Women In Innovation Success Stories: Kate Taylor, Evenly, South West
Kate Taylor is on a mission to educate, support and inspire women with breast asymmetry, through the community and products offered by her innovative business ‘Evenly’.
When Kate joined Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Programme in March 2021, she had been researching her idea to develop an innovative new bra for women with breast asymmetry since 2017. By the time of applying for the award, Kate had already developed a proof of concept, working with product design partners and lingerie technicians.
In addition, she had established the brand, Evenly, and launched an online web store supplying another innovation called ‘Bra Balancers (TM)’, which is a type of silicone breast prosthesis, specifically for women with asymmetry.
Getting the patent
One of Kate’s key milestones was completing the prototype of her bra innovation to secure patent protection. She also needed to decide on her intended route to market. Kate said: “Working with Innovate UK EDGE’s Innovation and Growth Specialists, who have been supporting me through the award year, I have decided to pursue a licencing model and I am now working on my pitch and approach to retailers. Securing the patent will be the key to success, as will having high-resolution prototypes to demonstrate the bra.”
The Women in Innovation Award financial support was an enormous boost to the business. Kate has been able to purchase the tooling required to build the prototypes. Through working with Innovate UK Edge, she has also been invited to apply for additional funding (e.g. Innovate UK’s IP Audit and IP Access funding), which will allow Kate to pursue her patent application and seek international trademark protection.
“I have also been able to further develop my marketing and internationalisation strategies for my existing Bra Balancer business, which has already led to increased sales and will hopefully enable me to take on staff in the future,“ said Kate.
Aim to be the ‘go-to’ brand
Within the next 12 months, Kate intends to be in a strong position to pitch her patented bra innovation to retailers and to secure lucrative licensing propositions. She said: ‘In the next five years I would like Evenly to become the go-to trusted brand in the UK and for the breast asymmetry support product to be sold internationally. We also aim to have grown into a large and well-established company and employer.”
During the Award year Kate has experienced tremendous personal growth and change. “Not only have I grown my business, acquired new knowledge and made strong plans for the future, I have done all of this whilst holding down a ‘day job’ (as an IT consultant), moving home and becoming a mother for the first time,” she said.
She continued: “When I fell pregnant, shortly after discovering I had won the Women in Innovation Award, I thought I’d never be able to make the most of the opportunities or meet the goals I set in my application. But due to the incredible support I’ve received from Innovate UK Edge and Business West, I have been able to juggle all my commitments and thrive during this past year.”
Support and advice
“The contacts I have been introduced to through my Innovation and Growth Specialist, Jayne Codling, have been incredibly beneficial to me. I have had support and meetings with experts I could never have dreamt of being able to consult with. I have had advice from experts in marketing, international trade, product licensing, design and Intellectual Property,” Kate said.
She added: “The benefits from being a Women in Innovation Award winner are immense. It is easy to focus on the financial support and dismiss the other support as the ‘cherry on top’, but really, it’s the whole cake! I would encourage all winners to engage with the Innovation and Growth Specialists and the rest of the winning cohort of women, to really realise all of the many benefits of the award.”
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Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme was launched in 2016 to address underrepresentation of women in business innovation and to encourage more of them to apply to Innovate UK’s funding opportunities. Since its inception, the Programme has enabled brilliant women across the UK to fully achieve their vision for their businesses and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.