Keeping Cool for Export Success: Chillistick Set to Expand with Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan

With Halloween just around the corner Basingstoke business, Chillistick, is facing its busiest trading period. Its specialist merchandise which uses dry ice to create an eerie fog effect is particularly popular at this time of year. But with its focus on innovative product design, together with recent financial support from the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, the company is looking to fully capitalise on prospective markets all year round.

With a background in chemical engineering, the founding duo have dealt in the handling and supply of dry ice for some years and in 2011 they set up Chillistick in order to launch its original product of the same name. The Chillistick is a drinks stirrer which incorporates a one-way valve to allow dry ice to be safely contained in the stirrer and create a ‘fog’ around a soft drink or cocktail.

Chillistick co-founder, Mike Ashe, says: “The Chillistick was originally developed for a Smirnoff Vodka campaign where they wanted to get a fog effect for individual drinks. There were a couple of other products available on the US market, but none which met the more stringent safety regulations needed here in the UK. Following the success of the Chillistick, we turned our focus to developing further products that would allow the impressive effects of dry ice to be used in the hospitality and home markets.”

The company has gone on to develop a range that includes ‘smoking’ shot glasses, jugs and pitchers, champagne buckets as well as home party kits for Halloween, children’s parties and other occasions. Furthermore, Chillistick also provides a dry ice education resource and to date has supplied its dry ice products to over 500 schools and colleges throughout the UK.

Chris Buchanan, the second of the company’s co-founders, adds: “with recent developments in our technology we feel that now is the time to take steps to grow the business at an accelerated rate. We are an established supplier of dry ice and associated products within the UK and we recognise there is an opportunity to exploit this in wider geographical markets.”

To help them reach this goal, Mike and Chris have successfully secured £200,000 from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Fund which they will use to facilitate the introduction of the new ‘fog jug’ product line as well as support the overall expansion of the business including marketing and promotional activity, improved facilities and equipment and increase staffing levels from the current five, to around 18 by the end of 2017.

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Chillistick is a great example of a business that has diversified its offering to take advantage of new markets and stay ahead of the competition. We are delighted to be working with them at this exciting stage in their development and look forward to helping them achieve their goals for high growth.”

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 derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Chillistick visit www.chillistick.com or tel 0203 432 9412.