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Leadership & Strategy


Bigger business collaboration helped Trunki de-risk development

Collaborating with a bigger brand made an ambitious new product possible

How do you reduce the risk that comes with launching a new product? Kids’ travel company Trunki found success by taking a embracing business collaboration.

Trunki founder Rob Law’s idea for a new range of bikes and scooters was inspired by his own experiences as a parent.

“The idea for moving into bikes and scooters came from getting my own kids out on these products. I realised if I put a Trunki strap around them, I could get them to the shops much quicker,” he said.

Trunki’s balance bikes would be able to fold completely flat, making it easy to carry or store them. They would also incorporate a Trunki strap, allowing parents to carry the bike when not in use or tow kids along if they weren’t confident enough to ride alone.

However, the development of the bikes and scooters presented a huge financial risk for Trunki. To cover the investment, the business would be under pressure to sell a sizeable amount of inventory.

It’s a balance that can be hard to strike – how do you grow your product line without sacrificing too much money and resource?

Collaborative route

Rob looked at collaboration with a bigger business as a way to minimise the risk. To launch a new product range, partnering with a bigger company can provide businesses with essential investment and resources. It’s also a great opportunity to position your brand and products in front of a bigger audience.

“We started talking to a licensing agency about how we could de-risk the project. We didn’t want it to be such a financial risk. That was in the middle of 2018. At the end of the year, we pitched to Halfords,” Rob remembered.

The licensing agency had experience with similar collaborations and could bring insights into Halfords’ approach. This helped Trunki closely align its pitch to the car parts and bicycle retailer’s corporate strategy.

Extra resource

The pitch was successful and, less than four months later, Trunki developed the final concept with the Halfords team. It was hugely beneficial to work with designers who had experience in the industry.

“They’re experts in designing bikes and scooters, so they did a lot of the engineering. We pitched concepts and they helped bring them to life,” he said.

Most importantly, the business collaboration with Halfords meant that the resources of Trunki’s small product design team wouldn’t be drained. As Rob explained, it meant they could develop something new without reducing the “bandwidth” they had available.

Rob’s advice for other businesses considering a business collaboration route is to make sure there are benefits for both sides. In this case, Trunki could take advantage of the bigger brand’s design expertise and reach and Halfords could tap into Trunki’s audience by having exclusive selling rights within the UK.

“Halfords really wanted to be more innovative and get more mums in store. It appealed to them because they were already selling a range of similar products too,” Rob explained.

“With a business collaboration, you have to make sure you’ve aligned your strategy with the other company’s strategy. It’s important that you both bring something to the party.”

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