Catching Up With FZ Clients: Box and Pad

For the third in our series catching up with Formation Zone clients, we sat down with Kevin Jenkins from Box and Pad to find out what life is like running your own product design business.

Table and chairs designed by Box and Pad

For the third in our series catching up with Formation Zone clients, we sat down with Kevin Jenkins from Box and Pad to find out what life is like running your own product design business. 

Box & Pad is a design consultancy with a good track record of innovative designs for furniture and other products for clients in the UK and around the world.

Before starting your business, what did you do?

“I was design manager for a shop fitting company in Plymouth, managing four staff. Having completed the task I was hired to do, I was made redundant. I spent six months looking for work and, with a choice between moving back to the Midlands or starting up in Plymouth, I chose to start my own business here. It’s nice here and I like being able to sit on the beach after work.”

What stage was your business at before joining Formation Zone?

“I was already trading for some time before coming to Formation Zone and had the intention of turning the business into a limited company and setting up a Chinese website so I could work with Chinese businesses.”

What made you choose Formation Zone?

“I was looking for suitable places to setup as I was moving to Plymouth and would no longer have office space at home. My UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) rep had contacts with Formation Zone and recommended it to me.”

“As well as the prospect of collaboration and the business assistance, the space was nice, the terms were good and it was cheap. Most other offices in the same price range were like prison cells and I like to work with natural light. I was offered one which was clearly once a store room, with no windows, for £350 a month. The rest of the market was not good and the Formation Zone package was really good. I can’t think why anyone starting from scratch would not come here.”

What difference has being in Formation Zone made to you?

“The two main areas are that there are people here to interact with, it’s good to have a bit of buzz around the place, and the prospects of collaboration with other Formation Zone clients. On top of that, the business advice is really important, the surroundings are nice and being part of the University is a good credential for what I do.”

What progress have you made since joining the Formation Zone?

“I’ve managed to keep the business going, which is progress for any business! I’ve increased my turnover, taken on big contracts and now have a Chinese website. I’m now working on projects with other companies based in Formation Zone and am hoping to have a prototype by September and a product we are able to take and show potential customers by February next year.”

“I’m ultimately aiming for my own space, with a workshop and retail space, where I can showcase my own work and others and am now coming to the point where I will need to employ people.”

What has been your greatest milestone since joining Formation Zone?

“Doing a big project for New Look. It was seven months’ work and at one point I had five other people working for me on the project.”

How do you feel about your time in Formation Zone?

“Totally positive. I’ve met a lot of nice people and if I were stuck in a hole somewhere else I would dread going to work every day, which I don’t here.”

“Having the facilities we do here is quite important when new clients are coming in. Facilities elsewhere are okay but they’re not as good.”

Would you recommend Formation Zone?

“Absolutely! I think there should be more Formation Zones and I can say that without feeling like I have to.”

Box and Pad

Posted By
Eleanor Browne