Having secured a £100,000 Enterprise M3 (EM3) Expansion Loan last October, Chillistick have spent the last year refining their unique FogJug, which builds on their dry ice experience to bring a long life dry ice effect product to the hospitality sector. With R&D now complete and the product market ready, the company will use a further £100,000 EM3 Expansion Loan to roll out the FogJug during 2017.
Chillistick has built a reputation as a market leader in the supply of dry ice and creator of innovative products to showcase its striking effects, from drink stirrers to Halloween accessories. The company has worked with leading spirit brands such as Smirnoff, as well as a notable TV chef, famous for his scientific approach to cuisine. However, the inherently short life of the dry ice itself has, to an extent, acted as a barrier to growth.
Chris Buchanan, who co-founded Chillistick with fellow chemical engineer Mike Ashe, explains: “As dry ice only lasts at most, a couple of days, it limits our market both within the UK and overseas. The UK hospitality industry is a key sector for us, but for some potential customers the brief shelf life leaves profit margins too uncertain. As for export, we are seeing increased sales of our dry ice hardware in foreign markets but are unable to supply the consumable element, which diminishes any recurring purchase.”
The FogJug has been developed to address this issue, employing a unique cartridge system whereby refills can be stored for up to two years prior to use. On activation, which can be done by hospitality staff or the end consumer, the jug will emit Chillistick’s trademark fog effect. With the UK roll out set for the coming months, the company is also looking to exploit overseas opportunities and will be launching the product in the US later in the year.
Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme, says: “Chillistick has made good progress over the last year, overcoming hurdles in the FogJug R&D phase to end up with a product that is already being well-received by the industry. Roll out is the next challenge and we will continue to work with the company to help them reach their growth potential.”
Chris and Mike have also been supported by the EM3 Growth Hub, working with Growth Champion Mike O’Dwyer, who has helped them review and refine their business processes and identify potential markets for their product.
The Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £5.5million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.
For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01276 607302.
For more information about Chillistick visit www.chillistick.com or tel 0203 432 9412.