Student drives shoppers up wall with hot gadget
(PhysOrg.com) -- An enterprising student from The University of Manchester is set to drive Christmas shoppers up the wall with a new must-have gadget.
Vernon Kerswell, a Manchester Business School student, set up Extreme Fliers last year, selling a range of easy-to-fly remote control miniature helicopters and UFOs.
Now he’s about to launch the micro Anti-Gravity Car onto the market – an ingenious remote controlled car that can be driven up walls and even upside down across the ceiling.
The gadget sits along side three other exciting new products for Christmas 2008, including a new improved military Apache helicopter, a remote controlled insect called the ‘Terror Wasp’ and a twin rotor Chinook chopper.
Last year Vernon sold over 2,000 of his helicopters across the country through shops and via the company’s website (www.extremefliers.co.uk) with minimal marketing and promotion – which led to him winning the University’s Venture Out business ideas competition.
To source last years range, Vernon, 20, took a crash course in Chinese and then used his £1,500 overdraft to fly to the Far East and scour industrial China for gadgets to market in the UK.
Building on this experience, Vernon has now been permitted to use his industrial placement year to work for Extreme Fliers, a registered limited company.
Over the summer he spent two months in the industrial areas of China, building relationships and developing a prototype of the Anti-Gravity Car.
To help retailers boost sales on the shop floor, Vernon’s team has also developed a unique fully customisable display unit with LCD screen which is provided free, delivering promotional multimedia video content that can be streamed to all shops from anywhere in the world using the internet.
Vernon said: “Extreme Fliers is a company that specialises in the professional design, development, manufacture and import of hot must-have products.
“The business emerged through an opportunity to shake things up, create high value products which people love and offer a top first class service for customers and outlets.
“We’re not just an import business – in China we have established an in-house team of manufacturers, product developers, electrical engineers, graphical designers and aerodynamic engineers employed by the company.
“This means we can make innovative new designs through continuous development, to create a range of more desirable, cool, durable, longer lasting toys. We have set a new benchmark in this area which is reflected in our rapid growth and popularity with customers and retail outlets.”
In developing the business, Vernon says he has been careful to ensure his products maintain the highest standards.
“There have been stories in the press recently about toys made in China failing to meet UK safety standards. We put a massive emphasis on high quality material sourcing, staff training according to ISO9001, guidelines and industry standards.
“I spent a number of weeks in ‘Toy City’, a remote area of China with over 4,000 factories. I even slept some factories for several nights and from this established good relationships with the most reputable ones. Now our products are now ready for everyone to enjoy.
“You can’t just walk into China and do business. It has taken over two years to find the right partners, learn the language to communicate, establish the right people as well as develop the products. Trust and friendship, which is referred to as ‘Guanxi’, is massively important.
“We source our products from around 20 of the most reputable factories and independently monitor quality control throughout the whole production process with our own people.
“Every product is individually tested at the point of manufacture and meets all of the necessary UK legal standards, including European CE approval. We also make sure our products do not contain lead paint."
The Anti-Gravity Car is set to arrive in the UK in the next few weeks and can be pre-ordered now from extremefliers.co.uk .
Provided by University of Manchester