Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) aim to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills within the UK knowledge base. Elite Bedding Company and The University of Strathclyde have joined forces in a KTP project working to diversify Elite’s range and enter the retail market with the launch of their retail luxury pet business Poco.
Poco is a real passion project for the staff at Elite. With the majority of staff having dogs themselves, when the pet bed project began, everyone was quick to come up with ideas for creating the perfect dog bed. The staff dogs were also excellent product testers and models, as you can see on the Poco social accounts, with more great photos coming in the run-up to the website launch.
Poco’s main ambition is to create comfortable, long lasting, sustainable dog beds. The sturdy wooden frames are built to last a lifetime, with the upholstery and cushion materials, not only looking great, but performing well against digging, scratching and general wear and tear.
One of the largest areas of research was developing the two Poco mattresses. Many dog beds are simple sheets of foam or synthetic stuffing, that aren’t comfortable, don’t last and are difficult to dispose of in a responsible manner. Therefore, Poco built on Elite’s expertise in mattress making to
create two multi-layer mattresses, one Plush Wool and one Orthopaedic Cotton. Made from innovative materials such as Petlok and Coconut Coir, they push the boundaries of what is expected, providing superior comfort, while protecting the environment. Poco gives human quality comfort on
a pet-sized scale.
This KTP project was co-funded by UKRI through Innovate UK and The Scottish Funding Council. The partnership has worked together to overcome business challenges that the SME has faced over the challenging 2 years and has emerged from lockdown with new projects and business ideas.
Elite, founded in 1954, has a rich history in Glasgow as premium mattress and bed manufacturers, supplying homes, hotels and care homes across the UK. Only 3 months into their KTP with DMEM, the UK went into its first lockdown, bringing with it a wave of uncertainty, with care homes and
hotels were greatly restricted making the original KTP project redundant. Elite is recovering well from a challenging year, continuing to manufacture and sell turnkey furniture solutions B2B and retail. Poco has been built as a subsidiary to Elite, launching in the coming months as a new retail company. All members of the KTP are excited to bring human quality comfort to a pet-sized scale.
Dr Gerry Black, Knowledge Transfer Adviser on the project commented:
“I am delighted to support Elite Bedding Company, a long-established manufacturing business, to collaborate with the Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde. Embedding new design processes, new techniques and the capability to consider sustainability alongside diversification in product and markets and establishing state-of-the-art marketing strategies. A broad and impactful project.”
After a great deal of research, prototyping, hard work and determination the new luxury pet brand Poco was created focusing on beautiful, upholstered dog beds, all-natural dog mattresses and striking collars and leads. Collaborating with academic leads Dr Anup Nair and Ross MacLachlan from
the department of Design Manufacturing and Engineering Management, new design capabilities and processes have been created to allow for continuous innovation within Elite and Poco. Following a rigorous design process and collaborating with student groups studying in DMEM, 5 unique dog beds with beautiful details and materials have been created.
Dr Anup Nair, Lecturer in Engineering Management, Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management, The University of Strathclyde said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has injected a lot of uncertainty and crisis within a lot of businesses. But as the adage goes, never waste a crisis. We have been able to leverage the KTP to help Elite diversify into a brand new and rapidly growing market for luxury pet furniture. This new line of business will not only offer an additional revenue stream but will also allow the business to mitigate the current business risks associated with the hospitality and care home sectors. Overall, this internal corporate venture will allow the firm to remain nimble and capitalise on the opportunities that are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Greg Winston, company supervisor and Director of Elite said:
“We are so proud of our new brand Poco and the dog beds that Juliette has designed. A number of our team are dog owners so it was important to us that we developed a range of beds that we would be delighted to have in our own homes. As we are a new brand, I thank everyone for their support in advance and ask that you follow us on social media, check out our new website and spread the word.”
The project is set to finish in April 2022 with Poco launching within the next month. To stay up to date with Poco’s development follow the newly founded social media channels in the run-up to Poco’s online launch.
The University of Strathclyde has been the KTP partner of choice for over 300 organisations. It has a rich history of working with organisations of all sizes and sectors from across every corner of the UK on innovative projects that deliver impact. The University hosts the West of Scotland KTP Centre, the largest of its kind in Scotland, and one of the premier centres in the UK. The KTP Centre offers end to end support from staff with over 25 years’ KTP experience.
Twitter – DogPoco https://twitter.com/DogPoco
Facebook – Poco.Pet https://www.facebook.com/Poco.Pet
Instagram – Poco Dog Beds https://www.instagram.com/pocodogbeds/
Web – www.pocodogbeds.com
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