Don’t you just hate when you got that new shoes/trainers on and then it happens, you step on a piece of gum and you’re suddenly left with the task of scraping it off the bottom of your shoes. Let’s not forget about having it stuck on your jacket, jeans’ bottom etc..
Meet Anna Bullus, a product designer trying to turn all of our gum problems into a thing of the past.
She has created “The Gumdrop Bin” - These visible placed bins horn the job of attracting locals and convincing them to place them gums in it rather than dropping it on the floor, bus, train etc..
It doesn’t just end there, when these gums are collected and the bin is full, it is then recycled into BRGP which in turns creates more bins.
Check out my interview with her.
Can you quickly give us some background information about yourself so we can get to know you better?
Things I love:
-Clever simple design
Things I am not so found of:
Where do you get the inspiration to come up with these designs?
Everyday Life and Everyday People
Could you please describe your general work flow: how you start from idea, to sketch and rendering and what techniques, tools and software you are using?
When I have a concept I tend to sketch and develop the idea through making models. I don’t enjoy sitting and designing at a computer as I feel it takes away from the romance of creating. I also like making mistakes through experimenting and models as sometimes these mistakes make your work better. I feel that those stages may be missed if I design on a computer
What do you most enjoy about being a product designer?
I love the fact that I am able to bring my thoughts to life.
What skills or training does someone need to be a product designer?
An imagination and a strong desire to see a project through to the end.
How long did it take you to design the gumdrop bin?
I started in 2007 and am still perfecting it!
How was it made, can you tell us the process?
I would love to but unfortunately this is a trade secret and it must remain this way!
Did you have any setbacks and how did you handle it?
I have setbacks every single day. No matter how big or small you just have to focus on the positive points, pick yourself up and carry on.
What is your most rewarding design work, the one that you are really proud of and why?
I think it would have to be GUMDROP. As it has now become a full time job as we now sell GUMDROPS to the public and private sector. http://www.gumdropltd.com. It has been the most difficult project and still is. Yet it has and will be the most rewarding.
When did you decide that you were going to start your business?
I started GUMDROP Ltd in 2009. Before then I was working for various furniture design companies as a junior designer.
Did you come from an entrepreneurial background? what was the inspiration behind starting your own
Yes, both my Mother and Father have their own business’s and are successful in their own right. I suppose that from an early age I always imagined I would do the same. However I am surprised how early it happened.
Tell me about your university experience, would you say it was vital in getting you the needed experience,especially the practical side of things?
I think that it completely depends who you are. University is a great place to experiment in a particular field. In my case, Three Dimensional Design. It is also a place to really find out where your skills lie.
I am seeing pictures of the bins already being placed on the streets of the U.k and the U.S? Do you have any plans to expand or you're just focusing on the two countries for the time being?
Gum Litter is a global problem. I can only hope that GUMDROP becomes the global solution. I plan to expand slowly.
How did you go about getting the product on streets, do you need a permit or something like that?
I approached local councils and big companies in the private sector. Mainly people and companies that have to foot the bill for cleaning gum litter.
What the funds to develop it, how did you get?
I managed to get various grants through local entities. I also work as a freelance web, interior and product designer to bring the funds in to develop and move GUMDROP forward.
I mean I’m sure they are a lot of people that would love to do what you're doing, make fantastic products, but obviously they are things such as fundings, right resource centres and things like that, what can you say to such person out there?
There are so many different funds out there that are looking to spend the money in a particular way. A few good ones are:
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
Shell Live Wire
The Prices Trust
There are also a lot of Research and Development funds out there.
What do you do to unwind, this is some real hard-work, and you must really need your me-time?
I run and cycle to clear my mind
I read to fill my mind
I see my friends and family to laugh
What new projects are you working on now and can you tell us a bit more about it?
I really am focusing on getting GUMDROP out there at the moment. However there are 2 other projects in the pipeline. You will have to wait and see!
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
Seeing the first GUMDROP go up.
Are they any advices or tips that you would like to give to young entrepreneurs, especially female product designers out there?
When you think everything is getting a bit hard. It will get harder! Don’t give up. I realise that this is easier said than done. Always bounce ideas off friends and family, as it can be a lonely ride when you are setting up.
So what’s next for you now?
Watch this space!
Thanks for your time Anna