Backstory

Did you know…?

Hardware tools are used by people in manual operations, such as chopping, chiseling, sawing, filing, scraping, painting and more. The date of the earliest tools is uncertain. Tools found in Northern Kenya in 1969 may be about 2,600,000 years old and even older tools may remain to be discovered.

The paint roller was invented by Norman Breakey of Toronto in 1940 and this product was a major breakthrough in the decorating business.


Lee’s Story

I was renovating my family home in 2007 when I came upon the idea of securing a paint tin and a roller tray to a board using various fixings. I found that with decorating you could become quite disorganised and in many cases I found myself walking back and forth trying to locate my paintbrush or decorating tools, and in the process I would end up walking into my paint tin or knocking my roller tray over causing unnecessary spills. If I was distracted by the doorbell or telephone I would balance the paintbrush on a table or the top of the paint tin, only to find on my return the brush on the floor or swimming inside the paint tin.

I came up with the simple idea of taking a piece of MDF board fixed several strips of wood and drilled various holes, I then used fixing from my Black & Decker workbench. This was the basic concept that took away my problems and made decorating easier and quicker to perform. On my concept board I could secure my paint tin and roller tray and move my board around with me as I painted. As I had found is very useful, I stored it in my shed incase I embarked on another painting project at a later date. It never entered my mind that this could be a product that other people would want to use.

When the recession hit I was suddenly made redundant in December 2009. I needed to find work quickly (as I had family to support). I had done several successful DIY, decorating projects of my own in the past, so I went in search of work as a decorator whilst trying to work out my long term plan. I got my first project in the January 2010 and my board came out of the shed, I made some minor amendments by adding a small tray and a tool pot. On my next project a client saw me using my board and said it was a great idea and had I thought of selling it. I decided to get someone else to use it and get their feedback, it was all very positive…

Below: The first two iPaintPro prototypes (click to see larger images).


Ann’s Story

When I had my son, I knew I wanted to take a new direction from being a Computer Analyst.  Even though I was one of the founding members of King of Shave I did not work for the company.  I obtained an Interior Design qualification from KLC and worked for a while on residential and private projects.

Over the years several business plans and new ventures were explored, but for one reason or another they never took off. A girlfriend of mine had approached me with an idea, but I felt there was something missing.  Lee and I had worked together 10 years before and I thought he might bring something to this project.  When we spoke he also was lukewarm to the proposition but wanted to work together again and then pitched an idea which he felt we could work on together and get to market.

I was instantly interested, as firstly it was a product and secondly it was something I could identify with from my personal DIY experience and my interior design work. Lee showed me his board with the slots and pegs and I couldn’t understand why it had not been done! We decided to get together to research the market and design a product that would be ergonomic and stylishly designed for the painting and decorating market.

So iPaintPro was born.