempt the journey again tomorrow!
Wednesday 6th May and I was finally off! Sitting in my seat I was relieved when we finally lifted into the air and got on our way to Las Vegas. Ten hours later, we touched down in sunny Las Vegas.
After a joke with the immigration officer about the fact I look like a 16 year old, (he initially asked if I was travelling on my own and where were my parents before he checked my passport) I recollected my 29kg of promotional stuff and headed to the taxi rank bound for the Golden Nugget Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas.
Thursday 7th May. After a quick breakfast, I was on route to The Las Vegas Convention Centre. The convention centre was massive! Spread over 2 floors, there must have been thousands of visitors to the show!
Over the course of the day I spoke to a variety of end users, retailers, distributors, and a whole other host of businesses. It was a fantastic opportunity and broadened my eyes to the possibilities with Recoil! After a long, but extremely interesting and fun day the trade show came to an end.
Reflecting on the whole experience it was incredible. The opportunity that was given to VH Innovation to attend this show was life changing. Leaving Las Vegas with some new partnerships and brilliant memories, it is going to be a really exciting time to see how Recoil moves forwards!''