First, there was an idea. Then came an appearance on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. Next, in quick succession, came the offer of investment from Deborah Meaden and an outpouring of support across the electrical industry for the Lisburn couple and their ingenious product, ViperClip.
It’s been a very eventful time for Julie and David Gray, with pre-orders, patents and production preparation all marking new stepping stones on their business journey. Julie kindly gave us some time from her very busy schedule to chat to us about the burning questions we’ve had since we last spoke to her and Davy about their television appearance.
Q: How have things been like for the business lately?
It’s been mega busy for us. In the first couple of weeks, we’ve had hundreds of electricians contacting us wanting to buy the product, plus wholesalers itching to buy stock. If we’d had product ready to sell, our first orders alone to those customers would have been well over £500,000. That’s only from the people who got in touch – I know there are many, many more who are waiting for it to arrive into their local wholesalers.
We’re also delighted that we’ve had another couple of patents granted since we last spoke, which is great news for the business. Within days of Dragons’ Den airing, we were contacted by a number of companies keen to distribute ViperClip for us across the globe. It’s all top secret at the moment, but we are hopeful that we’ll be able to give you more information on that soon.
Q: How has the backing of Deborah Meaden affected the business trajectory?
Being on Dragons’ Den has been hugely beneficial for the business. Receiving offers from four of the Dragons was more than we dreamed possible and seeing their competitiveness to secure the deal was fantastic. We went in with one Dragon in mind and we were thrilled when she made us an offer and was so excited about our business. So, having the backing of all of the Dragons has given ViperClip great credibility and kudos. I think it’s that praise which has generated the current interest we’re seeing from some industry giants.
Q: What can you tell us about the progress of ViperClip?
We’ve been working away on completing the development for the staple gun. The one you would have seen on Dragons’ Den was a 3D printed prototype. We’ve made a few tweaks and are in the final stages of design, which will allow us to begin the manufacturing process. We’re very excited about the new version and we know electricians will be too! This is a tool designed by an electrician for an electrician, so you know it’s going to tick all the right boxes.
The designs are complete now for ViperClips to suit 1.5mm, 1.5mm 3-core and earth, 2.5mm and 4mm/ 6mm twin and earth cables, along with a variety of clips for round cables, such as flex and Tuf- Sheathed. We should be able to start manufacturing in the coming months with a view to the product going on sale early next year.
Will ViperClip become an indispensable part of every electrician’s toolkit?
It certainly has the potential.This novel creation from Gray’s Clips has already prompted a highly-positive response from the industry, with many quick to offer support for Julie and David. It’s time for the next chapter, and Ireland’s Electrical Magazine will be following Gray’s Clips every step of the way. Any electrician wishing to register their interest can find the necessary details on the ViperClip website.